The amount of movies these days that begin with a dystopian world running out of resources is becoming so common, you think that someone in Hollywood had an agenda. Hotel Artemis is the latest film set in a dystopian nightmare. The city of Los Angeles is in complete peril because corporations have taken control of the city’s water supply and turned it off because…corporations are evil and that’s what they do and Karl Marx was right or something. At a local underground hospital for criminals called Hotel Artemis, nurse Jean Thomas (Jodie Foster) is running a tight ship until one night the wrong criminals meet up at the wrong time and all hell breaks loose. It’s up to Jean and her orderly (Dave Bautista) to keep everything together while an incoming riot and her crime syndicate boss come knocking at her door.
To say this film was disappointing is an understatement. Hotel Artemis is a film that wants to have a message but has no idea what it actually wants to be. The film is littered with political undertones on many left-wing issues like privatization, gun crimes, class warfare (because if you are rich, you are likely an asshole), police brutality, hell the film even adds Charlie Day to the cast to be a typical sexist xenophobic American. So many undertones, it took me about 30 minutes to realize that this film really doesn’t have a story. The setup is basically a bunch of criminals end up at the wrong place at the wrong time. But you have to wonder that in three years, how has this problem of overbooking patients and criminals who hate each other not happened up until this point?
Dave Bautista is the standout and steals every scene that he is in. His chemistry with Jodie Foster’s character who is dealing with extreme anxiety after a personal loss keeps the film entertaining but sadly there isn’t much outside of that. What you have is a film that either drops the ball on many ideas or simply don’t give them the time they need to grow given it’s less than 90-minute runtime. Set in the future only 10 years from present day, the Hotel has some nice medical robotics, but you don’t get any other feeling of a futuristic Los Angeles. The cinematography is very dark and there is little to no life visually on-screen. Characters played by Zachary Quinto and Jenny Slate really don’t offer anything to the story for as much time as we spend on them. Then you have, the more questionable scenes like Sofia Boutella being able to take out dozens of the biggest criminal in Los Angeles bodyguards in hand to hand combat.
Hotel Artemis is a film that models itself on the groundwork of other films like John Wick and Smoking Aces, but director and writer Drew Pearce misses the mark on a story that lacks substance and excitement. It may not be a remake, a reboot, or a sequel but sadly it won’t be very memorable when it’s all said and done.