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What is Polonium 204, the Poison Used in Netflix’s Kate?

With 24 hours left to stay, a highly-trained murderer seeks to resolve and avenge her personal homicide. That’s the action-packed premise Mary Elizabeth Winstead takes on in Netflix’s Kate — a so-so thriller made immeasurably higher by the fearless star’s do-or-die efficiency.

Set in opposition to the backdrop of neon-drenched Tokyo nightlife, this hyper-condensed whodunnit kicks off with the titular hitwoman discovering she’s been poisoned. Polonium-204, a physician explains, is answerable for Kate’s sudden complications and vomiting. However these are simply the primary signs of acute radiation syndrome, the brutal situation that can put Kate in agonizing ache as her physique quickly deteriorates in a day or much less.

Over the following 1 hour and 46 minutes of screentime, Kate methodically hunts for her killer amongst a gaggle of Yakuza she suspects are answerable for dosing her with the toxin. Winsetad’s remarkably stoic efficiency matches the cool detachment of her character’s method to sure demise, and lays the bottom for one stark revenge arc. From the second Kate begins yanking rotted, bloody enamel from her head in a grimy public restroom, Winstead makes it clear: She’s taking part in a spectacularly screwed useless girl strolling, not the face of a brand new multi-film franchise.Go get'em.Go get ’em. Credit score: Jasin Boland/NETFLIX

That grim premise and the remarkably stagnant tone with which it’s explored make for a surprisingly weak narrative. Kate’s speeding by the streets, though bloody and badass, fails to attain an natural tempo — taking part in extra like a clunky assortment than serpentine sequence. Why she’s chosen vengeance and to not both (a) keep on the hospital the place she will be able to go in peace, or (b) pull up a stool on the nearest bar and get drunk is rarely made clear. She’s neither motivated sufficient nor ridiculous sufficient to make her quest for comeuppance really feel like an affordable effort to undertake. It’s justified positive, simply not compelling.

Ostensibly in an effort to repair that, the niece of a strong Yakuza chief named Ani, performed by Miku Martineau, is pressured into the journey as a conduit for musings on lack of innocence and household betrayal. It might work. And but, not solely have you ever seen this multi-generational story of trauma earlier than, however it comes off as severely cloying on this context. Suppose Hanna (2011), however worse — at no fault of Martineau’s. It’s merely not written nicely, with the duo’s dynamic shifting inexplicably from scene to scene and, in some rougher moments, from line to line.Yeah, seems like ya got'em.Yeah, looks as if ya received ’em. Credit score: Jasin Boland/NETFLIX

The ultimate acts are overwrought with exposition. The dialogue isn’t compelling. Even Kate’s well-placed sparks of darkish comedy, together with a Zombieland Twinkies-style quest for a soda referred to as “Increase Increase Lemon,” really feel bloated because the story drags on. Nonetheless, I can’t assist however suggest this film to those that love its star.

Winstead with out query leaves all of it on display screen for this undertaking, delivering gritty battle and chase sequences that can have your eyes mounted on her for each body. Exact punches paired with frenetic-but-not-frantic appears make her method to motion stardom work like a Huntress-John Wick hybrid. Winstead makes Kate infinitely extra attention-grabbing by nailing slick choreography with out sacrificing the facial expressions wanted to promote her thought course of.

In fact, we have seen her try this in previous movies. However the titular function of Kate offers us an thrilling glimpse into what the bubbling actor might do with a greater film. She’s received the tenacity and expertise to hold a title this darkish and this grotesque. She simply could not get this one as much as her stage.

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