Hot Take: Hotel Artemis is proof it takes more than a strong cast, interesting characters and original premise to deliver an entertaining film. Somehow with all those assets, this dystopian action flick is dull and goes nowhere. You’d think it would take more to get Jodie Foster back on the big screen after a five year absence.
Everything is there for Hotel Artemis to deliver a good cinematic experience. Everything except a solid, interesting script or a plot you might actually care about. Despite an excellent cast including the return of Jodie Foster to the big screen after a half decade absence, Sterling K. Brown, Dave Bautista, Sofia Boutella, Jeff Goldblum, Zachary Quinto and Charlie Day and a competent dystopian premise, a complete and utter disaster of a script that can’t seem to figure out who or what it is about makes 94 minutes feel twice as long and offers almost nothing memorable to hang it’s hat on. Okay, maybe there’s one fight sequence that’s worth re-watching (and due to the spoiler free nature of this review, I can’t divulge any details) but outside of that brief glimpse of excellence, Hotel Artemis is a wasted opportunity.
Even though Hotel Artemis was a disappointment, there were some positives to take out of it. First, please give Sofia Boutella more to do. Although her role is on the smaller side in Hotel Artemis as Nice, an international assassin and former lover of Brown’s Sherman/Waikiki who is essentially the main character of the film, Boutella steals every scene she is in and the character is good enough to warrant her own film. But since most of that is likely due to Boutella, her own action vehicle is good enough without keeping this character going. Also, Bautista as Everest continues to prove that his decision to move on from wrestling was a wise one. There’s also the premise. Hotel Artemis takes place in the future and features a hotel converted into a hospital for criminals and only accessible by membership. The premise would have worked better if there wasn’t so much other noise within the premise to water down the focus.
On the flip side, there’s Foster as “The Nurse” who seemingly should be the star but whose character basically spins its wheels for 90 minutes and goes nowhere. While Foster might have the most screen time, the character’s lack of development makes it unfair to call her the star of the film. There’s also something about Goldblum’s appearance in the film that appears to be more caricature than character as sometimes a Jeff Goldblum appearance can end up being.
In the end, Hotel Artemis adds up to a missed opportunity. The idea of a secretive criminals-only hospital is a novel one (although very John Wick, if you spend too much time thinking about it). However, like the hospital, you’re not going to want to check in to this one for long and might find yourself checked out before this mess of an action flick reaches its conclusion.