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"Kite": Sometimes Anime Is Too Anime to Become Real 

Tuesday, Oct 7 2014
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Everything about Ralph Ziman's Kite is just off, perhaps owing to the fact that it was supposed to be David R. Ellis's Kite, a remake of Yasuomi Umetsu's controversial anime. Ellis died during preproduction, and his Snakes on a Plane star Samuel L. Jackson stayed on (probably due to both loyalty and the paycheck), but he never seems engaged with the material. Jackson can hardly be blamed, since it's equally difficult for the audience to be engaged in this sloppy story of a pouty-lipped young woman named Sawa (India Eisley) who, in a crime-ridden, post-societal-collapse city comprised largely of Johannesburg's grimier back alleys, seeks vengeance for the death of her parents with the help of her father's former police partner (Jackson), while trying to undermine the city's human trafficking trade. Kite is unrelentingly ugly, a universe of grubby grays smeared with camera filters and smoke machines. There are attempts to make the red elements in Sawa's many hooker outfits thematically relevant, but it just evokes The Spirit, which doesn't help. The ultraviolent fight scenes aren't even all that entertaining, and the cognitive dissonance of Kite trying to make Sawa look as fuckable as possible while she battles sexual slavery isn't empowering. Instead, it just comes across as wrong, like the rest of the movie.

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Sherilyn Connelly

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