KITE (Live Action) Review

KITE tells the story of Sawa (India Eisley, “The Secret Life of the American Teenager,” Underworld: Awakening), a young woman living in a corrupt society where crime and gangs terrorize the streets. When Sawa’s mother and policeman father are found victims of a grisly double homicide, she begins a ruthless pursuit for the man who murdered them. With the help of her father’s ex-partner, Karl Aker (Samuel L. Jackson, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, The Avengers, Django Unchained), and a mysterious friend from her past (Callan McAuliffe, The Great Gatsby, I Am Number Four), she becomes a merciless teen assassin, blasting her way through the dark world of human trafficking only to uncover a devastating truth.

If you're looking for a faithful adaptation of the controversial anime prepare to be disappointed. KITE does has element of the beloved anime but that's where it stops. If you're hoping for the gritty, very dark and oh my goodness moments that the anime has presented you won't find it. I'm not saying that we need certain sex scenes, or certain gore but that is what KITE is known for. It had shock value and you really don't get that with this film. My biggest gripe with the film is that key elements of Sawa are missing. The movie never explains the true importance of the earrings Sawa wears. The anime goes into great detail of it being a symbol of her parents. In the movie it's more of an accessory or prop than any real meaning. Even some of the supporting cast such as Oburi backstory is completely changed and pointless. The plot doesn't make you care for Sawa and her quest for revenge. You don't really know who she is besides her motivation to kill the guy responsible. The film is all over the place and watching it you start to realize it doesn't know it's identity. What is the message the film is trying to get towards the audience? What is the payoff Sawa gets from her revenge? You don't get that sense of knowledge watching the film.

To be fair anime is a very difficult medium to translate into live action. There are certain things in animation that can't be done in live action. KITE is one of those anime films that should have stayed in it's medium. Not even Samuel L. Jackson can save the bad dialogue, sloppy action sequences and poorly adapted film. I understand that an adaptation is just that an adaptation. A filmmaker takes bits and pieces of the product and make it their own. However when you don't even get basic backstory right, it shows  the audience who love the original product that you didn't do your homework. If your a fan of the anime film stick to the anime film.