By Laurie Coker
There seems to be a more noticeable trend now for taking traditional male roles and casting women in them, especially in the violent action film genre. The problem with this lies in the fact that these stories aren’t fresh. Director Cedric Nicolas-Troyan makes a genuine effort to create an action-packed tale of murder, mayhem, and madness. Still, Umair Aleem delivers a story that we have seen far too many times and does it with characters that lack dimension.
The likes of ‘Wonder Woman’ and ‘Black Widow’ aside, females are being cast as hit-persons, saviors, and reluctant heroes with all the kickass abilities of their male counterparts. In truth, this would be fine if writers could come up with new and unique storylines, but they do not. Such is the case with ‘Kate,’ starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Woody Harrelson. Harrelson plays Varrick, Kate’s (Winstead) handler. When she questions a hit but completes it, she decides to give up the life and tells Varrick she wants an everyday life. That’s when things go awry. She finds herself fighting against time, her mortality, and the people responsible for her soon-to-be demise.
‘Kate’ looks awesome – played out in the dingy, crowded streets of Tokyo and Winstead is exceptional in this wholly unrealistic tale of revenge. She has a believable presence, and even though there is no way any average person could endure what Kate does, we buy-in. It’s because of her performance that ‘Kate’ is even remotely engaging. The plot, however, is a repeat of so many other movies, leaving little doubt as to how it will play out. Kate is doomed, of course, and the villain reveal is no surprise. Aleem’s script is flimsy at best and steals from so many other films it is laughable.
To his credit, Nicolas-Troyan manages to rise above with this cast and some incredible action. The fight and chase sequences, while totally unrealistic, are stunning and fast-paced, providing at least a modicum of entertainment value. What ‘Kate’ lacks in substance, it more than makes up for in gratuitous violence. I am placing a C in my grade book – generous to Aleem’s script but good enough for the film.