At first glance you might think Hotel Artemis takes place within the John Wick universe. You’d be wrong, but the films do share quite a bit. In John Wick criminals can go to the Continental Hotel to seek safe passage in a time of crisis. The Hotel Artemis serves the same purpose except that it’s a hospital, not a real hotel. When a criminal is injured and in need of immediate attention, they check-in at the Artemis as a safe place to get their injuries treated. That’s about where the similarities end between Hotel Artemis and John Wick, but both are thoroughly entertaining films. Let’s take a closer look in our full Hotel Artemis review.
If you’re a fan of John Wick, there’s an easy way to explain how Hotel Artemis differs. John Wick focuses on the assassin as the main character, while Hotel Artemis would be the equivalent of a John Wick movie that focused on Charon (Lance Reddick), the hotel manager. The star of Hotel Artemis is The Nurse (Jodie Foster). She carries the movie on her shoulders as you follow her from room to room, and situation to situation.
The film kicks off with massive clean water riots in Los Angeles, the most violent riots in the history of the city. It’s the year 2028 and technology has advanced considerably. Waikiki (Sterling K. Brown) and his brother, Honolulu (Brian Tyree Henry) are involved in a robbery that goes south, leaving them scrabbling to get to the Artemis. Once inside, they meet Nice (Sofia Boutella), Acapulco (Charlie Day) and Everest (Dave Bautista), and things begin to escalate.
Hotel Artemis runs a brisk 93 minutes, which doesn’t give it a lot of time to develop a plot. There’s enough action and craziness to keep an audience invested, but the plot and character development suffer for it. By the end of the film you’ll feel for many of the characters, but if you stop to think about things, even for a moment, it all falls apart. That’s not to say Hotel Artemis is a bad film. It has a plethora of things going for it from the action sequences, to the acting, to the unique characters that are all intertwined. But you can’t help but feel there’s a lot more to be discovered here if only the movie was 30 minutes longer.
With the short runtime everything feels a bit rushed. There’s build up to important reveals that aren’t given time to sink in because the film has already moved on to the next bit of insanity. There are long-running relationships here that are never truly explored, or in one instanced the film comes to a screeching halt as it dives into a back story, only to rev back up to full speed moments later. It all works, but instead of the greatness of a film like John Wick, we end up with a decent film that could’ve been so much more.
Assuming Hotel Artemis does well, there’s plenty of setup for a sequel. However, with such strong performances from Jodie Foster, Dave Bautista and Sterling K. Brown in particular, they would need to bring all three back to get the same chemistry (and hopefully a longer runtime). As it stands, Hotel Artemis is a lot of fun, even if it falls a bit short of greatness.
About Hotel Artemis
Synopsis: Set in riot-torn, near-future Los Angeles, ‘Hotel Artemis’ follows the Nurse, who runs a secret, members-only emergency room for criminals.
Director: Drew Pearce
Writer: Drew Pearce
Stars: Jodie Foster, Sofia Boutella, Dave Bautista
Runtime: 1 Hour, 33 Minutes