Netflix’s 24 Hours to Live thriller misfires.

The set-up for “Kate” sounds flimsy. Mary Elizabeth Winstead plays an assassin, who gets poisoned and has 24 hours to live, which should give her enough time to find her killer before she goes out. It sounds like something out of those bad Nicolas Cage movies from the 2000s.

The action is wall-to-wall, as the assassin named Kate (duh) stabs and shots her opponents, and there’s even a car chase that looks stupid funny, because it basically splices “Fast and Furious” with “Speed Racer.” The car glows on the inside, and racing through the streets of Tokyo, CGI effects and maybe some stunt vehicles are provided, especially when it crashes.

The acting is decent enough. That most pertains to Winstead, who does a solid job at portraying an assassin, who has nothing to lose, and is willing to take no prisoners. And also with Woody Harrelson as her mentor Varrick or “V” as she calls him. Yes, his betrayal is predictable, but at least, he’s got the right attitude.

The use of child actresses is generic and crass. Newcomer Miku Martineau plays Ani, the preteen daughter of one of Kate’s past targets, who often calls her a “cancer bitch.” Her family is now after her, and begs Kate to protect her. She responds “Not my problem.” Ani says: “I’ll be dead in the morning,” while Kate responds: “You and me both.”

But being the movie cliche, Kate comes around, and Ani helps her battle the bad guys, who may or may not know where the man who poisoned her is.

“Kate” was directed by Cedric Nicholas-Troyan, whose previous entry was the sequel “The Huntsman: Winter’s War.” Both of these films are less than compelling, because they have to feature flat scripts and characters, who are more or less routine. They have to follow the rules of better or worse action films, and they don’t seem to take risks. They just have to preside on fights, kills, and effects to make sure these top paid actors don’t get scratches on them.

It was also produced by the usually talented David Leitch. I think Nicholas-Troyan needs a lecture from him about how original action movies are supposed to be made. It’s a similar case with Lisa Joy lacking the Christopher Nolan magic in “Reminiscence,” and both of these respective directors are students of the masters.

Maybe I did smile when Kate says “boo” to a henchmen, and he falls while naked men laugh at him in the bathroom/locker room. And maybe if I go back to look at the “Fast & Furious” meets “Speed Racer” police pursuit, I might laugh. But I wouldn’t even recommend “Kate” to myself.

There’s barely anything fresh or interesting, unless you count a recurring situation when Kate’s favorite drink is Boom Boom Lemon, which she can’t get in a woman’s house or a restaurant or a convenient store. She prefers that to be her final drink, before the poison kills her. I think Harrelson’s Twinkie hunt in “Zombieland” was funnier.

This isn’t a terrible movie; it’s just an unnecessary one made for Netflix. I wonder what else is on.

Rating: 2 out of 4.

Now Playing in Select Theaters and Streaming on Netflix Tomorrow

Categories: Action, Adventure, Crime, Drama, Thriller

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