REVIEW: ‘Kate,’ Is A Hard Hitting Action Movie With Heart

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Kate

Kate is a  Netflix Original action /revenge film starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Birds of Prey). As a highly-skilled assassin, Kate has taken down her fair share of targets. But when the family of her latest hit takes revenge upon her by poisoning her with a radioactive isotope, she finds herself with 24 hours to settle the situation before her rapidly deteriorating body gives up the ghost. Her target is playing hard to get, and a little leverage might just be what’s needed.

One of the trickiest things about this film style is the delicate balancing act that must be done with the lead character. After all, the woman we are expected to cheer for is an assassin. The implications of being a killer for hirer would imply the likelihood that not everyone that has caught one of her bullets was a bad person. Even with the movie going out of its way to state clearly that, even a pro killer, Kate had one rock-solid rule: no kids. This revelation lays a foundation to give our titular character a measure of honor and respectability despite her profession. Combined with the brief splashes of her past and her actions as her time dwindles, we learn that, despite where the circumstances of life and the choices she made took her, Kate is a protagonist that few will have trouble cheering for as she leaves a trail of Yakuza bodies littering the neon-lit streets of Tokyo.

With another recent Netflix film taking a bit of a soft approach to its female lead’s action moments, I went into Kate wondering if this movie would make the same editing choices and opt to work around many of the star’s bigger fight moments. The biggest thing that Kate delivers is some brutal takedowns and multi-person fights. While the movie’s action sequences aren’t the sleek style of a John Wick, it nonetheless impresses with its ferocity. In this way, the fight scenes here fall closer to the style of flinch-inducing pain of another of Netflix’s original action movies, The Old Guard.

With no time to spare and plenty of bodies to get through, Winstead’s character goes through her enemies as quickly as possible. Efficiency is the order of the day as she feels her body breaking down from the inside. From traditional weapons to more improvised implements of pain, no object that can be thrown, jabbed, or swung is off-limits to our protagonist. My personal favorite is when Winstead puts a new spin on dual-wielding with a pair of stems from two wine glasses she breaks the tops off of. Classy and lethal.  But while the action is the main thrust of this movie’s hour and forty minutes run time, it does take a few moments here and there to build up some of its main characters.

While the moments where Kate slows itself down to let the characters breathe and the audience get a chance to understand them are few, they are implemented to their fullest. This is largely due to Winstead’s fantastic chemistry with actress Miku Patricia Martineau, who plays Ani, a young girl who, after briefly being used as leverage by Kate against her Yakuza uncle, quickly becomes her most stalwart support.

Given how the two first meet, it feels bizarre to think about where the two characters end up by the film’s conclusion. But thanks to some inspired background setup on the part of the narrative for Ani, and the aforementioned brilliant chemistry, I find myself completely sold on this unlikely duo being all each other has as the movie’s plot rages around them.

Another aspect of Kate I would be remiss for not mentioning is the absolute banger of a soundtrack this movie sports. Filled with Japanese pop and rap/hip-hop selections, the music creates the perfect accompaniment for the onscreen chaos and action. So much energy is imparted into the movie’s biggest moments, thanks to this fantastic soundtrack.

One last point I have to praise before I wrap this up is about the movie’s gorgeous cinematography. While the camera does a great job of delivering the action of every moment with great angles that showcase the full impact of every punch, trusting the actors and stunt doubles to deliver on them, the movie highlights two particular scenes so perfectly it may be some of the best camera scene interactions I’ve ever seen. And while I can’t talk too much about one, it is one of the last things you see in the movie; I can absolutely rave about the insane car chase sequence this film delivers.

At one point, while being pursued by enemies who have proven a bit too plentiful for Kate in her diminished capacity, she steals a young party-goer’s ride and makes a hasty retreat. The following chase feels like an acid-fueled trip that was probably also behind the design of the car Kate finds herself driving.

With an interior lit up in hot pink, running lights to match, and a stereo that refuses to stop blaring music that feels like an anime opening, the camera follows Kate through every twist and turn of one of the most intense traffic chases I’ve ever seen. As the camera bounces from on the ground in front of Kate’s vehicle to overhead, chasing and into the cabin with her, every shot shows what will build up the moment’s danger and intensity. If you love a chase that gets the blood pumping, this sequence will probably be worth the watch in and of itself.

So, to wrap it all up, Kate delivers everything I could ever ask of a hard-hitting revenge-driven action movie. With a badass lead, great chemistry, and action moments that left me flinching on multiple occasions, this movie is a must-watch for the action aficionados out there.

Kate is streaming now on Netflix.

Kate
  • 10/10
    Rating - 10/10
10/10

TL;DR

So, to wrap it all up, Kate delivers everything I could ever ask of a hard-hitting revenge-driven action movie. With a badass lead, great chemistry, and action moments that left me flinching on multiple occasions, this movie is a must-watch for the action aficionados out there.