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Kite (Fantasia Review)

Jul. 22, 2014by: Chris Bumbray

 

PLOT: A young assassin (India Eisley) tries to avenge her parents by killing-off the minions of a flesh-merchant called The Emir. With the help of a renegade cop (Samuel L. Jackson) she gets close to her target only to discover that her true enemy may not be who she thinks.

REVIEW: There are bad movies, and then there are bad movies. To give you an idea of how utterly atrocious KITE is, imagine the worst Uwe Boll movie and multiply that by five. If Ed Wood were alive today and making action movies, the result would probably still be better than KITE, which ranks even lower than PASSION PLAY, TWIXT, ALL ABOUT STEVE and THIRD PERSON as the absolute worst movie I've ever reviewed.

Most bad movies have a kind of innate watch-ability, even in the “so bad it's good” kind of way. KITES doesn't even have that. Not only is the direction amateurish, the script insultingly lackluster, and the performances universally inept, but it feels like everyone involved knew they were making a bad movie and just decided to give up. This is especially true for Samuel L. Jackson, who likely only spent a few days shooting his scenes, but gives the worst performance of his career as the heroine's protector. Maybe it was the fact that his SNAKES ON A PLANE director David R. Ellis was initially attached (he passed away during pre-production), but this is the definition of phoning it in. This is easily the worst film he's ever appeared in – even more so than THE SPIRIT.

Maybe if Ellis had ended up directing KITE it would have come off as something more than schlock destined for some forgotten corner of Netflix. It's tough to know exactly what went on during a production hence my reluctance to lay the blame entirely at director Ralph Ziman's feet, but things do not look for for him. For one thing, the line readings he gets from his actors are so one-note that if they were reading off cue-cards they couldn't have been worse. India Eisley is particularly troublesome as the lead. This is basically “Hit-Girl” the movie, only with a star that's utterly without charisma, substituting a weirdly fetishized sex appeal made all the more disturbing by the fact that she seems to be playing a young girl (although Eisely was nineteen when this was filmed). However, it's tough to blame Eisley as it's doubtful anyone could have made the part work, but she's especially unconvincing in the poorly choreographed and shot action scenes which lack any kind of urgency or prowess from the performers or the director.

Having been shot in South Africa, there's also a wide variety of accents on display, which at their best are tough to decipher, and at their worst are cartoonish attempts to emulate British tough-guy Cockney speak. Much of KITE looks like it was done against green-screen, with muddy, stylized visuals likely trying to compensate for sub-par effects. Instead it just gives the film a low-rent, ugly look that seems more appropriate for a bad video game cut-scene from the nineties than a full-on feature. The pacing is even worse, with the movie basically ending after an hour but then being dragged-on for another half-hour with no action to speak of, just lots of tacked-on (and cheap) subplots and predictable last minute revelations.

KITE is likely the worst film I've ever written up in a good seven years of working as a critic. It's an atrocious piece of work. Even die-hard manga fans would be well-advised to skip this one as it makes DRAGONBALL: EVOLUTION look like a masterpiece by comparison.

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3:27PM on 07/22/2014
Can't say I'm remotely surprised, it was destined to suck.
Can't say I'm remotely surprised, it was destined to suck.
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1:23PM on 07/22/2014

This movie was screwed once Ellis died

They probably would have been better off shelving it once he died. I'm sure he was the reason Jackson originally signed on as the two got along very well during the filming of Snakes on a Plane. If he had directed this, I bet it would have been fun and maybe would have received a theatrical release. Eisley is a gorgeous girl who wasn't bad in Underworld and I find it difficult to blame her performance here on her as you said Jackson was also bad and everyone knows he usually isn't.
They probably would have been better off shelving it once he died. I'm sure he was the reason Jackson originally signed on as the two got along very well during the filming of Snakes on a Plane. If he had directed this, I bet it would have been fun and maybe would have received a theatrical release. Eisley is a gorgeous girl who wasn't bad in Underworld and I find it difficult to blame her performance here on her as you said Jackson was also bad and everyone knows he usually isn't.
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12:01PM on 07/22/2014
Woah! This sounds AWFUL! I thought India Eisley was fine in Underworld 4, but then again I never saw of the movie. But it's a shame this sounds terrible, as I was somewhat interested in it. I love movies about female badasses! I'm actually surprised you didn't give the movie a 0/10!
Woah! This sounds AWFUL! I thought India Eisley was fine in Underworld 4, but then again I never saw of the movie. But it's a shame this sounds terrible, as I was somewhat interested in it. I love movies about female badasses! I'm actually surprised you didn't give the movie a 0/10!
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