The following contains minor spoilers for Netflix's Kate*_.*_
There's nothing quite like a good action movie. Sometimes all you need is a hero you can connect to, with a clear goal and a bunch of human targets standing in the way of the hero reaching that goal. The "one hero versus an endless army of thugs" movie genre is hardly new or unique, but that's part of the challenge. To get noticed here, you have to bring something special to the game. However, based on fan reaction, Kate, the new Netflix movie starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead, does exactly that.
Following her co-starring role as Huntress in Birds of Prey, Mary Elizabeth Winstead takes the lead role in Kate. As the titular professional assassin, she must murder a great deal of Yakuza thugs in order to get the revenge she seeks before her time is up. The movie isn't a great deal more complex than that, but fans seem to be ok with that, because everything that is there works quite well.
Mary Elizabeth Winstead Kicks All Of The Ass In Kate
At the end of the day, your action movie needs to have exciting action sequences, and they need to include a character the audience is able and willing to get behind. Kate seems to have scored perfectly in both regards. While Mary Elizabeth Winstead has been able to show her action bona fides in everything from Scott Pilgrim vs. the World to Birds of Prey, in Kate, she plays second fiddle to no one, and she shows she's more than capable of carrying an entire action-heavy movie on her own back.
Kate takes place on the neon-soaked streets of Tokyo, giving the movie a particular vibe as it mixes the bright colors with the dark streets. It's a stylish movie, and the style permeates not only the movie's look, but it's action as well. Fans are complementing both the fight choreography as well as the cinematography of the action. The threat level is continually increased, making each battle that much more tense.
The John Wick plus Crank comparison is certainly apt. Kate has the professional assassin takes on the entire underworld element of the Keanu Reeves films with the ticking clock from the Jason Statham films. At the same time, fans aren't seeing Kate as a derivative movie, and that seems to be largely because of Mary Elizabeth Winstead herself. She brings something a little different to the movie, making Kate stand on its own and be its own movie.
Mary Elizabeth Winstead may be well on her way to becoming an action star, but Kate isn't the only character in Kate that people love.
Kate Isn't All About Kate
While Mary Elizabeth Winstead's Kate certainly leads the show, the movie Kate is full of interesting characters, and some have completely stolen the show, according to various people. Miku Martineau plays Ani in Kate. She's the niece of the man who Kate is after, but she ends up helping Kate throughout much of the film. It's the sort of character who could easily turn out to be annoying, but she never does. And in the end, she may have the single best moment in the movie. If you've seen it, you know what I'm talking about, even if you don't agree with that.
Another character who is getting a lot of praise despite his comparatively short screen time, is musician, model and actor Miyavi. In a movie that is, in many ways, quite brutal and intentionally ugly, Miyavi, plays the prettiest character in the film, something which is not lost on many viewers. While he may only appear briefly, he and his tattoos own the scene he's in.
But now let's get into a weirdly specific aspect of Kate that a lot of people are talking about.
Fans Have Strong Feeling About Kate's Favorite Beverage
At the end of the day, the single most important thing for any movie is that audiences invest in the characters. If the people watching care what happens to the hero, they'll go along for the ride even in an otherwise imperfect movie. If you can get people to care about the things the character cares about, the rest is easy. And in the case of Kate, everybody has clearly gotten on board there, because Kate's quest for Boom Boom Lemon has become their quest for Boom Boom Lemon.
Boom Boom Lemon is Kate's favorite beverage in the film. It would appear to be a sort of citrus soda, though what it actually is doesn't matter. What matters is that Kate wants one and can't get one. Early in the film, we see that it's something she drinks while on the job, as it's something that makes her happy. Throughout her epic ordeal, in between battles she barely wins, she occasionally looks for the drink and regularly comes up empty.
Eventually Kate's frustration becomes the audience's frustration. With the stakes becoming as big as they are, the least the world can do is give Kate her damn soda, and every time she is denied, the fans are feeling it. The stress clearly gets to the people watching the movie, which shows just how much people are buying into Kate. And by the time we reach the end, well, whether or not people actually had emotional breakdowns, they certainly are representing that the experience was akin to an emotional breakdown.
Netflix seems to have a solid winner with Kate. It's always difficult to tell with streaming movies just popular they really are with fans, since there are no box office numbers to reference. However, the social media buzz is overwhelmingly positive and considerably more passionate than we've seen with other streaming products. While the future never looks very bright for Kate for basically the entirety of the movie, it likely looks pretty good for Mary Elizabeth Winstead, and any action fans who haven't yet sat down to watch Kate kick some ass.
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