Paladin is NOT french in the movie.
The Kilrathi in the movie were closer to the original idea Roberts had, plus, they were cheap. The movie had a very small budget, so taking the cheap route was required in some areas.
Most of their capships are pretty good, the Manta is better than a lot of the fighters we see in SO, the Squid would be a very effective fighter if the dumb AI knew how to use it effectivly. Same goes for the clustered ships.