Written by: Michael Den Boer on November 2nd, 2004
Theatrical Release Date: Japan, 1998
Director: Yasuomi Umetsu
Writer: Yasuomi Umetsu
Cast: Charlie Watson, Scott Bailey, Shane Callahan
DVD Released: 2004
Approximate Running Time: 53 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 4:3 Full Frame
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1
DVD Release: Kitty/Media Blasters
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $29.95
Sawa is a trained assassin whose parents were murdered when she was a child. Now in her teens she works for Mr. Akia a Detective who sends out on jobs to pedophiles and other perverts. Oburi is another teenager who works for Mr. Akia and he wants to leave the assassin business. Sawa and Oburi meet while working on a job together and quickly form a friendship. A double cross leads to a bloody finale in which Sawa settles must choose between her freedom or exacting her vengeance against those who killer her parents.
Kite is equal parts Le Femme Nikita and Leon with a little of Thriller a Cruel Picture thrown in for good measure. Kite is a truly remarkable work that takes visceral action and hardcore sex scenes merging the two together into a compelling story about a young girl forced into a life she desperately wants to escape. Early on in the film we are given a glimpse into Sawa;s back story and the death of her parents. This section is important to the story as we get to see the full extent of Sawa’s plight which adds more depth to her as a character. The action scenes through out the movie are well done and flow naturally. Sawa has all sorts of tricks up her sleeves as she has bullets that exploded once they have entered her victims flesh. The center piece of the whole show is when Sawa is supposed to kill a man who has twin brother. She deposes of her target then her troubles begin as she has to take on his three bodyguards. This is the moment in the film when we as the viewer get to see just what Sawa is capable of as she defies all odds landing on her two feet like a cat with nine lives. This scene was lifted when No Doubt shot the video for their song Ex-girlfriend. Detective Akia and his sidekick Kanie are having these young kids kill society’s pedophiles when both these men obvious are just as sick and devious as the bastards that are being killed. This is the one in the film that isn’t fully explained why they are having these men killed when they are committing the same acts. Detective Akia is obviously an immoral man as he taints evidence at crimes scenes to cover Sawa’s tracks after each one of her job’s. The hard-core sex scenes in the movie feel out of place much like they did in the film Thriller a Cruel Picture. They are well done they just don’t serve the story as is the case with any movie that includes hardcore scenes. They are added more for shock value and nothing more. Overall Kite excels on many levels and my only major complaint would be that it is too short clocking in at less than sixty minutes.
Kite is presented in its original 4:3 aspect ratio. The colors are nicely saturated and flesh tones are solid through out. This release is vast improvement over Kitty’s previous release of Kite that suffered from pixilation. Over all the source material used is in excellent shape. Three audio options are available for this DVD release. The original Japanese audio in Dolby Digital 5.1 and Stereo as well as an English dubbed track in a Dolby Digital 5.1. All three tracks make good use of the front speakers and surrounds. English subtitles that are easy to read have been included.
Extras include interviews with Yasuomi Umetsu and Osamu Koshinonaka each interview runs about 10 minutes in length. Umetsu and Koshinonaka provide incite into the making of Kite. Other extras include storyboards that show on the left while the scene plays on the right and a stills gallery. Rounding out the extras are trailers for Viper GTS, Virgin Touch, Wet Summer Days and Mezzo forte also directed by Yasuomi Umetsu. Even though the box says the feature length is sixty minutes it actually runs about fifty three minutes in length. Finally a special edition of Kite that restores footage not in the previous version and with extras that are more then your typical filler like most anime releases. Kite isn’t an easy film to watch and it is meant for mature audiences. If you are a fan of graphic violence with a compelling story, Kite is essential viewing.