Karate Kill is a weird and ultimately terribly misguided movie.
On one level it satisfies on that primal urge to watch some fun kick tail karate action. But Director/Writer Kurando Mitsutake decides his film needs a bizarre plot involving a cult specializing in snuff films shot on GoPros.
Then there’s the randomly placed T & A that comes off far more creepy than sexy. Of all the films I’ve seen this year, this is easily the one I’d be most embarrassed at someone else catching me watching it. Karate Kill has some so bad it could be good moments, but the awkward ill-placed titillating scenes make for an easy pass.
Kenji (Hayate) has toiled at dead end part time jobs for months to fund his sister, Mayumi’s (Mana Sakura) college studies in Los Angeles. With their parents dead, Kenji feels a sense of obligation to take care of and protect his little sister. When she stops returning his phone calls, Kenji fears the worst and heads to L.A. to find her.
After some investigating and random fights, Kenji tracks Mayumi to Texas where Capital Messiah is broadcasting snuff scenes online.
Karate Kill hits its apex of uncomfortably weird where cult leader Vendenski (Kirk Geiger) is watching his head minion Simona (Katarina Leigh Waters, the former WWE Diva Katie Lea Burchill) fondle a half-naked Mayumi. There’s a sound effect like he’s feverishly masturbating, which is weird in the context of the film. But it’s even weirder as Vendenski is hard at work slicing his arm open with a knife.
For the briefest of moments, the film improves with the introduction of love interest Keiko (Asami). She escaped and now rocks a hook. With one character wearing an eye patch and another a hook, Mitsutake probably has a pirate fetish.
Mitsutake shoots the action scenes in an odd way that kinda works. He experiments with gimmicks like slowly rotating the camera, a battle in a tractor trailer and and wide camera angles. Hayate has a good steely focus during these scenes, but Mitsutake definitely appears to have sped up the footage to make the action look quicker.
When the action gets bloody, Mitsutake earned his master’s in Tarantino Overkill with ridiculous fake looking blood sprays. It’s in these scenes that the movie goes off the rails and destroys the entire track.
At times it’s hard to tell if Mitsutake is making an extremely violent action movie parody. There are enough scenes to make the case Karate Kill is an action comedy, even if that wasn’t the intent. But the violence is too over the top and in some cases cruel to be entertaining.
Mitsutake has some decent ideas here, but there’s too much insanity to make it worth watching.
Rating: 2 out of 10
Photo Credit: Petri Entertainment