DirectorRob Cohen, whose recent filmmaking credits include the international hits XXX and The Fast And The Furious, is teaming up with Distant Horizon to rework the acclaimedbut controversial 1998 Japanese anime shocker Kite into a live action version that will water down theoriginal's explicit sexual content.

Inaddition to signing on direct the remake of Yasuomi Umetsu's blood-splattered cultclassic about a young female assassin bent on revenge, Cohen will also producethe bullet ballet, alongside Distant Horizon's Anant Singh and Brian Cox. Rightsto the live action remake were licensed by Distant Horizon from Studio Kikan inTokyo.

Kite concerns the story of a young woman named Sawa who,after the murder of her parents, is taken off the streets by a crooked,Svengali-like detective employing homeless children to do his dirty work.Trained to kill, she exacts street justice against the detective's chosentargets, until she is able to break free of the abusive and manipulativecontrol he has over her.

Withher tense sexuality and her ticking time-bomb of a personality, Cohen andDistant Horizon feel that the new, flesh-and-blood Sawa has the potential to bethe biggest action heroine since La Femme Nikita.

Indeed,fans of Umetsu's Kite often pointto Nikita, as well as another LucBesson-directed film, The Professional (Leon), as obviousreference points in terms of plot and characterization.

WhileCohen intends to keep Umetsu's highly stylized anime look, he wants expungesome of the original's graphic sex scenes - two of them involving rape - thatwere also excised from the initial anime version that was first shown toAmerican audiences as a cut-down 45-minute direct-to-video title.

"Thebeautiful but deadly action sequences will remain, as will the tense andgut-wrenching approach to character conflict," said Distant Horizon in a pressrelease about the remake, "but the live action Kite will forego the graphic adult situations in theUmetsu version."

Cohenand Distant Horizon are currently meeting with writers in order to adaptUmetsu's story to the live action arena.

"Thisis a uniquely powerful property, and Rob has been a long-time fan, and we foundthat out a few days after we acquired the remake rights, so we went directly tohim," said Singh.

"Wefelt his approach to action, and his ability to give a kind of hip re-workingto various genres, made him the perfect choice. Rob has been inventive, givingnew spins to the international spy thriller and the street racing film, andmade them enormous worldwide box office hits. We need this kind of approach toKite."

"Umetsu'sfilm has amazing visual intensity," said Cohen."It would be a finechallenge to define a place where anime and movies meet."