Some films manage to take a low budget and use it to their advantage, finding interesting and innovative ways to get around the fact they don’t have much cash and still deliver a full and complete film experience. Sadly Kite is not one of those films. It thinks it is, but it really isn’t.
The movie follows young Sawa (India Eisley) who lives in a scummy, corrupt post-apocalyptic future where she ruthlessly tries to hunt down the people who killed her parents, helped by her father’s ex-partner, Karl (Samuel L. Jackson). Things begin to change when she meets someone she knew as a child – although she can’t remember him due to the fact that the drugs she takes to help her be a single-minded and very successful killer blur her memory of the past.
Based on the classic Anime, Kite may have a great source but it’s a bit of a disaster in translation. The plot is confused and what there is doesn’t really hang together. The only things that do are pretty obvious if you give it even the tiniest bit of thought, which most people will realise the moment the properties of the drugs are mentioned.
The result is that it essentially becomes a series of fight scenes where even those paying attention might often be wondering exactly why this teenage girl is killing these people in as many gruesome ways as she can muster. Indeed I got the distinct impression that somebody saw Hit Girl in Kick-Ass and decided they essentially wanted to make a movie that was just her for 90-minutes. Sadly though it lacks the style and humour that made that character work and so here it often largely comes across as unpleasant.
Indeed the movie’s lack of style becomes an increasing issue as it goes along. All the cash has gone into the action, but that leaves the world it exists in feeling anaemic and under-realised. Only about 30 people seem to exist in the movie’s entire universe, and even the locations are utterly disconnected from each other, which underlines the sensation that this is a series of action scenes more than a movie. Even Samuel L. Jackson’s presence seems more calculated to allow his scenes to be shot in just a few days, rather than ensuring the film has what it needs to make that character work.
All in all, it’s a bit rubbish.
Overall Verdict: After years of talking about turning Kite into a film, the resulting movie shows that they shouldn’t have bothered.
Reviewer: Tim Isaac