While watching “Hotel Artemis,” it is difficult not to think that its setting isn’t more prediction of fact than fiction. In “Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation” writer Drew Pearce’s directorial debut, it is 2028 Los Angeles, and water is at a premium. When the Clearwater Corporation cuts off the supply to the city, riots start to break out and crime starts to rise. When a bank heist goes wrong, brothers, played by Sterling K. Brown and “Atlanta” co-star Brian Tyree Henry flee to the title establishment, whose penthouse level is now a secret, members-only hospital for those who require care outside of the eyes of the law. Each “member” is known only by the suite name that becomes their hospital room to maintain some form of anonymity as the Nurse (Jodie Foster) and her assistant, Everest (Dave Bautista), tend to the wounded as best they can with the equipment they can muster up. Add to the fray an assassin played by Sophia Boutella, an arms dealer played by Charlie Day, a crime lord and his son, and did I mention a wounded cop (which is against the rules), and it’s gonna be a long night.
If this review is the only thing you read about this film, then you are better off. I went into it as cold as I could possibly go and found it to have some cool surprises. This is nothing short of a pure popcorn movie with action, attitude, and a level of cheesiness that is just right. Foster is as enjoyable to watch as she always is with her first film in five years. Her character has some levels to it, but not too much to bog down the rest of what is going on in the hotel. Yes, this film is pretty much HER story, but at the same time this is a bit of an ensemble piece as well. Bautista continues to impress me as his career progresses, taking roles that may not stretch him to his limits but still gives him an opportunity to grow and show a bit more depth in his emotional range. His Everest does play to his strengths of rage and power, but there is a bit of a soft spot that he has when it comes to the Nurse that shines through as well.
There will be a level of discord from people as it pertains to Day, but his character is so wonderfully over the top that anyone that feels that this is trying to make him a super tough guy is completely missing the point. His character is one of those guys that became who he is simply because he thought that this was the only way to get the respect he feels he deserves, not realizing that he is still the same sniveling idiot that even money cannot change. And hey, kids: Sterling K. Brown gets through this whole thing without crying! I think.
Combining the concept of the hotel in the “John Wick” films with a taste of “The Purge” and just plain fun, “Hotel Artemis” is a film that I found myself enjoying more than I thought I would. Take into account here that I was very much looking forward to seeing it to begin with, and that should reveal how good this film really is!