If I told you Karate Girl was a good movie, I’d be lying. Luckily, a movie can be fun without being good. So we had a fine time watching this tale of Ayaka (Rina Takeda), a teenage girl who must save her sister from the evil karate school that killed their father when they were very young. (Don’t you hate it when that happens?!)
But if there’s one thing I’ve learned through film blogging, it’s that different people react differently to movies. So to help you spend your entertainment time wisely, let me present what I see as the pros and cons of spending almost two hours watching Karate Girl. Then you can weight the factors according to your personal needs and preferences.
Pro: It’s a story about two sisters, meaning two female characters in one film, both kicking ass!
Con: We see the very dramatic death of their father (whose last act is to karate chop his older daughter back to life) but where is mom? It’s like a Disney movie, she doesn’t even exist!
I’m really not kidding about the karate chopping, by the way. Is that like CPR, except just one blow, and from the back?
Pro: The head of the evil karate school is evil before he becomes disabled, instead of becoming evil due to his disability. Nice change of pace from a too-common Hollywood trope.
He also uses a wheelchair that looks like something people would actually use in their day to day life. (Movies and television have this bad habit of putting people in outdated or hospital-style wheelchairs for no reason.)
Con: His evil karate school has absolutely no dress code beyond “wear black.” Is that any way to run an evil karate school? And don’t get me started on the haircuts! Especially that one guy! (If you’ve seen it, you know exactly who I’m talking about. It’s like he was into heavy metal then lost a fight with a weed-whacker.)
Pro: When the evil karate school people find out that Ayaka is alive and has been practicing karate all these years, they instantly view her as a serious threat. None of this “she’s just a girl” or “she’s just a kid” garbage.
Con: Her uniform for her job, at a movie theater, looks suspiciously like a schoolgirl outfit. And she changes out of a gi and into her uniform when she goes to confront the evil karate school. What kind of sense does that make?! Thank goodness for bike shorts is all I can say, or this film would have lost any remaining shreds of credibility at that point.
Pro: Included in the credits is a scene of little sister Hina Tobematsu smiling, which we found reassuring since we weren’t sure she was capable of that expression from her performance.
Con: The final boss is named Keith. Yep, Keith. ‘Cause that’s intimidating…?
So there you have it! You can use your own personal scale to figure out how much a quasi-schoolgirl outfit and a bad guy named Keith detract from a two-gal ass-kicking karate movie, and make your choice accordingly.
Personally, I’d recommend it! It was campy, cheesy, and fun, with many very confusing choices about camera angles, jumps, and even use of a smoke machine in a gymnasium. But you know what’s best for you. Good luck out there.