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Critics Review
Kate review: Mary Elizabeth Winstead's film tries too hard to be the Japanese Die Hard

Also look out for Japanese guitarist-actor Miyavi, who plays the role of Jojima in the action-packed film.

Shaheen Irani
Sep 10, 2021
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An encounter specialist Kate gets on a mission. She pursues it immensely only to find out she only has a day to live. But as Kate gets closer to her target, she learns something new each time.


Kate is an out-and-out American action-thriller set in Japan. The film is a constant battle between the Japanese and the Americans, with them both constantly looking down on each other. While more than half of the film goes on that way, soon we come across a Die Hard-like sequence during a kidnapping scene (once again, the Die Hard scenario).

Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Kate and Woody Harrelson as Varrick (V) enter the film together. While Woody makes a fair impression, Mary fares better than him since the first scene.

The background music i.e. beats up your heartbeat hinting at an action sequence. Within 10 seconds, Mary springs into action and there is no stopping her thereon.


The way each scene from there rolls out is a marvel. When things fall apart in Mary's life, there is a close-up shot of thunder that strikes as she observes the weather.

Dutch actor Michiel Huisman enters the scene as a surprise. He is a charming welcome to the otherwise intense film.

Director Cedric Nicholas-Troyan stays more or less true to the essence of Japan. While we see an anime playing in 3D on top of a building right at the beginning, he also makes sure to keep the homes more of what Japanese homes look like.

The film appears to be America's way of looking down on Japan. The 'American hero' Mary literally challenges the Japanese on the open roads, while dissing J-rock playing in a car she stole. Similarly, the Japanese also look down on the Americans by actually stating, "You mixed-race."

Knowing that she only has a day to live, Kate gets more determined than ever to complete her mission. After just a few minutes of rest, she sets on her journey, back in her badass avatar.

Jun Kunimura makes a fair first impression. Mary, however, excels in action all the way. Towards the end of the film though, he comes as a long-awaited surprise. The actor has some scenes which will leave you stunned.

The camera angles have been quite the focus in the film. They turn around 360 degrees to indicate how the situation in the film has turned around. Cedric and his team make the best use of the lens to cover the action in all ways possible.


The action drama gets a little unbelievable at times. Mary barely kicks one of the villains and he falls off the roof, onto the electric pole. However, this does not come as a surprise in the midst of the constant dissing of cultures, with the film hitting the lowest of lows.

Tadanobu Asano as Renji leaves a good first impression. He does only a fair job thereafter. His character towards the end becomes one of the most interesting, right after V. However, there is very little essence to his character.

Miyavi as Jojima has a fabulous entry. He screams rich and spoiled. His borderline psychopath behaviour will keep you intrigued to know more about what this Japanese guitarist-actor has to offer. The action sequence between him and Mary is intense and they both can go to any lengths to hurt each other.

Miku Martineau as Mary's sidekick Ani grows on you. From a complete brat, she turns into a sensible young girl who sees her way through the fights. Her chemistry with Mary is adorable right till the end.


Mary has a Die Hard moment time and again but her entry with a cigarette, pistol and funky glasses in one of the finale shots, is quite a scene. This time though, she has an army by her side, unlike John McClane.

The last few minutes of the film get too dramatic but it can be forgiven since it allows the audiences to see the bond between Kate and Ani.


With its insanely high moments, Kate is bearable. The constant looking down on each other and wannabe moments in the film, however, could end up disappointing you.

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