Kate

Vampire Owl: I don’t know many Kates from around here.

Vampire Bat: You do know Kate Winslet and Kate Beckinsale.

Vampire Owl: They are certainly not from around here.

Vampire Bat: They are still part of our large film universe.

Vampire Owl: Universe is never that large, as we look at it.

Vampire Bat: Well, this movie and its performers can be part of it.

Vampire Owl: Mary Elizabeth Winstead has always been part of it.

Vampire Bat: Okay, you do remember her movies which suited us vampires’ tastes.

Vampire Owl: Living through so many centuries, tastes do change.

Vampire Bat: The world does change, but do we? In this realm, can we?

[Gets a ghee roast and three cups of ginger tea].

What is the movie about? :: Kate (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) is an experienced assassin who has Varrick (Woody Harrelson) as her handler. She is also an expert sniper who has never missed a target in her long career which has focused mostly on the use of sniper gun and long distance shots. Varrick was also the one who trained her, right from childhood itself. Kate has to come to Osaka in Japan to kill a leader within a powerful yakuza mob, but only just manages to hit the target, after a child comes in the way. Even though this hit was also a success, having to kill someone in front of a child bothers here, leading to an emotional turmoil. She intends to go for one final mission, and then begin a new life, as a commoner. But before the final mission, she comes up against Stephen (Michiel Huisman) in bar. They have sex in the room, and she follows up with a sniper shot, and it is the first time that she misses one, that too, with the chance for clear shot.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: She understands that she was poisoned by Stephen under the instructions of the members of a crime family which is headed by Kijima (Jun Kunimura), whom she was planning to assassinate, after having already killed his brother in front of his niece, Ani (Miku Martineau). Having only a day left to live before poison gets her, she decides to kidnap Ani, and bargain with Kijima. Despite using her as a bait in the beginning, she decides to keep her safe during the mission, as the gangsters are also targeting her. Ani is the last in the line of the family, and her death would help an internal power struggle. For getting to the top, she has to get through Renji (Tadanobu Asano) and Jojima (Miyavi), and there is a long way ahead after that too. There are many complications that she has to face on the way too, as many other secrets are revealed, with the unexpected happenings that occur related to the person whom she was trying to assassinate.

The defence of Kate :: Led by Mary Elizabeth Winstead, we have female assassin for a change, instead of the usual, and with her performance in the action scenes, we feel that she makes the exact person who was needed here. The film has so many delightful action sequences, and the one at the top floor of a penthouse, and the final combat are of top quality – the style and the music are nothing less than charming. The world that this movie has created in Japan feels like a classic one, and with all the beautiful violence, you only wants to go there. The fights that we have here, are also never overdone, and would make both John Wick and Hitman: Codename 47 proud. There are also enough emotional sequences to go with it. The lighting, darkness and colours have a different feeling about them, and the we also feel a lot of Japan. After the first few minutes, almost all of the city is set in one city in Japan, and with the main character having less than twenty four hours to live, this one keeps close to the unity of time and place, as well as unity of action, one of the rare action movies to keep it close to the Classical unities of Aristotle.

Positives and negatives :: With its quick action, the movie never drags, even when adding the emotions to it – the emotional side also deserves some applause, even though it could have dealt with the same in different ways which could have appealed more, for options were surely there to be taken. Reminder of other films will also be there, but we can actually see this one as superior in action at times. The violence is there for most of the time, and it has taken with a certain amount of beauty related to it. Some parts of it can feel predictable, but it is with multiple guesses taken – many options were there and therefore one cannot correctly guess the same at all times. Some dialogues are actually there to remembered, and a few of them are like providing some messages about life, revenge and forgiveness. There is strength in the frames, and the way in which this one is taken, will need applause too. Even as you are not part of anything like this, and has never been to the city or been part of any action that comes close, you feel what is happening around, and you are engaged at all times with the assassin’s work.

