Image Entertainment // 2010 // 123 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // March 28th, 2011
Action beyond borders.
I have long felt that the vast Hindi film repository needed to find its way over to our shores in some manner. If Kites is the opening salvo to a deluge of imported titles, then I wish it well in its mainstream endeavors. Judging solely as a movie-going experience, however, things get a lot less diplomatic.
Kites is a forbidden-lovers-on-the-run romantic/adventure movie starring Indian megastar Hrithik Roshan as J, a Las Vegas player constantly on the lookout for the next big score. He stumbles into a goldmine opportunity when one of the girls from his sexy awesome dance class reveals her feelings for him and she turns out to be the daughter of one of the most powerful men in Vegas.
As the two hammer out their courtship, J finds himself attracted to the fiancée of his future brother-in-law, the gorgeous Natasha (Barbara Mori). The two can't resist each other's bare midriffs and hit the road, prompting all hell to break loose. And singing. That breaks loose, too.
I've seen enough eye-popping YouTube clips of insane Indian movies over the years to lust after a Hindi incursion into my home video collection, but if Kites is indicative of the forward battalion, it looks like I'll be waiting a bit longer.
While not short on style, this two-hour opus is just too disjointed and watered-down to land any kind of impact. Lord knows, the star-crossed-lovers-on-the-lam gameplan has been played out plenty in other movies and Kites brings nothing new to the table. Worse, the old stuff that we've seen already -- the car chases, the crazy ex-boyfriends, the smoldering eroticism -- fall short in this implementation. I'm not even sure what the point of the decidedly unsexy title is, save for the laughably terrible "Kites" theme song that plays over a montage of our two protagonists staring into each other's eyes and driving down the Vegas strip while guzzling booze.
I can see why Roshan is a big deal in India; the guy has some legitimate screen presence and judging by the moves he was busting in the gratuitous dance-off at the beginning of the film, would simply dominate in Dancing with the Stars. He's got some nice chemistry with Barbara Mori, herself a fairly perfect human specimen, though if you're banking on even a whiff of provocative hotness, feel free to jettison those expectations now; a conversation between a topless J and a swimsuit-clad Natasha is as carnal as it gets.
The lack of action disappointed me the most; action, which I would like to point out, was explicitly promised to me in the film's tagline. Action that is, and I quote, "beyond borders." Not so. The mayhem is housed snugly within many borders. You get a couple of uninspired car chases (one culminating in a physics-defying, nonsensical police car explosion) a motorcycle getaway and a rainy hand-to-hand beatdown -- all of it is forgettable.
What's left? A cultural oddity, where characters slide in and out of Hindi and English for no discernible reason, excruciating pop ballads lurk around every corner and 120 minutes moves along with the briskness of a glacial deposit. If your attention span is shorter, Brett Ratner assembled a 90-minute "Remix" version, which essentially pitches the musical numbers.
The Blu-ray is mediocre, featuring an adequate 2.35:1, 1080p widescreen transfer that should have been a lot slicker considering the style of the film. Colors and detail are soft and feel drained of life. Some moments stand out, like the dance number and the action scenes, but, overall, this is a disappointing transfer. The sound mix fares better, with the 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio kicking out the aggressive soundtrack with power. No extras.
The two leads are very attractive. And there's some great dancing. Beyond that,bupkus.
Guilty. Go fly a...you know.
Review content copyright © 2011 David Johnson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Image Entertainment
* 2.35:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
* DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (English, Hindi)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 123 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Remix Version
* Cinema Verdict Review