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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Rina is the one to watch, 13 Feb 2014
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This review is from: High Kick Girl [DVD] [2009] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
First we get what is almost inevitable, the announcement "A Fuyuhiko Nishi film" like as if every director nowadays that we've never heard of is a budding Kurosawa, Hitchcock, John Ford etc. I find this practice pretentious and irritating.
Also when the first credits eventually arrive after an opening scene my reaction is invariably "Oh it hasn't started yet". When will talented new filmmakers arrive who, 'en masse', can do worse than revive the proven virtues of pithy snappy credits right at the start (giving us all we need to know) and then get on with it?
Nishi uses slow-motion and dramatic pauses, throwing in the odd replay action which is sometimes effective, sometimes superfluous. It's equally "A Tatsuya Naka and Rina Takeda film". They play karate master Matsumura and his impetuous girl pupil Kei Tsuchida respectively. Naka and director take the bare bones plot all very seriously whereas the impish gung ho Takeda seems more aware that this is a 'beat 'em up'/revenge exercise for all the professing that "Karate is not for fighting".
Matsumura seeks out the gang that's holding his pupil and her schoolfriend hostage. Unfortunately the gang has a vendetta on him and wants him dead.
Naka has great moments and some dud ones too. He is waylaid by a sultry piece in a kimono (the only really exotic outfit, succeeding school ones we see on other girls). Her weapon of choice is a light chain that looks as if it's part of a window shutter fitment (well, it is low budget drama).
Turns out she is a rubbish fighter. Our hero first has to sort out an annoying distraction by an attacking guy, but when he does get to her it only takes a piffling tap to put her out of action.
Also the 'man-mountain' gang head who overpowers Rina Takeda so easily is despatched by Naka in two fast moves, which is hardly climactic (the woman with the staff pole proves to be a tougher nut to crack). For the most part Naka certainly is awesome but must admit I enjoyed his pupil's duels and seeing her more vulnerable chinks, even more.
First off she obliterates a karate team of male students and their captain without so much as a sweat just to prove that other black belt fanciers are not invincible. Still more fun and mayhem occurs when she takes on a schoolgirl gang from hell (not quite so easy).
In these scenes, right to her final bruising battle in the gym confrontation with a bare-chested laughing jackass she delivers a convincing array of athletic sternum-, neck- and head-crunching kicks. Nice music score.
This is a region 1 DVD. "Making of" extras included, but are in Japanese without English subtitles.
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