Karate Girl

Year: 2011
Director: Yoshikatsu Kimura
Rating: 6/10

I was expecting this Japanese offering to be a total low budget cheesy action film with choreography that was amateurish and bumbling at best - but with a title like Karate Girl I had to give it a shot. And it is in fact quite low budget with no sets to speak of and it has a plot so predictable that a child could figure out what was going to happen five minutes into the film. But that wasn't really an issue with me because it has two women - well girls really - who kick a lot of ass and they look good doing it.

The choreography is well done without the usual rapid speed editing and wires that we are generally given today. They are the real deal and the moves they display are very impressive with three-kick to the head moves and off the wall into a kick and hitting multiple people with one sweep that are all legit as far as I can tell - and the practices shown during the end credits validate that.

The actress Rina Takeda who plays Ayaka was 20-years old at the time the film was made had been training in karate since she was ten. The other actress who is about 15 is Hina Tobimatsu and I can't find out anything about her background but she is amazing. From IMDB she only has one other credit in the same year while Rina has a number of film and TV credits up to the present day. Between the two of them they leave a long trail of beaten and dead men in their path. At a time when Hong Kong's Girls with Guns has long passed peacefully away, this brings back memories of it - though there are no insane stunts - just karate - but Rina is sort of Moon Lee like, small and cute, while Hina could have a great career as a bad-ass female killer with a stone and surly face that could give shivers. It is a shame if she is entirely out of film. During those same end credits she finally gets to smile.

There is a plot here and a nice smidgeon of melodrama. The Kurenai style of Karate has been passed down in the family for generations and a hostile takeover from another karate school kills the Master, leaves his young daughter for dead and takes away the even younger sister. But they don't get the black belt - sort of like McDonalds taking over Carl's but not getting the special sauce. We jump a number of years into the future - the fellow who did all the evil deeds has created a killer elite that he contracts all over the world and is training a "killer doll" young girl. They are looking for the black belt that Ayaka (the left for dead daughter) still has - and you should be able to take it from there. Nothing fancy here - a very obvious story with some nice basic action. But watching Rina (in her short school skirt) and Hina (dressed in black) is a fair amount of fun.