If Hotel Artemis has one thing going against it, it’s that I found the film very forgettable. It almost seemed to vanish from my mind as soon as I left the theater. A theater that only had two other people in it.
Two less people than went to go see Upgrade last week.
The film does have some things going for it however, like its fantastic cast. More importantly, a cast that featured Dave Bautista.
If I wasn’t convinced before, I am now. Bautista is a film away from being as big as Dwayne Johnson. Mark my words, he gained some momentum with Drax, but nothing in a solo film as of yet has skyrocketed him into action star fame. But he absolutely will. Everything I’ve seen him in, he has been fantastic. For maybe his best performance check out the Blade Runner 2049 short film 2048: Nowhere to Run.
Aside from this film having Bautista, it also features Charlie Day, who I didn’t even realize was in this. Seeing him pop up unexpectedly in anything is always a treat at least it is for me, since I’m a pretty big Charlie Day fan.
But to then add to that, we also get Jeff fucking Goldblum.
Holy shit! Is that Jeff Goldblum?! Why yes it is.
And last but not least, Jodie Foster who they make up to look old and haggard. I watched a recent interview she did with Conan for the film and she looks pretty as ever.
From the trailer of this film, it makes you believe the plot is, bank robbers steal diamonds from a mob boss, the bank robbers get hurt and need to stop at this hotel which specializes in fixing up the baddies while also offering sanctuary. The mob boss, played by Jeff Goldblum shows up looking for his diamonds but isn’t allowed in. So he then has to force his way… that’s not the plot. Half of that is true.
This does feature bank robbers, and they do steal Jeff Goldblum’s diamonds, but never do they come looking for them, in fact they really don’t come into play until the very end and only in an unsubstantial way. Hey, let me live and I’ll give you these diamonds. Ok.
I honestly would have liked this film more, if more was actually going on. Like have these side stories all taking place in this hotel for the injured criminals while a city wide riot is happening. Think Four Rooms but with a sci-fi twist.
What we got was okay, it wasn’t terrible, but I’d much rather prefer the plot that was in the trailer. Like that Colin Farrell movie Dead Man Down. You watch that trailer and it seems like this really cool revenge film of this abused woman blackmailing Colin Farrell, a hitman, in getting revenge for her. But you actually go and watch the movie, that isn’t the plot at all.
So what is the plot?
The year is 2028 and LA is erupting into violence over water shortages. The perfect time to stage a bank heist. A bank heist that turns to shit, seeing as they can’t get the stupid vault door open. So instead of robbing the vault, they decide to rob the people in the bank.
If a riot is taking place, all the rich are going to want to store their valuables somewhere, right? Most of the people at the bank were there to drop off their rich boss’s goodies. Mixed in with the crowd, a currier working for the Wolf King, the mob boss that runs this city.
You steal from him, you end up in the river.
But like I said, stealing the diamonds has no bearing on the plot.
While exiting the bank, the robbers get shot at by the police, killing one and injuring the rest.
Thankfully, they are members to Hotel Artemis, a service that will patch you up. Not only is this a good place to get worked on, but it’s a good way to stay off the streets, away from the rioting and the police who might be after you.
Now, no one is this has any names, just aliases you get when you check into the hotel. Our two bank robbers are Waikiki and his brother Honolulu, who you might recognize if you watch Atlanta.
Honolulu is hurt bad, being shot several times, one bullet damaging his kidney. They have a cool 3D printer that can print out anything, but it doesn’t do you much good if the sample it is copying is poisoned with drugs like Honolulu’s is.
One thing that seemed slightly noticeable to me is that this film seems to have chunks of it missing. Maybe not giant chunks but clearly I think stuff was cut out of this to make that 90 minute runtime.
There’s a third survivor of the bank heist, he was nicked in the neck and came with the others for medical help, but if you don’t have a membership, they won’t let you in. it was unclear if he was a member or not, he has a scar on his wrist where they place the entry chip. Either way, it isn’t registering him as a member, so no access for him.
Bautista shows up as Everest and has to forcibly escort him outside. You’d think maybe this character might come into play later. Maybe he pops back up to get revenge on the other bank robbers that left him to die. Nope, we never see him again, he just vanishes from the movie.
There are a lot of incidences where characters vanish from the film but then suddenly pop back up again out of nowhere, like with Zachary Quinto’s character, playing Wolf King’s son.
Also staying at this hotel room are two others. First on the list, Charlie Day’s character Acapulco, since that’s the name of the room he paid for, that’s his alias. He is there to be treated for having half his face clawed off. It is heavily implied that he might be a serial rapist aside from being a weapons dealer.
The other guest is Nice, pronounced Niece. She’s played by Sofia Boutella. The last time I saw her she was getting freaky with Charlize Theron in Atomic Blonde.
Nice is an assassin, she purposely injured herself to get to the hotel. She has a target she needs to kill there.
Obviously my first thought was she was here to kill Charlie Day’s character. Four Rooms style I thought maybe this was the other story happening. But no, her assignment is actually the Wolf King. I guess maybe she attacked him earlier, leaving him in pretty bad condition, just so she could finish the job at the hotel.
This was another thing that seems slightly cut for time. She was hired to kill the Wolf King from what seems like a rival gang. The one paying her wants her to do it up close and personal so they can jerk off to the image of her slicing Wolf King’s throat open.
She has a camera in her eye.
All of this amongst a city wide riot. It was a good plot device to keep our characters in on place.
I wrote a script with a friend once, alien monsters take over a small restaurant, the problem however was keeping everyone inside the restaurant when they could easily just walk out.
Because of the city in turmoil it makes for a great backdrop and an easy way to isolate our characters in one location. Now after some thought, I’ve come to the conclusion that I just don’t like contained thrillers. They’re usually never any good. And since Phone Booth, they’ve all just been… well, Phone Booth.
It’s a very limited genre and one I’m growing more and more bored with.
I wasn’t bored with Hotel Artemis, but the cheap budget started to shine through a bit. At times I questioned why this was even being shown in theaters. Clearly no one wanted to see this but me and like 2 other people.
The real lead is Jodie Foster as The Nurse. If she was the nurse, then who was the doctor? Then I remembered that the high-tech machines do all the actual medical surgeries in this place, even removing bullets.
The machines are the doctor. Jodie Foster mostly just goes around handing out pain meds and closing up reopened wounds.
She’s agoraphobic, never stepping foot outside. Her anxiety I think must have been triggered by her son dying a few years back of an apparent drug overdose.
She’s already got a lot to deal with at the hotel, but now she has the Wolf King wanting a room, a riot outside and an injured cop at her doorstep wanting help.
Not to mention the power keeps cutting out.
Again back to Four Rooms, The Nurse dealing with this injured lady cop who knew her son when they were kids could have been her story.
The film was ripe with potential. I’m just not sure it really lived up to it.
After Nice slits the Wolf King’s throat, all hell breaks loose. Wolf King’s son and his goons smash their way into the hotel, looking to kill everyone. The Nurse and Waikiki manage to sneak out the back way while Nice and Everest stay behind to fight off the invaders.
I loved how Bautista keeps pointing out to everyone he’s a healthcare professional either before or after he’s about to beat the shit out of someone.
I’m sure everyone pointed out the similarities to the hotel in John Wick. Hell, I think they’re even doing either a tv series or spinoff film of just the hotel all the assassins stayed in.
It does separate itself from their idea enough that I don’t think anyone will yell plagiarism after seeing the film. Hell, you might love this movie. I’m slightly more lukewarm on it. I think I might have to give this one a RENT IT rating.
I really can’t say you need to see this in theaters. A film like this you might like better if you see it at home on demand.
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