From its plot to its betrayal and villains, Netflix’s Kate is effectively a remake of Jason Statham’s Crank.
WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Kate, now streaming on Netflix.
Netflix’s Kate focuses on Mary Elizabeth Winstead as the title character, an assassin who’s got one day to live after being poisoned in Japan. She goes on a mission of personal revenge, hoping to find a cure and who did this to her, but as the journey evolves, it becomes clear that Kate is basically a remake of Jason Statham’s Crank. In it, Statham’s Chev wants to leave the hitman life behind, hoping to retire and forge a life with his girlfriend Eve in Los Angeles. Kate’s on a similar path, as she wants to retire from Varrick’s (Woody Harrelson) assassin unit because she, like Chev, never really had that sense of family.
The bigger comparison, though, comes with their missions. Chev doesn’t finish a job against Don Kim, a Triad gangster, which leads to his own boss, Carlito, creating a plan with Ricky Verona to kill Chev so they can forge a new empire together. This move can pacify their Chinese rivals and get rid of Chev, who wasn’t going to be useful after retirement. He makes for the perfect scapegoat, which is why Verona poisons him so that once his adrenaline gets low, he’ll die. It’s why he engages in drugs, public sex, random violence and a whole lot of gory drama; to keep his blood pumping and body charged.
Kate tweaks things a bit but the premise is the same. She gets poisoned, botches a hit against the Yakuza boss, Kijima, and then has to find the agents that did this to her, only to discover, like Chev, that there’s no cure. And much like Crank, the truth is her own boss sees her as expendable due to her retirement plans and betrays her. Varrick ends up working a coup too, partnering with Renji to get rid of Kate so they can kill Kijima and take the Yakuza for themselves.
As for Kate’s adrenaline level, she has to use special medical injections from a serum she’s made that gives her extra hours to ensure she doesn’t expire within the time window. It’s akin to an EpiPen, as opposed to Chev needing extreme events to stay alive. But make no mistake, Kate’s rage, her kills and her overall need to shed blood is indeed on Crank‘s level, making them kindred spirits in the war to survive.
Last but not least, the alliances that the heroes in their respective movies form stand out. Don Kim returns, as Chev didn’t kill the gangster, using his army to help Chev take out Carlito and Verona. It shows that sometimes, fate has weird ways of working out for assassins, which Kate laps up too. When she gets the second chance to kill Kijima, she actually doesn’t, as he reveals what Varrick and Renji did.
Knowing Kate was used as a pawn to kill his brother, Kentaro, and weaken the Yakuza, Kijima provides an army for her to kill Renji and Varrick. And just like the final scene in Crank implies Chev’s walking a fine line between life and death as he falls from a chopper to the ground, Kate‘s final scene shows her heartbeat fading after the mission, leaving a very small possibility that she might be alive.
To see how much it rips from Crank, Kate is now streaming on Netflix.
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Kate Is a Clone of Jason Statham’s Crank