Monday, January 6, 2014

Kite Anime to Film Update with New Trailer Starring Samuel L. Jackson

Kite is an anime movie (consolidated from an OVA - original video animation) from the 1990s which became a cult classic due to its graphic violence and fusion of hentai with an intense psychological thriller focusing on a teenage assassin.  Check out my review of the anime here.  Kite's film rights were picked up by The Weinstein Company and a movie has been in the works for the past two years.

India Eisley as Sawa

The original director attached to the film was David R. Ellis of Snakes on a Plane fame.  Unfortunately he passed away almost exactly one year ago while filming Kite.  Picking up where he left off is director Ralph Ziman known for The Zookeeper.

Samuel L. Jackson as Detective Akai
Any anime to film adaptation is inherently risky and Kite is no different.  It helps the story doesn't have any major science-fiction elements and is primarily action-oriented.  The tone and subject matter of the anime was really dark, especially Sawa's sexual abuse at the hands of both Akai and Kanie.  I don't think anyone can expect a truly faithful representation of the original story in a mainstream film.  The full-penetration hentai aside, the anime was extremely dark and woefully short with no real character development.  I would be happy to see a live-action film address all of the shortcomings of the anime, but when has that ever happened?  All right, maybe with Mortal Kombat, but it was based on a video game and doesn't count.


Based on the trailer I see a lot of bright colors (particularly Sawa's red hair) and some dark humor mixed into the action.  What is this - Spring Breakers?  The acrobatic thugs jumping around doing parkour and costumes look too silly to take seriously.  The action looks slick, but I'm more than a little worried it will be a campy mess.  Looks like a good send-up for the Smokin' Aces crowd.

Extended Trailer:

I got a better feeling from the short trailer vs. the extended one.  The story didn't make a lot of sense with the quick introduction of Oburi and reference to a drug called Emp.  The whole Emir thing wasn't in the anime, but I guess it's one way to explain why Sawa is killing.  Might pass on the film when it comes out and wait until it goes to streaming (as it inevitably will).