Adamantium Bullet
14Feb/14

Samuel L. Jackson Plays Mentor To Teen Assassins In KITE And BARELY LETHAL

kite

It has long been my opinion the world doesn’t need a live-action adaptation of Yasuomi Umetsu’s infamous 1998 anime/hentai KITE. You can click HERE and HERE to check out my previous rants about this subject, but it really all boils down to one simple thing: There’s just no reason.

No slick studio-produced reboot is ever going to recapture the gritty and controversial edge of the original. Hell, the original is so f*cked up it’s actually banned in a few countries. Not just banned, but no longer available uncut. Any version you see of KITE nowadays, even if it is labeled UNCUT or UNCENSORED, is cut and/or censored in some way.

Why? Well, KITE is the story of a sexually abused schoolgirl turned assassin who discovers her lover/mentor is the man who murdered her parents. And when I say “schoolgirl”, I mean “underage schoolgirl”. And when I say “lover”, I actually mean “creepy pedo rapist”. Very uncomfortable (not to mention kind of illegal) stuff to say the least.

That brings me to the trailer for The Weinstein Company and director Ralph Ziman’s upcoming live-action reboot of KITE starring Samuel L. Jackson and India Eisley. Yes, the live-action reboot is a real thing. Yes, Sammy J somehow got roped into it. And yes, I know it was weird kicking off this piece with whining about how something like this shouldn’t exist when it already does. It’s my first week back on the job. Cut me a little slack. Okay?

The first thing I immediately noticed about the trailer and clips below was that everything that made KITE memorable -- the ultra-violence, the over-the-top action set pieces, the creepy mentor/trainee relationship, the sex, the populated urban locale – is kind of present, but not in the way you might be expecting. Sawa (Eisley) is a still a teen assassin who uses explosive bullets, but she also knows kung-fu and is into parkour because that’s the studios think the kids stateside are into. The big action beats are sort of there, but are now a little less populated because Tokyo has been swapped out for the urban decay of Johannesburg.

Karl (Jackson) is still the mentor and is likely still the guy who murdered Sawa’s parents, but the icky sexual relationship between him and her appears to have been eliminated …and I’m f*cking great with that. Nobody wants to see Jackson getting it on with the lovely Eisley. NOBODY. That having been said, Eisley is in all manner of undress in the clips below, so it appears the filmmakers just reallocated the sexual content to another part of the film. Oh and they’ve aged Sawa up a bit, so no more “Let’s see how many countries will ban our film!!” awkwardness.

To be honest, I don’t hate what I’m seeing here. I like the look, the action, and the actors. Looks fun in a ‘90s cheapie direct-to-video action kind of way. I just don’t understand why they remade KITE. Why couldn’t the filmmakers just make a teenage girl assassin picture of their own? Why opt to reboot the most controversial example of the genre and then change everything to the point of rendering the controversy moot? This flick looks more like HIT-GIRL: THE MOVIE than KITE. Why not just make that? I’d watch that.

Lost my point and went a teeny bit pervy, didn’t I? Sh*t. I hate it when that happens. Enjoy the clips and be sure to stick around for some BARELY LETHAL action.

Keeping with the “teen girl assassin” theme, here are a couple of official stills and a plot synopsis from director Kyle Newman’s upcoming action-comedy BARELY LETHAL starring Hailee Steinfeld (TRUE GRIT), Jessica Alba (SIN CITY), Sophie Turner (GAME OF THRONES), and Jackson in yet another mentor role. Despite the cutesy kinky title, I’ve got a feeling this one is going to straight up PG-13 and nowhere near as edgy as KITE. Call it a hunch.

Barely Lethal Barely Lethal

Weary of her life as a teenage Special Ops Agent, Megan (Hailee Steinfeld) fakes her own death and enrolls in a suburban high school. Hoping to live the life of a ‘normal’ teenager, she discovers that being popular, dating, and fitting in isn’t as easy as she thought. Complicating matters is Victoria (Jessica Alba), her former handler and current nemesis, who enlists rival teen Special Agent Heather (Sophie Turner) to go undercover at her high school and capture her. Actor Samuel L. Jackson portrays Megan’s mentor, Hardman.

[via EW, /film, I09, and JoBlo]

Posted by J. Bryant

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