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‘Kate’ review: Mary Elizabeth Winstead stars in Netflix action movie that looks like DOA in more ways than one

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Aside from Winstead’s recent role as a hunter in the movie “Harley Quinn”, the most obvious point of reference would be “DOA”, the 1950 film noir starring Edmond O’Brien (later remade with Dennis Quaid ) in which a fatally poisoned man spends his remaining hours trying to unravel the mystery of who killed him.

Likewise, Kate – a Tokyo-based slayer for hire – ingests a slow-acting poison, giving her a day to track down who was responsible, slicing and shooting across much of Japan. She breaks the bad news to the boss who raised her, played by Woody Harrelson, who can play that kind of attractive hitman in his sleep.

Kate’s search for those behind her disappearance puts her in touch with a teenage girl (newcomer Miku Martineau) who is the granddaughter of a mafia boss, and as written proves annoying even by standards. teenagers in these kinds of movies. There’s a sprinkle of “The Professional” and more recently Netflix’s much better “Gunpowder Milkshake” in their killer-child bond, which doesn’t have much time to develop with so much damage to do before the Kate’s condition does become unmanageable.

Under the direction of French director Cédric Nicolas-Troyan (“The Huntsman: Winter’s War”), a film like this ultimately comes down to the quality of the action, and it’s both hearty and particularly gory. Kate absorbs a huge amount of punishment and cooks up a lot more, using guns, knives, fists, and, when in a hurry, common kitchen appliances.

Still, there’s not much of a mystery to the “why” of it all, and not a pace that doesn’t seem almost entirely predictable. The film thus becomes a long episode of violence for itself, with the inevitability of Kate’s fate only further undermining any suspense about the direction the story is taking.

Netflix’s focus on delivering original movies recently included a steady diet of forgettable thrillers with lead roles including “Sweet Girl” and “Beckett,” starring Jason Momoa and John David Washington, respectively.

Listen, we got it, people are looking for new things to watch, including the insane escape. Yet in terms of inspiration or originality, “Kate” the movie is just as DOA as Kate the character.

“Kate” premieres September 10 in select US theaters and on Netflix. It is classified R.

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