“Hotel Artemis”, which I watched just for my inconsequential curiosity at last night, is a pretty familiar genre stuff for seasoned moviegoers like me. While I enjoyed its noirish mood and some solid performances from its engaging main cast members, I also discerned a number of pedestrian aspects at times, and it did not surprise me much on the whole even though I assumed that everyone in front of and behind the camera had a fun together in playing with numerous genre elements.
At the beginning, the screenplay by director/writer Drew Pearce quickly establishes its futuristic background set in LA, 2028. Due to the privatization of water supply in the city, millions of people in the city cannot get any water easily, and their resulting fury and frustration eventually lead to big riots here and there around the city, but that is not much of a concern for an old doctor named Jean Thomas (Jodie Foster), who has run a very exclusive hotel located somewhere in the city. Although it has a big neon sign on its rooftop, Hotel Artemis is actually only for a number of registered criminals, and Thomas and her loyal right-hand guy Everest (Dave Bautista) are always ready to help those criminals if they ever need any emergency medical care.
When Thomas is about to begin another day, everything looks mundane as usual in her heavily guarded insulated hotel, but then there comes an emergency to be handled by her and Everest. Two brother criminals, who are registered as Waikiki (Sterling K. Brown) and Honolulu (Brian Tyree Henry), hurriedly arrive in the hotel not long after committing a big bank robbery in the city, and Honolulu really needs a quick emergency treatment due to his serious gunshot injury.
Because the hotel has several state-of-the-art medical equipments including a 3D printer machine which can generate a vital human organ within a few hours (Don’t ask me how the hell that is possible), Honolulu’s urgent medical condition is swiftly handled, and now he needs some recuperation period, but, of course, he and his brother soon come to realize that they have a far bigger trouble. During their bank robbery, Honolulu happened to steal a certain small object, and that belongs to someone they should not mess with at any chance.
Meanwhile, we get to know a bit of two other current hotel guests: Nice (Sofia Boutella) and Acapulco (Charlie Day). Acapulco is your average jerk who thinks he is above everyone else because of his considerable wealth, and this annoying dude soon approaches to Nice without having no idea on what Nice, who happens to have some history with Waikiki, is capable of – and what she is planning to do right now.
And then the situation becomes more complicated as Thomas is subsequently notified on the arrival of another guest, who turns out to be a powerful crime lord who has allowed Thomas to manage the hotel for many years. While the goons working under this crime lord demand that Thomas should reserve the remaining one spot in the hotel in advance, but Thomas sticks to the rules of the hotel nevertheless, and that certainly generates the tension between her and one of the crime lord’s sons, a hot-tempered guy who is so eager to prove himself to his powerful daddy by any means necessary.
While Thomas and Everest become quite busier than expected, the movie throws another character into the story, and Thomas cannot possibly say no to this character’s desperate plea because this character turns out to be associated with an old painful past she has tried to look away for years. That means she will have to cross over several lines set around herself, and she is surprised to find that she can actually do that despite her fear and reluctance.
What follows next in the story is predictable to the care, but the movie is anchored by the diligent acting of Jodie Foster. While looking wearier and shabbier than usual, Foster conveys well to us her character’s strength and vulnerability, and she is particularly convincing when her character attempts be more active at one point later in the story. Even though well aware of the risks on that act of hers, Thomas simply follows her simple human decency, and Foster skillfully reminds us of what is being at stake for her character.
The other main cast members surrounding Foster dutifully fill their respective spots around her, and some of them have some juicy fun with their colorful characters. While Sofia Boutella is fabulous when her character comes to show more of her particular set of skills during the expected climactic part, Sterling K. Brown, David Bautista, and Jenny Slate provide extra gravitas to the story, and Jeff Goldblum is clearly enjoying every moment of his brief appearance. In case of Charlie Day, Brian Tyree Henry, and Zachary Quinto, they are mostly wasted in their thankless roles, and I must point out that Day often goes a little too far with his obnoxious character even though that is required to him from the start.
In conclusion, “Hotel Artemis” will instantly take you back to many other recent movies in its genre territory such as “John Wick” (2014) and its two sequels, but it does not distinguish itself enough despite having some style and mood to enjoy. I cannot recommend it, but I will not stop you if you just want to kill your free time on Sunday afternoon.