Hotel Artemis ★★½

A great cast and interesting premise couldn't lift Hotel Artemis above its somewhat sloppy execution and thin plot.

I love the concept of this movie. Written and directed by Drew Pearce, the film takes place in a near future where water has been privatized and has led to high levels of crime and riots in Los Angeles. But the story never elaborates much on any of that, opting instead to give us a side story about a hospital where criminals go to patch themselves up and lay low. And lay low they do indeed as the world is crumbling around them, as the vast majority of the action takes place in this single setting.

The film feels like two competing ideas; one super cool near-future sci fi concept that's relevant to modern day concerns, and one lazy, tacked on John Wick clone with a fraction of the budget and no concern for the crisp action and expert worldbuilding that makes those movies work. It's as if Drew Pearce (or whatever studio executive meddled with his script) saw John Wick and decided to make a movie like that but forgot to call the choreographer, or didn't invest enough time in trying to convince us about why this world exists.

Instead, Hotel Artemis is a lazy, forgettable excuse for a good array of actors to put on fun costumes and do accents that don't really make sense for near-future Los Angeles. Almost everyone in this movie is having fun and chewing the scenery. Except for the star, Sterling K. Brown, who sleepwalks his way through this movie so hard you can almost feel him rubbing his nose against a script he deems below his skill but probably offered him a lot of money. I love SKB, but you can tell he didn't give a shit about this movie, while everyone else at least put some effort in to make it fun.

Those performances are what save this movie from being a forgettable disaster. Instead it's something I'd recommend as a Netflix watch or a rental in six months.