Before watching KARATE KILL, I had absolutely no expectations and had no idea that this movies dialogus was primarily in Japanese with subtitles. Typically, I do not watch most movies in other languages simply because reading the subtitles usually distracts me from the events unfolding before me. I know, I know, I miss out on a ton of really good stuff because of it; however, it didn’t turn me off from this movie one bit.
The movie starts out by immediately grabbing my attention, mainly because of the nudity, haha. We open up to our main character, Kenji, feeling concerned that his sister, Mayumi – who has moved to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career – has not contacted him in over a month. You can already tell that this guy isn’t the one to be fucked with and it’s apparent that there will be some major ass-whopping. Before catching a plane to L.A. to look for his sister, he first investigates the apartment she’s been staying at in Japan town. After walking in on a bum smoking crack, which I found quite comical, it jumps immediately into a beatdown (this would be considered a mild beatdown in regards to the rest of the films violence). This character is not only determined but he really is a force to be reckoned with, like big time. I apologize for the constant talk of ass-whoppins but honestly it’s what this movie consists of and I love it for that. It’s like if KILL BILL met THE MAN WITH THE IRON FISTS but without the Tarantino slow burn and dialogue. Once our hero discover a restaurant that his sister, Mayumi, was working at, he meets the owner of the business and he finds out that his hunt is only going to get rougher. This is when we are introduced to Capital Messiah which opens a door to gore galore. At this point, the film begins to alternate from English to Japanese depending on which characters are speaking. That is something that I really enjoyed about the movie because it grabbed my attention so much.
The primary location changes as our hero travels to Texas to try and locate Capital Messiah. Once he has arrived, he goes to a bar to relax a bit, and to his surprise he is greeted very quickly with a bit of ol fashion Southern racism. This is definitely the type of racism that you would find in a Tarantino film. The film pans back and forth between our hero looking for his sister and Capital Messiah doing some really fucked up shit and putting it on the internet. After a bar fight, our hero finds himself being helped by a woman seeking revenge on the terrorist group. She becomes a pretty badass side kick and did I mention she has a hook for a hand? This is of course courtesty of Captial Messiah.
Like I mentioned before, this movie gets fairly gorey so the faint of heart should definitly beware. There is a fairly mild sex scene with mild nudity which isn’t really any more extreme than the rest of the nudity in the movie. I really enjoyed the fact that this love making scene was shortly followed up with action and the climax is northing short of fantastic. Though I was able to predict some of the events that would unfold in the film, I don’t want to mislead you in thinking that I didn’t enjoy KARATE KILL because I definitely did. Not only is Kenji a force to be reckoned with, but so is Capital Messiah. This movie is unlike any other film I’ve seen before and it really surprised me at time, aside from the aforementioned predictability and it had some of the best fight scenes I have ever seen in a horror movie. Although I do not feel that this movie was so much of a horror film as it was a thriller, it did have some key elements you would find in the horror genre; however, it didn’t deliver me any sense of fear. I think the musical score was a major part of that but I don’t think the writers were really going for scary.
What they lack in scares they make up for in high quality cinematography and badass fight scenes. The intensity of the film honestly speaks for itself with its action and shock value giving it it’s own type of subgenre among movies. KARATE KILL is fantastic and I would definitely recommend watching it. Considering its currently October and I have been watching primarily horror movies (which is what I usually watch anyways) it was nice to experience something unlike anything else I usually find myself watching. From horror buffs to kung-fu heads out there, do yourself a favor and check out KARATE KILL.
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