“Kate” is a Disservice to Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Action Heroines Everywhere: Film Review

Ever since her roles in Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World and 10 Cloverfield Lane, I have been waiting for Mary Elizabeth Winstead to break out as the major Hollywood star that she should be. For a brief moment, I thought Kate would be that film. Unfortunately, director Cedric Nicolas-Troyan’s sophomore feature is as dull and uninspired as its title.

The film follows Kate (Winstead), a hitman who is unexpectedly poisoned when she tries to retire and atone for her sins. This sets Kate on a 24 hour mission to find her killer before the poison takes its fatal effect.

The premise of Kate has already been explored in film noir (D.O.A), comedy (Dead Heat), horror (Happy Death Day) and action (Crank) genres. The film does manage to stand out from those films though, given that Kate is the most milquetoast approach to the oft-repeated trope.

Just about every element of the production is mediocre and underwhelming. The cinematography is dark and drab, even when neon lights are used to invoke David Leitch’s (John Wick) style. While the editing does allow for the viewer to understand the fight choreography, the fights themselves are as rudimentary as something out of a CW show.

Kate is the perfect representation of most of Netflix’s output of original movies: “Content” that is seen with our optical lens but is so unremarkable that it never manages to make the faintest imprint on our memory.

The Silver Lining

Despite a by-the-numbers script and dull production, Mary Elizabeth Winstead tries her best to give Kate some semblance of excitement. Winstead gives a performance that is sullen and driven with a determined focus. It’s the kind of role that would have been given to Sigourney Weaver back in the 80s. In fact, Hollywood should take this film as the audition tape for Winstead to play a version of Ellen Ripley in the inevitable remake/legacy sequel of Alien.

Kate is available to stream on Netflix beginning Friday, September 10th.

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