Jodie Foster’s new movie is a straight-up John Wick knock-off, and I do not care, it looks super fun. It’s called Hotel Artemis, and except for the near-future, vaguely dystopian setting, it might as well be called Hotel Continental. The Hotel Artemis runs on rules suspiciously similar to the Continental in the John Wick movies: Refuge for criminals with art deco styling, no weapons/killing on the premises, criminal overlords with dumb nicknames like “Bowery King” and “Wolf King”. The protagonist is even a guy who couldn’t quite manage to quit the criminal life. The likeness is striking, to say the least.
The cast was assembled from all the internet’s favorite things: Sterling K. Brown, Jeff Goldblum, Dave Bautista, Charlie Day, Jenny Slate, Zachary Quinto, Sofia Boutella, Atlanta’s Brian Tyree Henry. (Zero degrees of separation: Henry is currently starring on Broadway with Slate’s twice-ex, Chris Evans.) Headlining is Jodie Foster as the doctor—nurse?—who runs the secret criminal hospital in the hotel (AKA the Winston role). She is obviously having fun and I love that shot of her talking on the oversized phone receiver. This is the feature film directorial debut of screenwriter Drew Pearce (best known for writing Iron Man 3), and it looks solid. I mean, it looks like the 100% unquestionable John Wick knock-off that it is, but at least if you’re going to rip off a recent action movie, John Wick is the way to go. And there is that nice Cool Hand Luke visual reference, I feel like we haven’t seen that in a while.
As for the plot, it seems functional. Sterling K. Brown and his heist crew have to lay low at the Hotel Artemis, and a bad guy comes knocking because his pen containing diamonds has been stolen. It’s the good ol’ diamond pen heist plot, top-lined by Jodie Foster and her New York(???) accent, with a dash of The Raid in the whole “fight your way through a building” bit. Does Hotel Artemis look derivative? YES. Still looks cool, though.