Courtesy of Global Road
Writer and Director Drew Pearce’s hyper-kinetic “Hotel Artemis” has plenty to root for: Jodie Foster’s first acting gig in five years, Sterling K Brown in a leading role, and an original concept in the midst of a blockbuster heavy Summer. Still, if you watch “Artemis” and think you’ve seen the story before - a hotel that’s actually a sanctuary for stone cold criminals - you have, it’s called “John Wick,” and try as it might, “Artemis” is no “John Wick.”
Within the first ten minutes, Pearce attempts to establish some credibility, as we view Foster’s Nurse prepping the hotel for normal operating procedure. She’s been with the hotel for 22 years, and even has a snarky, but bulky, henchmen named Everest (“Guardians of the Galaxy’s” Dave Bautista) to help run security. The two are easily the best thing in the movie. Her with a strict code of conduct all the tenants must follow (like no killing other patients or swearing etc). And him, with the need to inform clients that he’s really “A health care professional.”
The night begins as brothers (Sterling K Brown and Brian Henry) who are codenamed Waikiki and Honolulu stumble in looking for help. Luckily their membership hasn’t expired and are granted access. Inside the walls you’ll also find: a sexy assassin ironically called Nice (Sofia Boutella) and an obnoxious Charlie Day, continuing to agonizingly yell his lines for no apparent reason. They’re all trying to stay safe from the chaos unfolding outside, as riots are transpiring over a water shortage.
And to make matters worse, the kingpin of Los Angeles - (Jeff Goldblum doing, you know, what Jeff Goldblum does) - is making his way to Artemis with his trigger happy son (Zachary Quinto) in tow. As Nurse constantly says: “It’s a busy night at the Artemis!”
But the movie is so flimsy and tiring, you’ll likely lose interest by the third act which pales in comparison to other stylized entries in this genre. Pearce spends so much time setting up the plot, that he can’t ever justify what his characters are doing. Brown feels so wasted in his talents, as he’s mostly reverted to the sidelines (although he does crush someone’s head with a 3D printer which is pretty cool) and Day has really let himself go here.
This is some labor intensive work that is strangely watchable, yet disappointing at the same time, like seeing your favorite team take an L. But at least Foster’s ever-expanding catalogue of versatility is able to save the day, even if the rest of the movie can’t live up to its own standards. No need to book a room here.