Performers of the soul :: Mary Elizabeth Winstead is fantastic as the assassin, and it is the one thing that stands apart like no other. We have seen her from Final Destination 3 itself, and after slashers like Black Christmas were there, we saw her 10 Cloverfield Lane and Gemini Man, two others full of action and mystery. Birds of Prey had her as an assassin too, as the Huntress who was supporting Harley Quinn. Action, horror and mystery seems to suit her really well, and thriller seems to be her perfect genre. From 2000s itself, she has held a higher position among the scream queens, a position which Amber Heard also shared during a similar time period. Unfortunately, there is no scope for a sequel to have her back as the assassin, with this being the dead end, but one has to say that she deserved more movies like Hitman, John Wick or The Transporter. You can have her as part of these bloody genres at any moment of time, and she is sure to deliver. Miku Martineau as Ani plays a child in trauma that you are to remember. Woody Harrelson has a solid role to play here too.

How it finishes :: Kate is a strong action film which reminds one mostly of John Wick, and at times of The Equalizer, but also develops a life of its own. With Mary Elizabeth Winstead at the top, you can also feel some shots of Anna, even though the premise and the world itself is very much different. You can watch this particular movie just for the action itself, and she is more or less like a female Keanu Reeves – one would wonder if she could have actually played Matrix‘s Trinity in another parallel universe, because there is the feeling that in those clothes, and in that world, she would look almost the same. Clearly an engaging ride, Kate takes you through a fun-filled action journey which is to be remembered not just for all the melee combat, sword fights and gun shots, but also for the story with its twists, as well as the beautiful world that we see around there in between the combat. It is indeed an all-round action package, and not a movie that depends on mindless action all the time. Choose this one for full-time entertainment.

Release date: 10th September 2021 (Netflix)
Running time: 106 minutes
Directed by: Cedric Nicolas-Troyan
Starring: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Miku Martineau, Woody Harrelson, Tadanobu Asano, Miyavi, Michiel Huisman

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Kong: Skull Island

Vampire Owl: Oh, Mr. Kong. I have heard that the humans used to call him King Kong. What happened to the king title?

Vampire Bat: Well, it seems that the humans has once again decided that only the mankind is the king and ruler above all species on Earth.

Vampire Owl: It is absurd. We are cent percent better than them. These people got such a huge mountain of ego that jumping off it to their sensible side is rather suicide.

Vampire Bat: What can we do? They are just proud of one thing or the other all the time. Then there are a few others who kill their own kind in the name of animals.

Vampire Owl: I don’t understand these humans. I actually understand werewolves better, which should be why are having a war with them.

Vampire Bat: Even humans never understand each other.

Vampire Owl: I would have been surprised if they did.

Vampire Bat: They even form teams to kill each other.

Vampire Owl: I wish werewolves had such teams, but they are so united.

Vampire Bat: Maybe Kong could work to get rid of those really bad ones among them.

[Gets three cups of strong tea with Mariegold biscuits].

What is the movie about? :: We see that two fighter planes which were going through combat in the air crashes on an unknown island. The American soldier named Hank Marlow (John C. Reilly) and a Japanese soldier named Gunpei Ikari (Miyavi) who have been fighting each other as the World War II was coming near the end, continues the combat, this time on the ground. While Gunpei manages to get the advantage with his samurai sword, a giant hand emerges from under the cliff, and the two gets back in shock. Later, in the year 1973, a team is sent by the United States to an island in the South Pacific known as Skull Island intending to discover what awaits inside before its Cold War opponent the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics decides to find its secrets first. The newfound opponent getting there before them was something that they couldn’t agree to, and due to the same, a former British Special Air Service named Captain James Conrad (Tom Hiddleston) is hired as the tracker to guide the new expedition.

