HOTEL ARTEMIS (2018, streaming on Netflix) is a sci-fi action flick powered by a fantastic cast and equally good world-building that keep the PULP FICTION and comic-bookish stuff from getting too silly. I had fun with it.
In the year 2028, water has been privatized, and Los Angelinos are rioting over Clearwater Corporation turning off the water over much of the city. I thought this was a compelling story on its own as yeah, that’s where American capitalism is headed, but the story zeroes in on a bank robbery that goes awry. This leads the wounded robbers to the Hotel Artemis, a secret hospital set up for criminals. Here, Nurse Thomas (Jodi Foster) and her orderly Everest (Dave Bautista) treat criminals, but only if they follow the rules. The only problem is one of the guests is a deadly assassin (Sofia Boutella, who is so athletic and graceful you totally believe she could stomp an unlimited quantity of ass), the riots are closing in, and a wounded kingpin mob boss The Wolf (Jeff Goldblum being Jeff Goldblum, though we love it) is on the way. Everybody is on an explosive collision course.
The result is good fun. Between the riots and the hospital itself, the world-building is terrific. The acting is great, with the A listers leaning into their B-movie roles and having a good time. Some of the characterizations are fairly strong, such as Nurse Thomas and Everest, whom I kind of wished had been the sole focus of the movie. The rest is connect-the-dots plot stuff with comic-bookish characters, not quite phoned in but utterly familiar with the characters shoved bodily across the dots.
Overall, it’s not a super memorable movie, but I went into it with fair expectations, and I did enjoy it quite a bit for what I got. Check it out with a bowl of popcorn for some good, plain fun.