What’s It About? Capitalism has collapsed for good this time and the future of Kite is decidedly dystopian. Sawa, the daughter of a murdered police detective, is a covert assassin intent on avenging her father’s death with the help of his ex-partner, Inspector Karl Aker.
Verdict: The signs are there from the start with Kite. It’s one of those films whose score becomes noticeably annoying before the first line of dialogue has even been spoken; things only go downhill from there. In the dystopian future, child sex trafficking has become a very popular pursuit; playing on this, 18-year-old Sawa (India Eisley) often allows herself to get kidnapped by a gang of sex traffickers in order to kill them and eventually gain access to the people responsible for her father’s death. As well as all this she’s addicted to a memory erasing drug provided by Inspector Aker (Samuel L. Jackson).
It’s hard to think of one convincing element of Kite. The overall aesthetic of the film is a standard dull, grimy, dystopia – nothing new or interesting to be found there; the sets look cheap and the universe of the film feels small and constricted. Even less convincing still are the performances; combine them with a disastrously bad script and the outcome is unsurprising. The poorly written lines of dialogue are delivered in a way in which makes you wonder if you’re actually watching an elaborate script read-through as opposed to the finished film. In fact, I don’t think it would be an overreaction to say the acting regularly surpasses student production levels of awful.
The film closely recalls Dredd (2012) whose similar grimy settings and drug-fuelled dystopian narrative at least creates a little tension and suspense and combines it with a few well executed action scenes. Kite’s plot fails to give you enough to keep you interested even for its 90-minute run time, and there’s certainly nothing that will stay with you longer than that. Sawa’s fighting abilities seem to come and go according to the needs of the plot at any given point.
And this is perhaps, of all the film’s failings, the most objectionable. You can write the shoddy set design off to low budgets. You can do the same for half the casting choices (although Jackson’s performance is unforgivable). We’ve come to expect low-budget dystopian thrillers to have pretty terrible electronic-ish soundtracks. You can’t however forgive the way in which every scene is tailored – with complete disregard for believability, quality or consistency – to do nothing other than nudge along the film’s already inconsequential plot.
Final Words: Ugly, dull and boring. I wouldn’t waste your time unless you have a particularly keen interest in clichéd, stodgily-directed revenge thrillers.
Kite is out on Blu–ray now.