Netflix today unveils its new original production “Kate”, an action film directed by Mary Elizabeth Winstead. Both enjoyable and uninhibited, the feature film is also weighed down by an overly agreed and stereotypical scenario.
What is it about ?
Meticulous and prodigiously gifted, Kate is the epitome of the perfectly honed killing machine at the top of her art. But one day she fails to eliminate her target, a yakuza in Tokyo. She then discovers that she has been poisoned and will undergo a slow death execution which leaves her less than 24 hours to take revenge on her killers. As her body decays at high speed, Kate befriends the daughter of one of her former victims.
Kate, directed by Cédric Nicolas-Troyan with Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Miku Martineau, Woody Harrelson…
Who is it with?
With Kate, Mary Elizabeth Winstead landed her first role as headliner in an action movie. Revealed to the general public by Boulevard de la Mort and Scott Pilgrim, the actress has also become known for having lent her features to the daughter of John McLane in Die Hard 4: Back to Hell.
In recent years, his excellent career choices have seen him appear in blockbuster films such as Birds of Prey and 10 Cloverfield Lane, but also in the third season of Fargo opposite Ewan McGregor.
Kate’s cast also sees Woody Harrelson camping out with Varrick, the heroine’s mentor and partner. The Japanese cast of the feature film also brings together several faces well known to moviegoers, including Tadanobu Asano (Ichi the Killer, Zatoichi) and Jun Kunimura (Kill Bill: volume 1).
French filmmaker Cédric Nicolas-Troyan directed the film. Specializing in special effects, the latter made his directorial debut in 2016 with The Hunter and the Ice Queen, worn by Charlize Theron and Chris Hemsworth. Kate is therefore his second feature film as a director.
Well worth a look ?
Is a new action heroine born? There is with Kate, a new Netflix original production, the ambiguous feeling of having watched two films in one. First, there is the first half hour, an action story driven briskly. This intrigue at the crossroads of Hyper Tension and Ghost in the Shell presents a contract killer in a race against time to avenge herself for the poisoning she suffered.
The scenes of fights and shootings are linked with great pleasure, and we do not need to wait to take full eyes. However, after a more than pleasing first act, the impression that the film has already given everything begins to be born to us. Worse, the arrival of an unbearable sidekick (Ani, played by the novice actor Miku Martineau) will seal the film and make us feel our first reservations.
The continuation of the feature film will unfortunately not change this impression: the fault of an overly agreed scenario and unsurprising twists, never Kate will fail to save us from boredom, while the action scenes will no longer be enough to arouse our interest.
Too bad, because the beginning of the film amply took up the challenge of the uninhibited and enjoyable feature film.
Stereotypes that end up disturbing
The big black point of the film lies in its absusive use of stereotypes against Japan. Blame it on a series of sincere tributes to Japanese culture, these many clichés end up generating a feeling of unease, so much so that the film will sink many times despite itself into involuntary parody.
Among the errors of taste identified, yakusas who eat sushi accompanied by geishas, a katana fight with mention of the samurai spirit (sic), kawaï t-shirts, all rocked by a playlist of J-Pop songs used more or less wisely. Ever dreamed of watching a knife fight scene accompanied by a Japanese pop song? Kate did it all the same!
In the end, we can only regret that the film did not follow through on its promises. With definite potential, there is no doubt that Kate could have paved the way for a nice action franchise, especially as Mary Elizabeth Winstead is perfectly at ease in this role of bad-ass hitman.