High-Kick Girl

Year: 2009
Director: Fuyuhiko Nishi
Rating: 5/10

Rina Takeda, who is the star of the 2011 Karate Girl, made her debut in this film. This is very close to what I expected Karate Girl to be - kind of cheesy, it has that tacky low budget look, the action choreography is generally pretty awful, often in slo-mo (when it should have been sped up) and if there is a good move, we get to see it again as it replays hits throughout. Still it is martial arts without wires utilizing "actors" with knowledge of karate. To some degree looking at both films - because they are clearly connected in spirit (and actors) if not in plot - they are almost karate enlistment films as they teach moves and its philosophy - karate is for protection, not attack.

Rina doesn't quite get that last bit yet. She is a student to her sensei Matsumura, played by Tatsuya Naka, who plays her father in Karate Girl and in the real world is a karate expert who has won tournaments. Rina enjoys going around to different dojo's in her short school skirt (maybe the same one as in Karate Girl) and challenging the entire dojo in order to get their black belt. Her nickname is The Girl who Hunts Black Belts. She does pretty well - though most of her opponents are hacks - until she comes up against the real deal. The Destroyers - the villains in this piece - want revenge against Matsumura and so kidnap Rina and invite him to save her. In a gym's basketball court.

The last 30 minutes of the film is him kicking heads, breaking arms and punching guts (our Rina is literally put on the sideline which sort of defeats the purpose of why most of us came) - he is clearly good but much of it is sloppily shot. It would be nice to have had a HK action choreographer over to do this but they probably could not afford the plane fare. As he wades through the bad guys, Rina just says in amazement "he is using the practice forms he taught" to do this. Lots of bad women in this one getting in on the act - one gang of Grade B martial artists fight Rina and then a few good ones - one in particular who somersaulted through the air to crush people - are impressive.