Pretty vacant: 'Hotel Artemis' is far from a perfect holiday

Sterling K. Brown and Jodie Foster in "HOTEL ARTEMIS." (Matt Kennedy/Global Road Entertainment)

"Hotel Artemis"
2.5 out of 5 Stars
Drew Pearce
Writer: Drew Pearce
Starring: Jodie Foster, Sofia Boutella, Dave Bautista
Genre: Action, thriller
Rated: R for violence and language throughout, some sexual references and brief drug use

SALT LAKE CITY (KUTV) - Synopsis: A nurse operates a special hotel in the heart of Los Angeles that caters to criminals in need of medical attention.

Review: In the near future, the distribution of water is privatized. Shortages lead to riots in Los Angeles. Using the chaos as a distraction, a man, his brother and two hired guns attempt to cut their way into a bank vault without success. Forced to flee with only what they could fleece from the customers inside the bank, the thieves look to disappear within the crowd of protesters, but find themselves in a shootout with police. Cut down to three, the thieves flee for a secret hotel where membership provides a haven and off-the-radar medical care.

The fear going into “Hotel Artemis” was that it would feel like a stripped back version of The Continental Hotel featured in “John Wick” (which itself is going to be a television series). There certainly are similarities, but “Hotel Artemis” is so tied to one location that we never really get much of a glimpse of the bigger picture.

The film also completely misses the point of what made The Continental Hotel interesting in the first place. In the world of "John Wick," the hotel is an oasis where the lawless respected the establishment’s rules or else. It purposefully goes against the argument that there is no honor among thieves.

In "Hotel Artemis" there are rules, but over the course of the film they are all broken. There’s nothing particularly interesting about a place where people who break rules continue to break rules. What starts out as an interesting premise quickly devolves into a home invasion movie that asks you to sympathize with serial criminals.

There are some good performances, particularly Jodie Foster’s turn as am agoraphobic nurse who is still tormented by the death of her son some 20 years earlier. Sofia Boutella gets a couple of great scenes, particularly a hallway fight sequence.

“Hotel Artemis” is fundamentally flawed by its premise. Its cast tries to elevate the material, but there’s only so much they can do.

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