Kai is played magnificently by Michael McManus.
Kai is an old geezer. In fact he’s been dead for 2000 thousand years and is kept alive by a substance called proto-blood which animates his vital organs and stops him from decomposing. To help preserve his supply of proto-blood, Kai must return to a cryogenic chamber and lay in stasis when not needed.
If you were to meet Kai in a pub you would do so without your girlfriend and you would not be impressed with his humour – cos he doesn’t have any. He would be a lot more popular with the ladies than the blokes who would probably make fun of his hairdo. You would not be stupid enough to pick a fight with Kai.
We first see Kai as the leader of his people making a valiant but futile attempt to save his race from extinction in a space fight between his squadron of little spaceships against the massive planet killer battleship of His Divine Shadow, the Foreshadow.
Kai looses and His Shadow decides to take his memory and that the last of the Brunnen G should become an assassin for the Divine Order. He is able to supply enough proto-blood for Kai to finish whatever job he needs him to do. Over a 2000-year period, Kai kills many thousands of people dispassionately and coldly. He is not able to resist His Shadow or account, morally for his actions and does not remember his previous life.
Kai’s final ‘job’ for His Shadow, is to rescue the LEXX from a band of Heretics accompanied by Zev, Stanley and 790. He almost manages to do this before regaining his memory and ‘essence’ from a Divine Predecessor (who was the ‘His Shadow’ that killed him in the first place – confusing huh). Kai becomes a goodie after this, and endeavours to save our heroes every time there is a crisis – and there are many.
Zev Bellringer is in love with Kai (because she doesn’t know any better, she hasn’t met me for instance, it really bugs me this and……), Stanley Tweedle is in awe and a little frightened of him. 790 looks on the dead bloke with an air of jealous respect. He is an integral part of the crew.
He has a very handy Wrist Gadget, a sharp pincer action claw that he is able to shoot from his wrist. He is deadly accurate and has used it as a weapon of death, dispatching many a baddie (and goodie) during his employment.
Kai stated in the second episode that he would like to spend the rest of his animated life with Zev. I can’t tell whether this is because he fancies her, or because he is appreciative of her love or because she tirelessly strives to find a way to keep him alive/animated. Whatever the reason, we see that there is at least some feeling there and this makes you warm to the character a little more.
The Time Prophet, says that the Last of the Brunnen G will destroy His Divine Shadow and end the Divine Order of the League of 20,000 planets. Kai obliges, first by killing the body of His Shadow, then by squashing part of his brain and still later by letting loose his pet Cluster Lizard, Squish to eat the other part of his brain (His Shadow is a hard bloke to kill). The prophesy is realised and now all Kai has to worry about is if he can get some more proto-blood to keep himself animated.
Actually, he doesn’t really give a damn. If it wasn’t for Zev insisting, he’d quite happily just waist away. Nevertheless, Zev does manage to find a healthy supply of proto-blood and Kai is saved in the final hour.
At the start of each episode (from episode two at least) we hear Kai say, “In the Light Zone I was darkness, Perhaps in the Dark Zone, I will be light”. This is an indication that the feels some remorse for his animated existence of death and destruction and possibly wants to make amends. Whatever, I’m sure Kai will be as entertaining, if not more so, in the forthcoming series.
In one interview, Michael McManus who plays Kai, talked about a fan that wrote to the production team and asked that ‘Kai’s head should not be chopped off so much!’ They will be disappointed! Kai goes on to talk about the way he gradually manages to regain some of the characteristic of his fast-living life, before that is, His Shadow commandeered his libido! The TV interviewer called Kai the Jimmy Dean of the walking dead! (Cool description!)
Michael McManus has definitely added a few characteristics of his own and made the part much more believable. In my opinion it is very difficult to ‘carry off’ the coldness and the warmth that this character demands. He has done this in a number of ways. Girls all around the world have melted at the ‘quivering jaw’ and even us blokes have looked-on quizzically at Kai’s walk. It’s an unusual walk this, a mixture between John Wayne and a wobble. These little characteristics stop Kai from seeming wooden.
I don’t have much info on Michael McManus.
Michael McManus studied at the University of Alberta in Canada, he has acted in a number of films but, I believe his heart is in the theatre. The only stuff I’ve been able to find out on the net is of a controversy in Canada when Michael decided to leave a show causing it to end it’s run prematurely. Much was made of this in the press, a little unfairly I think.
In a recent promotional visit to London (June 1999), Michael McManus was not only friendly and attentive, but he also demonstrated a charm and friendliness to his fans that is rarely seen. Male and female fans found him charming and talkative.
You can see his latest bio on his website:
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This review is © 1999-2019 Tony Fawl.
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