Cards on the table from the off. I think both Kites and Kites Remix are bad movies.
There's a cast of beautiful people, gorgeous settings and great cinematography. But that's about it. It's pure style over substance.
There's no soul, overblown action scenes and it's so obsessed with being a crossover movie that it's painful.
Worst of all though it was such an obvious attempt to launch Hrithik Roshan's Hollywood career he should have had "Call me Mr Spielberg" emblazoned across his well-defined pecs.
When comparing the original Anurag Basu version with Brett Ratner's Hollywood-friendly flick you have to admit in theory, it's genius.
There's potentially something for everyone, the ultimate global flick.
Kites does also offer up the chance to examine the stylistic differences between the target audiences and directors.
There is the obvious stuff. In the international version the songs are gone and the one major dance routine is missing (a definite mistake).
Luckily, MTV style eye-candy scenes, ludicrous car chases with police cars turning into fireballs at the slightest contact and Joe Peschi-lite cartoon gangster-isms also hit the cutting room floor.
In short, what Ratner — who helmed the Chinese/American crossover cashcow Rush Hour — brings to the table is focus. Keep it lean and keep it moving.
He doesn't see the logic in dwelling on lengthy back-stories for peripheral characters.
Case in point is the way Basu spends an eternity establishing Bob's (Kabir Bedi) bad ass mafia credentials before inexplicably cutting him a third of the way in. Ratner virtually writes him out.
The American director also plays up the screen time of the two leads, slashing Roshan's preening scenes and working what little character development and chemistry there was.
And while Basu's original is schizophrenic, (comedy, tragedy, action, romance, dance, gangster squeezed into one package) Ratner knows what he wants.
It's a much more watchable movie because of that, but it still isn't good.
The cuts are sometimes too brutal, especially in one scene where Jay's friend appears from nowhere to help him in a heist thanks to the editor's scissors. The new Western score isn't better and the extended love scene is totally unnecessary.
The caveat though is that it was an experiment. The problem is that most initial experiments fail.
Personally, I think the remix version is better. But to me it's like saying you prefer being hit with a baseball bat than a golf club.
It's better by virtue of being tighter and more focused than Basu's rambling incoherent mess.
Now, I wonder what would happen if Ratner had made his own movie. Same cast. Same location, same script, but total control?
I wonder what would have happened if Basu had made a proper Bollywood movie instead of a pandering B(H)ollywood one. How would Ratner have chopped that one?
And I wonder what would have happened if both men had a better story to work with.
That would really be interesting.