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2015-01-30 13:40
Whats it about:

In a vast, multicultural and decimated urban landscape, post-financial collapse, Sawa, beautiful but emotionally detached, lives a secret life as a covert assassin. The daughter of a police detective involved in the investigation of human trafficking, she was orphaned at the tender age of 12 when an unknown assailant targeted both of her parents.

Now 18, Sawa is a human time-bomb intent upon eliminating members of the flesh-cartels whom she presumes murdered her family; men who exploit the defenseless children of a collapsed society for the pleasure of high-paying, foreign clients.

What we thought:

Like the anime that it’s based on, Kite should never have seen the big screen and rather stuck to a video release where it can’t entice unsuspecting moviegoers with its Sin City look and the fact that it’s starring Samuel L. Jackson.

Although he is not known for his exemplary choice in movie roles, this one takes the big one in terms of uninspiring performance. Also, it’s an almost all-South African cast, shot in Johannesburg and has a South African director, something you won’t know until you start watching it – at your own peril.

Set in some unknown, post-financial-collapse city, where apparently America and South Africa merged into one (their sense of place was as confusing as the script), kids are used and abused by flesh-cartels (human traffickers) for high prices. In all of this a young girl mentored by her father’s dodgy ex-partner (Jackson) seeks revenge on those who killed her parents, high on some medication that doesn’t make you feel anything (sounds like the precursor to Equilibrium).

When I went to watch this film, I had no idea it had South African ties. But the mix of South African and American accents, some obviously Afrikaans names and familiar faces really messed with your idea of place. They never explain this, except the financial collapse, and how this multiculturalism came about. And be prepared for the most generic production design ever.

While trying to figure out where this movie is supposed to take place, the plot also loses you through a maze of teenage revenge, obvious duplicity and much confusion on details. I love my ultra-violence movies, but Kite’s violence is so hackneyed and bleh that you kinda wished the assassin girl gets popped in the head with an exploding bullet. If you’re a Sin City, Suckerpunch of Kick-Ass fan, stay clear. The tag line 'Killer. Justice.' should already be a warning.

It doesn’t mean the actors didn’t try. South African director Ralph Ziman, who is an accomplished music video director and artist, just could not get to the heart of the film and he couldn’t get what he needed out of the lead roles to prop this film on a flimsy script. Jackson is his usual self, and why he decided to be onboard with an unknown cast is perplexing throughout, unless he is friends with someone involved in the production.

India Eisley (Underworld: Awakening) really does throw herself into Sawa, the emotionally damaged little assassin, but unfortunately Chloe Grace Moretz and Emily Browning beat her at being totally badass. You’ll see some familiar South African faces like Jody Abrahams, Carl Beukes and Terence Bridgett, but all the side characters become lost in a flurry of revenge kills.

Kite is one of those films where you feel like you just wasted an hour and a half of your life for a film that pretends to be high budget, but ends up second-rate in quality.

Read more on:    deon lotz  |  movies

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