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Film / Kite (2014)
aka: Kite

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Aker: "A beautiful monster..."

Kite is a 2014 adaptation of the anime of the same name, written by indie director Brian Cox (not to be confused with the more famous actor of the same name), and directed by Ralph Ziman.

The main difference from the original is that the movie is set in an unnamed dystopian Wretched Hive, with entire districts outside of police control and with human traffickers doing as they please. Karl Aker (Samuel L. Jackson), a Knight Templar Dirty Cop, helps Sawa (India Eisley), the daughter of his murdered partner, exact revenge on the crime lord known as the Emir, who supposedly had Sawa's parents killed years prior. However, while staking out Emir's underling Jeppy, Sawa is ambushed by a street gang called the Numbers and rescued by a mysterious young man named Oburi, who seems to know about her past.

This series contains examples of:

  • Action Girl: Just like in the original, Sawa is a gun-toting teenager who goes against the unnamed metropolis' criminal underworld all by herself.
  • Adaptation Distillation: Aker's motivation is more utilitarian than his anime counterpart's, and Sawa's targets are even more acceptable, while the action scenes are less over-the-top.
  • Adaptational Heroism: Otis Breedlove, the film's version of Kanie. He's Oburi's father and The Atoner for helping Aker murder Sawa's parents.
  • Arc Symbol: the titular kite. Sawa sees it through the window of her apartment when her PTSD medication wears off. It appears again in the ending.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Sawa. The PTSD medication Aker hooked her on is addictive and erodes her memory, while at the same time making her an Emotionless Girl.
  • By-the-Book Cop: Detective Prinsloo.
  • Corrupt the Cutie: Aker controls Sawa, acting as her Evil Mentor and feeding her addictive PTSD medication in order to take out several underworld figures.
  • Dirty Cop: Aker. He destroys evidence linking him to Sawa's Roaring Rampage of Revenge and years ago, he murdered Sawa's parents to cover up his gun running operation.
  • Dirty Old Man: Clive Thornhill, Vic's father.
  • Dystopia: Apparently, the government collapsed following a banking crisis, leading to a massive increase in crime rates.
  • Elevator Action Sequence: the opening scene featured in the trailer.
  • Evil Brit: London Gangster Vic Thornhill.
  • Eye Scream: Sawa stabs Staggie in his remaining good eye with car keys.
  • Flashback Echo: when Sawa saves Jeppy's daughter Naima.
  • Girlish Pigtails: on the blonde wig Sawa wears when staking out Jeppy.
  • Going Cold Turkey: After meeting Oburi, Sawa tries to shake off the addiction to Amp, the memory-wiping PTSD medication.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: human trafficker Staggie Steyns has a forked scar across his left eye. Numbers lieutenant Margrit has a tangle of scars on her cheek. Aker's former partner and Oburi's father, Otis Breedlove, has half of his face covered in chemical burns.
  • Gorn: The film is rated R and features heads both coming off and coming apart.
  • Groin Attack: Sawa zaps a bouncer in Staggie's club with a stun gun, and later on stabs the Emir with a knife.
  • Happy Flashback: the film ends with one.
  • Identical Twin ID Tag: the Steyns brothers have this in spades: Sascha is a stuttering slob in trackies and a letterman jacket, Staggie doesn't stutter, has a carefully trimmed beard, wears gaudy suit and tie, and is missing an eye.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: during the shootout in the restroom of Staggie's club, one mook tries to hit Sawa and accidentally brains another mook.
  • Ironic Echo: when we first meet Vic Thornhill, he has a pen shoved up the nose of his competitor Jeppy and threatens to push it further into his brain. Sawa later kills Vic by stabbing a knife sharpener up his nose.
  • Just as Planned: the Emir leads Sawa into an ambush at the container yard by purposefully having his underlings drop hints about how to get to him.
    Emir: "A bit of misinformation here and there...leads to some interesting results. Doesn't it?"
  • Knight Templar: Aker. Possibly subverted - when Sawa corners him at the end of the movie, he tells her "Together, we could have all of this tomorrow."
  • Le Parkour: Oburi and the Numbers.
  • The Mafiya: Sawa's first victim, Kratsov.
  • Off with His Head!: Sawa decapitates the Emir with a huge meat cleaver.
  • Precious Photo: Sawa's family photo from the Policeman's Family Day, although the upper half that would show her parents' faces has been torn off.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Otis Breedlove. He feels guilty about being blackmailed by Aker into revealing that Sawa's father knew about the gun running op, and manages to wound Aker before being killed.
    Otis: "Yes, but it's the only shot I've ever wanted."
  • Red Right Hand: the Emir has a hook in place of his left hand, and Staggie and Margrit are visibly scarred, Staggie also being blind in one eye.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Oburi and Aker.
  • Undercover Cop Reveal: when two Numbers gang members break into Jeppy's apartment after tailing Sawa, she finds his uniform and Policeman's Family Day photo in his bedroom just as the Numbers murder him.
  • Underside Ride: how Sawa infiltrates the container yard.
  • Vomit Discretion Shot: cut short as Sawa stumbles to the bathroom, overcome with nausea when Going Cold Turkey.
  • Waif-Fu: Sawa has no problem beating up mooks larger than herself, including impossibly high kicks.
  • Wretched Hive: most of the film's action takes part in the dilapidated and lawless part of a large metropolis.
  • Your Head A-Splode: Kratsov and Staggie, resulting from the explosive rounds also featured in the anime original.

Alternative Title(s): Kite