Karate Warrior 2 (1988)

That’s a fine pout

Making its third appearance in an ISCFC review is a new favourite low-budget Italian movie trick, the “boat in New York harbour”. Want to look like you filmed there, despite you not having the money to do so? Well, sail a boat with one or two actors in it to Manhattan, get a nice shot of them against the skyline, then go back to whichever cheap location you had – in this case, Miami – and make the rest of your movie. If you’re anything like director Fabrizio De Angelis, you’ll film palm trees and stuff that says “Miami” on it in big letters and not even worry one bit!

Or, you know, he could have been going from New York to Miami at the beginning of the movie, and the terrible dubbing might have tricked me. I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed. But we’re back with part 2! Of a series that I only checked out because Ted Prior has a tiny role in this one! Fun fact – he must have realised he wasn’t going to get much screen time, as there’s a scene in a dojo where he’s wearing a gi with “Ted Pryor” (his screen name at the time) written on the back. Good work Ted!

But as he’s barely in it, so we’re not going to talk about him too much. Kim Rossi Stuart returns as Anthony, who’s gone back to the USA to visit his grandparents then go to college – his parents, who were also USA-bound, are never mentioned again, and he (I think) breaks up with his Filipino girlfriend in a phone call right at the beginning. If you were wondering if he’s as big a dick to everyone around him as he was in part 1, then the answer is “yes, only more so”. He knocks over a couple carrying their shopping and causes the arrest of a few guys by kicking their car as he bikes past, which makes them chase him – he ducks out of the way while they get stopped by cops, then bikes past them with a cheeky “have a nice day”.

Then…gets a new car from his grandparents, and while he’s taking it for a drive (in the middle of the party, which is never referred to again) he annoys a group of local thugs and they run him off the road into a pond. Car destroyed! He hitches a ride with someone who insists, before he gets in, that they become friends – he goes to the same college, although as they’re on a random stretch of highway nowhere near anywhere, I’m not sure why either of them assumed that about the other. Anyway, new best friend Luke (Winston Haynes) also puts him up in his huge mansion and serves him food – the only thing he has in the entire mansion is champagne and caviar. Perhaps this is how the director thinks all Americans live? Luke also tells Anthony that the group he messed with are “The Tigers”, college bullies – not sure they’re a thing that exists, but whatever – and are all karate experts too.

If you thought the plot of part 1 was thin, then part 2’s is positively transparent. He goes up to the gang of toughs (who, remember, were minding their own business until he pissed them off) and challenges their leader to a real in the ring style fight – their leader being the charmingly named Dick (Christopher Alan). And Anthony hits on Dick’s girlfriend too, to the point he dumps her and allows his friends to physically threaten her – just stopping short of rape, so, thanks movie!

So anyway, he wins the fight despite the Tigers cheating, and gets the girl despite her not particularly wanting him at any point, so the Tigers hire the founder of their evil organisation, who I think is called Tommy Bull, to come back to town and kick his ass. To get him to fight again, they threaten to break Luke’s neck – Tommy holds said neck while talking about defending the honour of the Tigers, which is a curious juxtaposition of image and dialogue. But whatever.

Master Kimura comes to town to spout more of his rotten philosophy, we get another fight, etc. And that’s that for another in this series of “Karate Kid” / “No Retreat No Surrender” (but only the first one) ripoffs! Anthony remains among the least likeable of all movie heroes, but in this, unlike the first, there’s no-one to cheer on as the bad guys are also super-evil.

Everything’s ugly and sort of poorly filmed and dubbed, and the budget is probably even lower than the last one as Anthony does his special punch…but the rubbish blue light effect doesn’t show up. I mean, how can you tell he’s performing what is essentially magic? And how does the blow that can knock a tree over not instantly kill the person he’s doing it to?

Annoying git wins and wins and wins, is the lesson of the first two parts of this franchise. Parts 3-6 were so unwanted by the American viewing audience that they’ve never been translated into English – the only way you can watch them is on an Italian DVD, which only comes with Spanish subtitles. So that’s the end of all that nonsense, and we can move on to “Deadly Prey”. *

Rating: thumbs down

  • I just discovered that part 6 is available in English but life’s too short.
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