Mary Elizabeth Winstead is a certifiable badass who is known for her roles in action films like Birds of Prey, Live Free or Die Hard, and most recently, for her portrayal of Hera Syndulla in the Star Wars TV mini-series Ahsoka. If you’re a fan of her work, then you’ll want to watch her 2021 movie Kate that is currently streaming on Netflix. The film is unlike any other from Mary Elizabeth Winstead as it truly puts her center stage in all the action.
Mary Elizabeth Winstead takes center stage in Kate, an action-filled assasssin film on Netflix.
The Netflix movie follows Kate (Winstead), a trained assassin who was raised by her mentor and handler, Varrick (Woody Harrelson) after she was left as an orphan. Just as Kate is about to abandon her life as an assassin, she gets fatally poisoned. With only 24 hours to live, she spends her time tracking down a yakuza clan so that she can get vengeance against those who plotted to kill her.
The movie takes audiences on a journey through Japan as Kate battles her enemies and discovers the truth about her life and supposed allies. It’s an entertaining movie that will keep your attention with its great choreography and intense action scenes. It’s similar in style to Charlize Theron’s Atomic Blonde, Bridget Fonda’s Point of No Return, and Saoirse Ronan’s Hanna.
In addition to starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Woody Harrelson, Kate also stars Michiel Huisman (Game of Thrones), Tadanobu Asano (Thor), and Jun Kunimura (Kill Bill: Vol. 1). This was also the feature film debut of actress Miku Martineau who had previously own been in children’s TV shows.
The Japanese all-female hard rock group Band-Maid provided two songs for the film (“Choose Me” and “Blooming”) and also appeared in the movie, performing one of their songs in the club. Mary Elizabeth Winstead previously starred in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, a film that’s all about rock music and over-the-top action scenes. She will reprise her role as Ramona Flowers when she lends her voice in the new animated TV series Scott Pilgrim Takes Off which is currently in post-production.
The script for Kate was written by Umair Aleem (Extraction), and it was acquired by Netflix in 2017. The screenplay then made it onto the Black List (great screenplays that have not been adapted into films yet), and production took off from there. With a budget of $25 million, director Cedric Nicolas-Troyan (Snow White and the Huntsman) came on board, followed shortly by Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Woody Harrelson.
Mary Elizabeth Winstead has done action movies before, including Birds of Prey and Live Free or Die Hard, but Kate is the first time she was able to be the hero.
Filming took place in Thailand, Tokyo, Japan, and Los Angeles, California, from September 16, 2019, to November 29, 2019, an impressive timeframe for a feature film. The movie spent quite some time in post-production during the pandemic, and it was eventually released on Netflix on September 10, 2021.
To prepare for her role as the assassin Kate, Mary Elizabeth Winstead trained with stunt performer Hayley Wright, who she had previously worked with on Gemini Man. The two worked well together since they both have a history of dance, but Wright had to be replaced by stunt performers after suffering an injury on the first day of shooting.
When Kate was first released, it received mixed reviews, landing at 46 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. Many fans and critics praised Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s performance since she brought humanity and humor to an action-packed film that needed some levity. Many fans have seen the actress kick ass and take names, but never quite in this way, and not as the star of the show.
Mary Elizabeth Winstead has now joined the Star Wars universe in Ashoka as Hera Syndulla.
While some loved the film, others felt that it was a predictable storyline that has been done over and over again, with many pointing out its similarity to the 1950 film D.O.A. Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times likened Kate to a mash-up of John Wick, Die Hard, Collateral, and Kill Bill (Volumes 1 and 2), but that it still offers great visuals and choreography.
Even though the film is similar to other action thrillers, it somewhat acknowledges this with a reference to The Terminator. In an earlier scene, Ani (a young woman Kate takes under her wing) tells her that she looks like a cybernetic assassin with sunglasses on. Later in the film, Kate’s left eye is red, a clear nod to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character and the multiple cyborgs throughout the Terminator film franchise.
After you watch Mary Elizabeth Winstead captain the Ghost in the new Disney+ series Ahsoka, watch her as she stars in Kate on Netflix.