High Kick Girl!

High Kick Girl!


Reviewed by: Lee Griffiths

No wires. No stuntmen. Just pure, undiluted, high-kicking action. That's more or less the promise of Fuyuhiko Nishi's stripped down action flick, a modestly budgeted affair in which special effects are replaced by actual, eye-watering combat.

Newcomer, Rina Takeda, plays Kei, a high school student and karate expert who strives for greatness but feels that her sensei, Mastumura (Naka Tatsuya), is holding her back. Out of frustration, Kei decides to join a rival clan, The Destroyers, who would allow her the freedom to grow as a fighter. However, Kei is unaware of The Destroyers' intentions to overthrow her old master's dojo.

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Directed and co-written by first-timer, Fuyuhiko Nishi, High Kick Girl doesn't boast much in the way of characterisation or, indeed, story, but the film more than makes up for the lack of gripping narrative with a selection of impressive fight sequences.

Takeda, complete with short plaid skirt and some seriously fancy moves, is mesmerising as the title character (and, as promised, this girl can kick high – really high!), while the supporting cast provide a showcase of exceptionally choreographed scuffles. Instead of the combat passing by in the blink of an eye as it does in so many martial arts ventures, the action in High Kick Girl is shown blow for blow, often in slow motion and repeated in order to allow the audience to fully savour and digest the majestic magic of the martial arts. Indeed, there's nothing quite as exhilarating as watching Rina Takeda stomping the shit out of her opponents with the aid of a slow-motion replay.

Certain wire-fu aficionados with a soft spot for the more dizzying and adrenaline-pumping choreography of say, Yen Woo-Ping, may find High Kick Girl's antics a little too restrained and a tad repetitive, though for many, Nishi's debut provides an invigorating experience and a welcome alternative to the glitz and glamour of the in-vogue Wuxia movies.

Reviewed on: 19 May 2009
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A high school girl and highly skilled karate expert sets about proving herself as the ultimate fighter.
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Director: Fuyuhiko Nishi

Writer: Yoshikatsu Kimura, Fuyuhiko Nishi

Starring: Rina Takeda, Naka Tatsuya, Akihito Yagi

Year: 2009

Runtime: 81 minutes

Country: Japan


Terracotta 2009

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