Last week, Anchor Bay entertainment released Kite to DVD, directed by Ralph Ziman and starring India Eisley, Callan McAuliffe and Samuel L. Jackson, this action flick is based loosely on the Japanese anime of the same name. I love an action flick with a strong ass-kicking female in the lead, so I happily signed up to watch this one.
I will say this for it, it makes me want to go out and hunt down the original film to see what that was like. There are things that work in this film, and things that don’t. The revenge driven plot centers on young Sawa (Eisley), who is intent on hunting down those responsible for the murder of her parents.
Set in the not so distant future, gangs have taken over, and Sawa’s cop father came up against someone known as The Emir (Zane Meas), a human trafficker who has his thugs scour the streets for young woman and girls to push into the business.
Sawa, almost ineptly goes after each link in the chain, leading to The Emir. I say ineptly, because it seems each and every action sequence sees her just escaping and emerging victorious seemingly by sheer luck. It’s kind of tough to believe that she’s survived as long as she has.
And that leads me to Ms. Eisley, herself, she seems out of her depth in this film, and unable to really carry an action sequence. That, combined with her, sad to say, questionable acting abilities, leaves the film sorely lacking a strong center, and consequently, the ending of the entire film is telegraphed long before it happens, and what could have been an enjoyable action film is relegated to an average flick.
I like most of Ziman’s shooting style, and the overall design of the film; if the plot had been padded out a little more, giving us more character moments, and a deeper plot, that coupled with a stronger lead may have made this an exceptional film. Instead it struggles to fill it’s barely hour and a half of screen time and you find yourself hoping Jackson shows up, as her father’s ex-partner, Karl Aker just to bring some excitement to the screen.
Then there’s the young man with a part, Oburi (McAuliffe), who seems completely misplaced here, he remains mostly unimportant until the last act when revelations start occurring.
I like the world the film has created, and the gangs, and yes, even some of the violence, and the thing I really liked is the international cast, literally. There’s a flurry of different accents in the film, suggesting a huge melting pot of a city, and that kind of thing appeals to me.
A stronger cast would have made this one a real winner, still, I’d be interested in hearing what you think about it, and if you’ve seen the original film. Opinion on this one seems divided, people only love it or hate it…
Kite is available now from Anchor Bay.