Female super assassins seem to be a hot genre within the last year or so. Netflix has produced some well-known ones, including The Old Guard and Gun Powder Milkshake. In theaters, there were films like Ava and The Protégé. Joining the club is the newest assassin and her name is Kate.
In Osaka, Japan, Kate (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) is a highly trained assassin who accepts a new mission from her handler/mentor Varrick (Woody Harrelson). Her target is a mysterious figure in the Yakuza gang. Varrick also ordered Kate to take out the target’s teenager daughter named Ani (Miku Martineau). Unwilling to kill the child, Kate barely escapes the retaliation from Yakuza henchmen. Trying to regroup, Kate travels back to her home base in Tokyo and meets a stranger (Michiel Huisman) in a bar, enjoying a night of sex before she’s back to business.
On the next day, things didn’t go well for Kate, she passed out during a new mission and woke up in a hospital. The doctor told her that she’s been poisoned and have 24 hours to live. Escaping the hospital with special shots to keep her alert, Kate embarks on a mission to reach Kijima (Jun Kunimura), the yakuza boss who wants her dead, inadvertently teaming with Ani in the process.
Screenwriter Umair Aleem borrowed a lot of elements from films like John Wick and D.O.A. The plot is simple, Kate needs to find antidote to the poison in her body and take revenge on those she thinks is responsible for her predicament. Director Cedric Nicolas-Troyan decided to shoot the film in sort of Japanese Anime style. In the spirit of the John Wick films, he also included some very intense action sequences, including a brutal fight scene where Kate must take on several Yakuza henchmen at a clubhouse and a nifty shootout in an alley way.
This film has a very dark look to it, I’m not sure what cinematographer Lyle Vincent was going for here but there were scenes where I thought there’s something wrong with my display. It’s so dark that I was having hard time seeing what’s on the screen and I watched this on my 4K television with Dolby Vision. I had to stop the movie and switch on another movie just to make sure there’s nothing wrong with my TV.
I’ve always liked Mary Elizabeth Winstead and it’s nice to see her as lead in an action film. She has the physical built that make her a believable action hero and she’s good here. Her character starts out as cold-blooded killer but became sort of a mother figure to the young Ani. Their relationship got complicated once Ani learned that she’s the target of Kate. This is the first time I’ve seen Miku Martineau and I can’t say her performance impressed me that much. We’re supposed to have sympathy for her, but the character became kind of annoying and slowed the pace of the film down. Harrelson has a smaller role in the film, and I think most people can figure out what his motivations are before our hero does.
While Kate isn’t something new and it’s not perfect, it’s still enjoyable and if you’re in the mood for a decent action film, then this one will satisfy your appetite.
So have you seen Netflix’s KATE? Well, what did you think?