Today I watched Ralph Ziman’s Kite (2014)
As this adaptation of Yasuomi Uemitsu’s hyper violent 90’s anime of the same name is of a relatively low budget, it’s adaptation is also somewhat loose. It takes place in a dystopian near future in a city overrun with crime in which a cop played by Samuel L. Jackson is secretly supporting a young female vigilante named Sawa, played by India Eisley. Sawa is slaughtering her way up a human trafficking ring led by someone known as the Emir who killed her family; or so she thinks as she doesn’t have a very good memory on account of the memory wiping drugs she is using. A young man named Oburi played by Callan McAuliffe is following her though, and he seems to hold a key to unlocking the mysteries of her past.
This film could have been a fairly passable action flick as it does adapt many elements of the source material in a smart way by stripping away the extreme levels of sexual violence of the original. The original Kite contains scenes which are basically animated child porn which has led to it being censored around the world and that is not in this film thankfully. Yet while the lurid and disturbing sexuality is gone, so is much of the most intense action moments due to the budgetary restrictions. Still, what is there in terms of action is perfectly serviceable and delivered with real visual flair, it only for the one big, big problem.
The Kite film is a premiere example of all kinds of subtle, possibly unconscious, yet still totally unacceptable, racism. With character names like Sawa and Oburi why are they so white for one, for two why do all the barbaric numbers gangs who have overrun the streets look black? Actually, sploilers for a very predictable plot, all the black characters are evil. This is just blatant racism in terms of casting and partially, in terms of the Numbers, art design. For whatever reason, despite maintaining a Japanese name, someone decided that the heroine needed to be a white person instead of Asian despite there being no real shortage of Asian and Asian american actors available. The rest of this film is far too forgettable to cover up these blatant faults in casting, I will forgive them having Sam Jackson though, he was the only actor who felt like he belonged really. So don’t watch this movie, when it isn’t offensive it is only passable. 1/5