"Unpleasant and Unsatisfying"
What You Need To Know:
An original Netflix movie, KATE is a nasty, nihilistic piece of work. It creates an utterly unlikable “heroine” who exists solely to kill others. The movie is almost completely made up of killing people in as bloody a fashion as possible. The title character is poorly underwritten and one-dimensional. This trend toward hyperviolent films starring women goes against God’s natural order, where females are supposed to be a greater nurturing force than men. KATE is a dispiriting mess of a movie that’s completely unsatisfying.
KATE is the umpteenth variation of some recent movies where female assassins have to be more brutal than men ever would be while exacting revenge for a wrong. KATE is a nasty, nihilistic piece of work with lots of strong foul language, graphic violence, some strong lewd content, and other immoral content. It follows fellow Netflix movies like GUNPOWDER MILKSHAKE and Amazon’s JOLT in creating utterly unlikable “heroines” who exist solely to kill others. In the case of KATE, it results in a dispiriting mess of a movie that’s completely unsatisfying.
Kate (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) is a female assassin who works for a mysterious man named Varrick (Woody Harrelson), who also trained her how to fight, shoot and kill since he abruptly took over her care in childhood. She kicks off things on assignment in Osaka, Japan, where she is to perform a hit on a Yakuza leader that Varrick and his clients have been pursuing for seven months.
She makes the kill but is shaken by the fact that the man’s teenage daughter Ani (Miku Patricia Martineau) is right there next to him, thus breaking her and Varrick’s one rule: to never kill when children are around. Ten months later, she’s assigned to kill the grand leader of the Yakuza, who’s also related to Ani, and finds that she’s suddenly feeling extremely ill after drinking something that Varrick told her to chug.
Kate learns she’s been doublecrossed by her mentor, as she staggers into a hospital only to find out that she has acute radiation poisoning, since her drink was radioactive. She’s given just 24 hours to live, during which time she sets out to finish her assignment but also to get revenge on Varrick by killing him before she dies. Since Ani is also related to the elder Yakuza man, Kate takes her under her wing in what is at first a contentious relationship but becomes a begrudging friendship in Kate’s waning hours.
Will she find Varrick and exact her revenge? And more importantly will Kate ever show enough human emotions for viewers to care?
KATE is almost completely made up of killing people in as bloody a fashion as possible, alternating with verbal sniping between the hitwoman and the foul-mouthed, annoying Ani and downbeat mumbling between Kate and Ani, Kate and Varrick and Kate and the elderly Yakuza. There are several stretches that are Japanese dialogue with subtitles, but they are so mumbled that the scenes prove annoying to follow even with the translation.
Winstead is a rising star who generally does good work in films (particularly 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE and SCOTT PILGRIM VS THE WORLD), but here Kate is so poorly underwritten and one-dimensional that Winstead has nothing to in the script to create the character. Ani is a shrill annoyance from start to finish, and Harrelson can play this kind of role in his sleep by now (and possibly did here).
This trend toward hyperviolent films starring women has a disturbing undertone that goes against God’s natural order, where females are supposed to be a greater nurturing force than men. So, seeing a woman just slice, dice, pummel, and blast people as if they’re chunks of meat is not only unpleasant, but probably damaging to the spirit.