The John Wick saga has definitely done a lot of good in American action cinema. We owe him not only a reconsideration of neat choreography and action, but also the investment of many talented actors. After Charlize Theron in Atomic Blonde, Bob Odenkirk in Nobody and Karen Gillan in Bloody Milkshake, it’s Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s turn to be too rare to reverse engineer Kate, directed by Cedric Nicolas-Troyan and available on Netflix.
Who knew that a former stuntman with a small $20 million budget would kick up a Hollywood anthill like that? In 3 films and 300 kills (some have counted), John Wick’s tale almost saves America’s fight from the yoke of the post-Michael Bay blockbuster, their most ridiculous wiles and their patient karcher-mounted descendants. Like The Raids in Indonesia, it spawned several imitators. The recipe is simple: relatively simple narrative, unbeatable anti-hero, surgical choreography, careful staging, and a high dose of digital violence.
Directed by Cedric Nicolas-Troyan, a visual effects composer promoted to director on The Hunter and the Ice Queen, this Kate applies the formula to the letter; to the point, like others before him, replicated the color palette experimented a bit by John Wick 2, much by John Wick 3. Supervised by Lyle Vincent , who is familiar with the practice from the time he illuminates Daniel’s majestic paintings Isn’t Real , this photography aims to capture the futuristic charm of the Japanese megalopolis, where almost the entire story takes place. Mary Elizabeth Winstead and her protégé Miku Martineau evolve in a jungle of invasive pink neon lights, too aesthetically pleasing, especially as the heroine embarks on a digital chase that Joseph Kahn won’t deny.
Kate therefore draws awkward lessons from Mr Wick’s adventures, but she retains their main quality, namely the attention paid to the struggles. On the tatami, midway, in a club or in the middle of a fully equipped kitchen, choreography coordinated by second team director Jonathan Eusebio (skipped by Ninja Assassin, some Marvel, the Expendables or… the John Wicks), don’t move.
Deeply invested, looking happy to play badass on the idling mandatory plan picks, Winstead moves the rogues with a certain agility. Inspiration is clear, especially when the film is reproduced with exactly one reload of Duels 3 rd installment of the saga starring Keanu Reeves, but the staging, which allows for some surprising formal boldness, honors what can now almost be called a sub-genre.
And everyone put their hands on his paws. True to series B as a beta because he is also the origin of one of Bruce Willis’ retirees, Extraction, screenwriter Umair Aleem aims for efficiency by adding this sequence of muscle executions a worthy postulate for Van dammiens’ pitches pretext. Illuminated, Winstead has his final 24 hours to complete his revenge, and it’s adrenaline pumping as he slowly transforms into some sort of fanatical creature. It felt like the 1990s, and so much better: the kreineri of the time fit perfectly with the choreographed carnage that was in vogue.
Still with the 1990s model, Kate clearly wants to stand out thanks to her décor, the kind of Japanese technology Western culture dreams of. Feature films are careful to cite aesthetic cliches from yakuza films. He even went so far as to summon a true local cinema legend, the charming Jun Kunimura, in the classic and sadly under-exploited role of the exhausted gang leader. Aleem and Nicolas-Troyan have fun losing their characters in a fantasy city maze, dragging them into a traditional sauna full of tattooed bullies, pitting them against dangerous underlings who have all azimuth villains and Takashi Miike’s signature self-destruct. best essay.
But where 1990s-geneless American cinema would settle for wallowing in the exotic, a production like Kate has had to disguise the references under a more considered plot. Thanks to the character of Ani, a young Eurasian who was rejected by his family from the good old local mafia and whose fate will clearly reverberate in our hero, as well as through various twists and turns, the film undermines its own treatment of Japanese culture; and more generally, the Yankee’s way of acting hybridizes, a little hard, its codes and Japanese cinema.
A discourse on cultural globalism that in fact imposes a more grueling final act, and which very awkwardly tries to justify its regressive tendencies. In the same way, this climax tries desperately to forget, during the conversation, the twistthe most obvious one, baked in by every genre novice after just a few minutes, and one that taints with the heaviness of the ultimate action sequence.
It’s great fun, moreover, Kate seems to be trying to justify herself permanently, and leaving her final battle sequence, however very, very promising. It’s a small drop in speed that doesn’t prevent the whole from establishing itself as one of the most honest entertainment distributed by the platform. As we watch Mary Elizabeth Winstead cut more yakuza, we’ll gladly cover all the fare increases to come.