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When her parents are killed by the Emir, in a double homicide, Sawa is taken in by Aker, her father’s old partner. In a world where the final financial collapse has turned the streets into a war between the powerful crime cartels and the cops, trying to hold together some semblance of civilisation, Sawa is not content to blend into the background. With Aker's help, and the weapons he supplies her, Sawa goes in search of the Emir, to exact her revenge. But can she reach her intended victim with both the cops and the criminals closing in...?
Kite (2014. 1 hr, 29 min, 43 sec) is a live action remake of Yasuomi Umetsu’s anime film of the same name; the movie was directed by Ralph Ziman.
For any of you familiar with the original anime film, this version has been substantially whitewashed to remove some of the more questionable aspects. Sawa, although portrayed as young, is no longer of school age nor is she forced to live as a sex slave. While this may make it more palatable for western audiences, it does remove some of the motivation for her obsession in stopping the Emirs illegal flesh trade. Also the action has been relocated from Japan to South Africa.
Sawa is ably played by India Eisley, and although this revenge flick gives her little depth to play with, that does not stop her being effective in the film's many violent action sequences. Odd that the level of uber violence displayed in the film was thought to be acceptable, but not the sexual elements of the original.
The film is given some legitimacy with the inclusion of Samuel L. Jackson as Aker, Sawa's dead father's ex-partner, not that the script gives him much in the way to do. It’s an odd element of the film that he would allow his slightly built ward to cut a bloody swath through the cities low life’s instead of either dissuading her that it would be a bad move, or to use the full force of the police to do the same. More questionably is his agreement to inject her with a drug, Amp, which removes memories of her killing sprees, but also of her parents. And then the penny drops and the end of the film becomes predictably obvious.
The film's biggest fault is that it offers nothing new, young girl bent on revenge for the death of her parents has been covered a number of times, most notably in Leon (1994) and Kickass (2010), the problem is that although in its colourful images, violence and stylistic visuals it has much in common with the anime, it does not have the original's bite or the wit or tenderness of the previous two films. In the end what we have is formulaic.
The film is presented with two audio tracks 5.1 DTS-HD MA, the preferred option for an action flick, and a reasonable DD 2.0. The visuals are clean and, in the scenes where Sawa is dressed in vibrant colours, striking. The only extra on the disc is the film’s original theatrical trailer (1 min, 54 sec).
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