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Fantasia Film Festival 2014: Kite Review by Panagiotis Drakopoulos

I remember watching the original Kite anime movie/OVA twelve years ago. After first viewing, it was something exciting and breathtaking but after multiple viewings the anime is average at best. The animation and action scenes were excellent and violence was over the top and fun, but everything else was okay. The story and characters were pretty model after Luc Besson's Nikita film, with very creepy rape scenes thrown in the anime.

For almost a decade the live action film adaption of Kite went many different pre-production and filming changes throughout the years. But finally after this long wait I was able to watch the screening of Ralph Ziman's Kite last night Fantasia. I have to admit that the live action film of Kite is better and surpasses the anime. The original anime takes place in modern Japan, while the film takes place in a world where the banks and society have fallen apart, where crime is king. The film follows a young woman  named Sawa (India Eisley), is a ruthless assassin with a strong thirst for revenge after the man who killed her parents when she was just a child. Karl Aker (Samuel L. Jackson) who was the ex-partner of her father, helps Sawa in her quest for revenge.

Kite is a good film with the filmmakers paying homage to the original source material and expanse on the source material. The action scenes were great and were lifted frame by frame from the original anime. The acting was good, the actors respected the material and they were good performances throughout the film. But there were a couple of times where the dialogue felt cringeworthy and there was a couple of bad CGI shots in film, almost comical but it didn't drag the film down. The film had a better and hopeful ending compared to the anime and removed all of the creepy rape scenes of Sawa from the anime. This film feels like the first X-Men or Blade film of anime live (North American)action adaption. It's a good film with some minor problems but hopefully with this film we can finally see Hollywood make good to great live action adaptations of popular anime titles. I hope. -Panagiotis Drakopoulos


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