Posts Tagged ‘karate’

The Art of Self-Defense

Thursday, January 23rd, 2020

THE ART OF SELF-DEFENSE is an odd little indie comedy about karate. I wondered if it would be too similar to THE FOOT FIST WAY, the early Danny McBride movie that jibed so well with my sense of humor that when I first rented it I watched it two times in a row. Come to think of it, this movie’s sensei (Alessandro Nivola, AMERICAN HUSTLE) has a philosophy of punching like a kick and kicking like a punch, whatever that means, and that could be called a “foot fist way.” But this is a very different movie. The humor is very dry, the dialogue seems precise as opposed to improvised, and the protagonist is a timid nerd who transforms rather than a blowhard who is just a total asshole from the beginning.

The timid nerd is Casey Davies (Jesse Eisenberg, CURSED), an awkward accountant for an unnamed company. The bros in the break room don’t appreciate him trying to join their conversations, his best friend is his dachshund, and he gets stomped by random motorcyclists while trying to buy dog food. I love the slightly surreal touches that convey his loneliness: the news report that describes him as “a 35 year old dog owner,” the robotic answering machine voice that says “you have only 1 message.” (Though not obviously tied to a specific time period, it’s one with audio cassettes, fat-ass analog TVs and large camcorders with carrying bags.) (read the rest of this shit…)


Thursday, February 10th, 2011

tn_scorpionSometimes you find a movie you never heard of, and you just have this feeling that this is the one you’ve been looking for, this is gonna change your life.

But usually you’re wrong. Especially with this one. Some day I gotta learn that just because the cover is printed in special inks derived from 92% organic awesomeness doesn’t mean the movie itself is gonna even be possible to sit through. 1986’s SCORPION is a prime example of a movie where all the greatness was used up in the cover photo and none was left for the movie. (read the rest of this shit…)

Karate Bear Fighter

Monday, June 26th, 2006

The second in Sonny Chiba’s Oyama trilogy is even better than the first one. First of all, no rape scene. Second of all, he becomes more of a classical badass who gets to show off different facets of his badass powers. There’s alot of scenes where he’s in a situation that would make most people nervous – like when a powerful gangster tries to hire him – and he just gives off a Just Don’t Give A Fuck vibe, sometimes even munching on food instead of paying attention to people (always a favorite of mine since Dirty Harry foiled a robbery while eating a hot dog).

Oyama takes the job with the gangster, which is a great chance for him to wear shades, a white suit and a long white coat over his shoulder, and scare everybody without saying a word. (read the rest of this shit…)

Karate for Life

Monday, June 26th, 2006

The third and final entry in the Oyama trilogy starts out in pretty much the most badass way possible. A narrator explains that at this point in his life, Oyama liked to go around to different dojos and make challenges to prove the power of his karate.

So he struts into this dojo wearing his karate clothes, but also with his white gangster coat draped over his shoulders for extra style points. When the students ask who the hell he is he explains that he’s come to challenge their sensei.

I think this sensei is the same guy he’s been feuding with all throughout the series. At any rate, the guy pretty much tells Oyama that he’s an asshole for going around picking fights, because that’s against the whole idea of karate. And it’s a good point. Still, the sensei agrees to a fight, sort of. He’ll fight Oyama, but first Oyama will have to fight 100 of his students. Ha ha ha. (read the rest of this shit…)

Karate Bullfighter

Wednesday, June 21st, 2006


KARATE BULLFIGHTER is the first in a trilogy starring the great Sonny Chiba as his real life mentor Masutatsu Oyama. Apparently it’s based on a comic book called The Fanatical Karate Generation. Despite all the crazy titles this movie is really sort of a fictionalized biography of a visionary karate instructor who causes an outrage by rejecting the notions of the time. He pisses everybody off by saying that modern karate is just “a dance” and lamenting that he wasted his time by training for 3 years. He does win a big trophy in a tournament that supposedly means he’s the best karate man in Japan, but when a guy compliments him he gets all pissed off and throws it down some stairs.

It’s a real interesting story but let’s be honest, you’re not gonna watch it for an interesting story. You’re gonna watch it because it’s called Karate Bullfighter. This is because in the first half of the movie Sonny is practicing karate on the beach when suddenly he hears that a mad bull is loose. He figures maybe he should help so he saves a little girl from being gored and then wrestles the bull. He literally grabs the bull by the horns, then figuratively goes for the jugular by literally karate chopping the bull in the head until a beautiful shower of samurai movie/Dawn of the Dead style bright red blood sprays out. This is actually kind of creepy because they have a real bull for alot of shots and it looks like they somehow forced his mouth shut so he couldn’t bite. (Some of it is also clearly a fake bull.) (read the rest of this shit…)