Whenever we think of femme fatale characters in cinema, perhaps among the top 5 with a bullet is Uma Thurman’s Bride from the Kill Bill franchise. Cold, calculative, and not afraid to spill blood like a fountain to finish her enemies and seek vengeance, the bride’s character has become the gateway for countless such femme fatales. These characters have proven time and again how vicious women can be when given a cause. Nina from Mateusz Rakowicz’s Mother’s Day is no different because she’s not going to stay down when someone she loves is in danger. Starring Agnieszka Grochowska as the protagonist Nina, aka Kikimora, this 2023 action/thriller hammers home that if you mess with a veteran’s son, you find yourself on Nina’s bad side.
From the get-go, Nina isn’t the one to back down from a fight, but she tries to avoid it as much as possible. She’s made quite an infamous reputation for herself among the shady stores she frequents in downtown Warsaw. Usually, people hightail it back home if they find a group of awfully tatted men with dyed hair messing with people in the dead of night, but not Nina. When she spots some thugs harassing two women, she doesn’t go in swinging but clears her throat and distracts the hoodlums so the women can escape. When the thugs surround her, she takes a lot of them down, sure, but she’s no superwoman and takes in a fair share of gut kicks. Apart from sipping beer and working as a crane operator, Nina frequently carries out an activity that’s not known to a lot of people: she spies on a family that adopted her own son Max. She has an acquaintance—a perpetually sweaty and greasy-looking cop who blows his nose loudly.
Things were not going well for her, but she was surviving until the very essence of her life seemed to have been taken away. Max was kidnapped, and she learned from the cop that, apparently, a Serbian mob boss named Dusan Dragan had put out a contract to kidnap Max so that he could kill the kid himself. This is supposed to be vengeance that can only be satisfied through blood, and now Nina has a purpose. Earlier, she got herself kicked by common urchins because she lacked some of the focus that’s needed to save one’s son from an unhinged international crime lord. We quickly see Nina come alive as the infamous Kikimora; she stabs, punches, kicks, snaps necks, and uses any and every tool in her vicinity to take down her opponents, but the best thing about her is that she’s using her head with each move. In a fraction of a second, she sees an incoming attack, deduces how to counter it, and, at the same time, takes down the attacker. Of course, on top of that, she has an unbelievably strong body. For a petite woman such as herself, it’s no surprise that the thugs don’t take her seriously initially; that is until she snaps their wrists or stabs them in the heads with corkscrews.
After an awful lot of skull-cracking and bone-breaking, Nina extracts her son Max and takes him to her safehouse, but despite all her fighting skills, she suffers from an immense paucity when it comes to expressing her emotions. She can only tell Max in short, curt phrases that he needs to calm down without explaining anything. When he manages to quieten a bit, she slowly explains how she and her father met and they had him, but that too in a very guarded manner. It’s not really Nina’s fault for not knowing how to react around the 17-year-old son she’s never interacted with before and is only now meeting with crazy thugs after them. The inability to express herself isn’t a shortcoming in her personality; she’s not had to be vulnerable around anyone for almost two decades now, so meeting her child and the immense motherly need to protect him is very sudden. After suffering a hellish punishment from the final boss named Voltometer and his roided-out underlings, Nina manages to take down all the enemies, but Max has taken off.
Nina makes it to Max’s adopted family and collapses from her injuries, but the first thing she thinks of upon coming back to her senses is checking for her son. She now has to recover Voltometer’s looted wealth that some masked Polish policemen have taken away, and she eventually finds herself on the floor before her cop acquaintance and his corrupted buddies. As it turns out, there was no Dusan Dragan after all, and it was a ploy by the cop and his buddies to have Nina eliminate the thugs so that they could raid Voltometer’s loot. Thanks to her superb killing prowess, she finishes all the other cops but doesn’t kill the acquaintance because he insists that he did it for his daughter. Realizing that she’s killed countless people to save her son and that she’s not very different from the cop from a moral standpoint, she walks away. Nina returns Max to his adoptive family and, while walking away, breaks down in tears. It’s the first time we see Nina cry with such emotions, but it’s only us because she’s incapable of showing emotions in front of others. It might have been the military training that’d hardwired her this way. After some time, she’s alone at her apartment when Max arrives, and he hugs her, leaving her a little confused, but she hugs him back. Being a stranger to receiving affection, receiving a hug from her son for the first time in 17 years surprised her a bit. While eating quietly because they’re still awkward around each other, there’s a knock on the door, and Nina opens the door to her mother. Kikimora Sr. alerts her daughter that there’s trouble brewing because of the carnage Nina has left in her wake, but things can be handled better now that Max’s grandmother is here. We can see where Nina gets a personality like cold steel, and it might not be long before we see Nina brandish a fresh series of thrashing to thugs if Mother’s Day 2 comes out.