Set in the near-future and against the backdrop of a riot-hit LA, Drew Pearce’s debut feature introduces us to whiskey shot-pounding The Nurse (Jodie Foster), who runs the titular members-only safe haven that provides medical care for criminals. Her establishment has stringent rules and as the night goes on, all hell breaks loose and a fight for survival begins. The pulpy and déjà-vu plot is close to disposable here, as the main focus are the thrills that should decry from a single-location setup with tempers broiling up to the surface. Disappointingly, Hotel Artemis only manages to be a passably entertaining dystopian actioner. Its disparate elements never come together to create a truly satisfying whole, and many of the flamboyant action sequences tend to fizzle out. By the end of it, it reminded me of Joe Carnahan’s Smoking Aces, where several gun-toting scallywags also converge on a similar location. And the underseen 2006 flick is a much better version of this film.
It’s still great to see Jodie Foster back on the big screen – this is her first role since 2013’s Elysium – and both Dave Bautista and Sofia Boutella are as watchable as ever. However, the impressive cast feel wasted (much like the well-designed locations) and Jeff Goldblum’s kingpin The Wolf King is criminally underused. That said, it’s a minor role that is not as patronising or audience-baiting as his brief stint in the recent Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, so there are small mercies to be thankful for.
Hotel Artemis | Directed by Drew Pearce (US, 2018), with Jodie Foster, Sofia Boutella, Dave Bautista, Sterling K. Brown. Starts July 26.
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