So, what happens next? :: William Randa (John Goodman) is in charge of the operation, and intends to prove something, and Mason Weaver (Brie Larson) who has suspicions that there some secret warfare going on, also manages to join the gang to know what war is coming up after the failure of the Vietnam war. When a team lead by Lieutenant Colonel Preston Packard (Samuel L. Jackson) joins the expedition, her suspicions increase. As the team drops explosives at different part of the island according to the plan by the seismologist Houston Brooks (Corey Hawkins) to map out the island, they face something which they had not witnessed before, a giant creature which reveals itself as a huge ape, of the size of a skyscraper – the creature attacks the helicopters, easily destroying all air units, killing a number of men, and the others crashing at different parts of the island.

And, what is to follow next in the adventure? :: Preston feels that there is more than what meets the eye about this island, and when confronted, William reveals that he has been tracking these monsters for a long time, and there is a secret government wing which deals with these supernatural creatures, and they have been trying to get enough proof about the same, so that this possible threat against humanity could be dealt with, in one way or the other. He asks Preston to get him out of there, so that he could prove to the outside the world that such creatures exist, and there is reason for humans to be afraid of the monsters, thus proving that he has always been right, and not a nutcase. But Preston is more interested in something else, to kill the giant ape which murdered his soldiers – he would not stop until he sees the monster dead. The other team meets Hank Marlow who had survived on the island from the Second World War times, and he tells them that it is not Kong whom they should be worried about, as there are more, including the Skull crawlers – well, will anyone survive all these horror?

The defence of Kong: Skull Island :: You know what to expect of this movie, and you know that there is no chance of such a movie doing terribly – well, this one really manages to work on that formula so nicely. There is no shortage of fun in an old-fashioned tale about an island full of monsters, and will some skill, they have brought more quality into that idea. The special effects are too good, and CGI, as usual is nothing less than grand – we see more than one creature causing trouble, and we see the monsters battling each other, as we had seen in the last Godzilla movie, and this one doesn’t have that dark setting; the whole setting on the island is just some great joy to watch. We are also have a certain improvement from the 2005 version of King Kong, and this feels so much bigger on the screen. You will end up asking for more of Kong after this movie, and we have the monster who is capable of more than just destruction. Here, you will get to witness the monster power and all the action with less drama.

The claws of flaw :: You will always want more with a monster movie with the giant ape. The human characters are also very less significant in this movie which provides them only secondary or even lower status compared to the monsters on whom the movie is all about – we have so many of them here, but not much is there to be done with them. We would have also wished for more monsters – Kong could have used all the space used by humans too, because they do less and be the bad side of the movie, despite a lot of talent being present there. They could have at least thought and talked further about a philosophical side like Godzilla of 2014 did. We also wanted terrifying sequences with those which were called skull crawlers, or even other creatures who had the scope to unleash terror. Getting closer to simple monster horror would have been the best point of this movie, but this one chooses to go around on so many occasions – we can forgive most of them, but the viewers have to wonder what would have happened otherwise.

How it finishes :: Kong: Skull Island leaves us with the idea that there are some lines which shouldn’t be crossed, and that humans are not in control of nature or Earth, as they think – there will always be enough within this world to teach humans one lesson or two. We had seen the same in the movie Godzilla when balance was brought, and humanity was saved as monsters battled each other. There is even more to come in that case with Godzilla: King of the Monsters coming up in 2019, and the two movie series combining to bring Godzilla vs. Kong in 2020. Well, the monsters are going to attack our theatre screens more and more, and lets get ready for the same by watching Kong: Skull Island, which is the one King Kong movie which will take you back to your childhood, and enjoy this new, superior take of the myth with all that nostalgia and also the newly found glory with the best of visual effects, and the wonderful evolution of the tale of the giant ape. Well, when a monster calls, you have to listen and see the wonder that he is.

Release date: 10th March 2017
Running time: 118 minutes
Directed by: Jordan Vogt-Roberts
Starring: Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, John Goodman, Jing Tian, Toby Kebbell, John Ortiz, Corey Hawkins, Jason Mitchell, Shea Whigham, Thomas Mann, Terry Notary, John C. Reilly, Eugene Cordero, Miyavi, Richard Jenkins, Marc Evan Jackson

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.