Jodie Foster is back on the big screen and spending some quality time with the criminal movers and shakers of a dystopian, near-future LA. It's all in a day's work for The Nurse, a whiskey-swilling hermit who - along with towering assistant Everest (Dave Bautista) - runs a ramshackle members-only hotel where the city's most notorious scoundrels can hole up and wait for the heat to die down. The latest arrival is Waikiki (This Is Us star Sterling K Brown), a sharp-dressing bank robber who joins bombshell assassin Nice (Sofia Boutella) and sleazebag arms dealer Acapulco (Charlie Day). Pulpy sci-fi fun also featuring Jeff Goldblum and Star Trek's Zachary Quinto.
Sterling K. Brown
Those in the market for some colourful B-movie thrills could do far worse than checking into the Hotel Artemis. The cult status it initially threatens never quite materialises, yet ceaseless forward momentum coupled with the charisma and comic timing of an immensely talented ensemble cast make for a solidly entertaining stay - especially when you're in and out in 90-odd minutes.
Drew Pearce (whose previous screenplay credits include franchise money-spinners Iron Man 3 and Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation) writes and directs, giving us the familiar dystopian sci-fi setting of a near-future LA locked in the vice-like grip of violent, city-wide riots.
High above the street-level chaos stands the Artemis, a crims-only safe house where paying members can lie low and/or have their injuries patched up by The Nurse (Jodie Foster) - treatment options include nanobot injections and a 3-D printer capable of knocking up a new liver. These hi-tech touches contrast nicely with the faded glory of the hotel's interiors, but it's the characters not the set design that hold your interest.
Dave 'Drax the Destroyer' Bautista is typically charming as the aptly named Everest, an orderly/bodyguard helping Foster keep tabs on a gaggle of disreputables brought to life by the likes of Sterling K Brown, Sofia Boutella and even the mighty Jeff Goldblum. The latter plays feared crime boss The Wolf King and has a ball needling the letdown of a son (Zachary Quinto) he dismissively dubs 'Captain Tryhard.'
Holding Artemis back is the lack of any real tension. An admirably committed Foster tries her damnedest to give the film a beating heart, but with so many subplots and schemes an attempt to flesh out her backstory gets lost in the shuffle. In Pearce's noisy and very crowded world room for emotional connection is seriously thin on the ground.