Thread: Japan, 2009: High-Kick Girl
7/14/2010 2:07pm, #1
Japan, 2009: High-Kick GirlHigh-Kick Girl
A high school girl training in karate seeks out stronger opponents to test her fighting skills on, only to become involved in a revenge plot by a gang of thugs against her master.
In addition to Hong Kong, Japan now faces stiff competition from Korea and Thailand when it comes to producing martial arts movies and martial arts superstars. High-Kick Girl introduces Rina Takeda, a young Japanese idol who holds a black belt in Ryukyu Shorin-Ryu Karate, hoping to develop her new film career into the next action franchise. However, with incredibly low standards of production quality going into this project, I would be surprised if anyone even bothers to learn the actress’s name, much less watch her next movie. With poor writing, bland performances, and altogether lackluster direction, High-Kick Girl is a boring, contrived, and visual mess, failing in just about every aspect of the genre and film-making as a whole.
The script’s pacing has no sense of drama or tension whatsoever, and none of the dialogue is captivating at all. We are thrust from one event to the next without any idea of who is important, what is happening, or why any of the characters are doing anything at all. Coupled with single-note performances by the entire cast, the movie drags on for the entire hour and twenty minutes that it spans. Normally, these sorts of things would be tolerable in an action movie, which provides the real entertainment in between the moments of bland plot forwarding. However, in the case of High-Kick Girl, the failures of production penetrate every level of the film, leaving nothing worth watching. With ridiculously excessive amounts of slow-motion, the camera work does nothing but emphasize the terrible choreography and execution by the stunt team. Often, they will repeat entire stunt sequences in slow-motion, using the exact same angle as we’ve just seen. This pointless gesture just pads the movie further and makes it obvious how little material the team actually had to work with. Removing all the slow motion and repeat cuts, the film as a whole would measure around an hour, if that.
Thematically, director/writer Fuyuhiko Nishi treads the same clichéd martial arts tropes of “self-defense and protection only” and “fighting is wrong, and is a last resort only.” However, without any affinity for the leading characters, the message falls flat and Takeda’s arc feels less like the development of self and more like an abrupt shift of personality compelled by the plot. Unless you have some massive fetish for Japanese school girls in action, there is absolutely nothing redeeming about this film. It is a disappointment as an action flic, fails as a plea for traditionalism, and lacks any impact as a cathartic work of art at all. If we are to see more of Takeda as a rising film star, hopefully it won’t be anywhere near Fuyuhiko or his team.
7/14/2010 2:09pm, #2
I just got that from Amazon on Monday (along with "Black Belt"). I haven't watched either yet but will post my 2 cents when I do.
7/14/2010 11:35pm, #3
- Join Date
- May 2009
Why didn't you just post the title?
7/15/2010 9:39am, #4
Awesome. Shorin Ryu."We often joke -- and we really wish it were a joke -- that you will only encounter two basic problems with your 'self-defense' training.
1) That it doesn't work
2) That it does work"
7/15/2010 10:19am, #5
- Join Date
- Apr 2005
- Germantown, Maryland
Caught it on NetFlix. I liked it. It was goofy/hokie...but I thought maybe that was the point. It was a decent waste of time.
7/15/2010 10:58am, #6
Seriously though, it's a good movie, great fight scenes all around with crisp technique being displayed. I don't enjoy martial arts movies anymore (except old school silly Kung Fu B-movies for lols) or even action movies in general, but I enjoyed this. I think they struck an excellent balance between making the fight scenes realistic while making it movie-fu enough to look good.
However, I almost pulled my hair out at the end when you hear the girl's voice over scenes of the instructor kicking ass, "Omg every move is from the kata". At the EXACT moment she says this, the instructor is clocking someone with a hook kick.
Quick! What Shotokan kata has hook kick in? HINT: NONE OF THEM
I almost gave myself a concussion from facepalming so hard.
Edit: I strongly disagree with the reviewer btw. The repeating slo-motion scenes while annoying at first were great once you got used to them, and showed the same sequence from different angles in order to let you see footwork/angles/etc. It's especially helpful for the instructor's fight scenes, because he pretty much just takes everyone out in 1-3 moves and you really wouldn't be able to appreciate the beauty of the choreography otherwise.
Shotokan has performance art fighting in it already, it's called enbu, which is basically what the instructor is doing. It's not your standard movie-fu, it's traditional demo-fu, and being able to see his angles, footwork, etc. from different camera angles is huge--otherwise it'd just be like watching a Steven Segal movie where he runs around instantly killing/maiming everyone.
While I wouldn't say it had an amazing plot, I think there was one theme (humility/having a beginner's mind) which was treated very well.
Last edited by maofas; 7/15/2010 11:13am at .
7/15/2010 11:40am, #7Originally Posted by maofas
it took some getting used to
7/16/2010 2:26pm, #8
Using is a couple times is fine, that helps sell the impact of the moment. When you abuse it though, like this movie did, it crosses the line into eye-rolling territory. Also, the slow motion really displayed a lot of mistakes in choreography and execution, most notably in the last fight scene. A lot of movie-fu relies on speed and camera angle to sell impact, which means if you're going to take away the speed, you need to make sure you get the right angle. The cinematographer didn't do this, and the fight scenes suffered for it.
If you contrast this film with something like Ong Bak 1, which also used the repeat-cut, you can see a stark difference in the action sequences. Part of this might be the decision in Ong Bak to use full contact in their fight scenes, but the other is in the camera work and *select* use of repeat cuts.
12/07/2010 11:15pm, #9
The following is without reading any of the above posts.
'If you want to be strong, practice kata.'
Dojo storm. Awesome.
That water fight scene was pretty good. One guy did a flying head butt and got chopped in the back for it haha.
Some nice acrobatic flips and attacks.
That Muay Thai girl was pretty fit. I'm going to spar like the crazy laughing guy from now on. Was that guy in kung-fu silks doing a double leg takedown? No wonder the master just sunk his stance then pushed him off. 'His moves, they're from the kata.' Yes, they seem to work since half the gang members are attacking with chamber hand lunge punches. Everything that white aikido guy was wrong, you shouldn't atemi, you have to wait for the attack! I like the special guy from jail got up, I thought he turned into a zombie or something.
I like this movie, they're actually hitting each other. Instead of choreography cut-aways that seem like hits were really hard. A lot of technique as well is attacking the base, something I have troubles doing.
At the end during credits, they showed that chop to the neck in the final attack of the waterfall scene. Looked like he really KOed the guy as he floated there in water for a bit.
Conclusion: Okay movie, if you could warn someone that there will be slow-mo replays. At least in the slow motion replays you could tell that there actually was contact between the actors.Surfing Facebook at work? Spread the good word by adding us on Facebook today! https://www.facebook.com/Bullshido
12/08/2010 8:10pm, #10
Plus I know the Kata. I learned it in Shorin Ryu, in which I am an orange belt.
Last edited by crappler; 12/08/2010 8:15pm at ."We often joke -- and we really wish it were a joke -- that you will only encounter two basic problems with your 'self-defense' training.
1) That it doesn't work
2) That it does work"