Karate Warrior (1987)

Karate Warrior PosterThe road from Karate Wuss to Karate Warrior is an arduous one, requiring the sort of sacrifice and commitment not found easily in these days of miracle pills, quick fixes, and grade inflation. Truth be told, it was a lot easier to find a person willing to forgo the trappings of his earlier life back in the late 1980s after the success of The Karate Kid. And since this is an Italian movie, the karate kid here is Anthony Scott, a 17 year-old American with a dubbed 30 year-old voice that sounds like it’s coming from an alien trying to translate from its native language in real time.

Anthony is played by Italian Kim Rossi Stuart and director Fabrizio De Angelis (The Last Match, Cobra Mission) foolishly attempts to trick us into thinking this kid really is from America by dressing him in a T-shirt that features a professional football team’s logo on it. Perhaps owing to Fabrizio’s complete lack of grasp of American culture, the football team featured is the Jacksonville Bulls. As in the Jacksonville Bulls of the United States Football League.

The USFL is probably most famous for its victory in its antitrust trial against the National Football League where it was awarded $1 in damages (trebled to $3). The USFL is probably secondly most famous for having Karate Warrior as its number one fan!

Karate Warrior comes to visit his father (Aenigma‘s Jared Martin) in the Philippines. It takes all of about five minutes in Manilla for Karate Warrior to start flashing his wad of cash around while buying some food, making him a target for some local thugs. After getting his ass beat, his lunch money and Walkman stolen, and left in a heap in a back alley, Karate Warrior makes his triumphant return to see his dad. Of course, right before that he also manages to run afoul of local karate champ/gangster Quino.

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Quino tries to run Karate Warrior over with his motorbike so Karate Warrior starts giving him some lip. When his dad shows up, he makes Karate Warrior apologize to Quino and since he’s still more Karate Wuss than Karate Warrior, he does it! I was looking at this as a positive for Karate Warrior since any future beating Quino would dish out would be nowhere as humiliating as his daddy making him say he’s sorry for almost getting run over!

Karate Warrior settles into local life and starts romancing one of the homely locals, Maria. They end up at the local karate tournament where Karate Warrior proves he is as stupid as he is wimpy by shouting at Quino to stop hurting some guy during a match.

Quino comes out into the crowd to confront Karate Warrior and Karate Warrior gets one of his many laughs from the viewer when he uses a camera flash to blind Quino and then kicks him in the nuts before speeding off on his motorbike!

Karate Warrior turns out to be a champion motocross racer (he later tells his dad that he even won a race back in the States!) and puts it to good use since Quino and his gang are in hot pursuit. He and Maria execute a spectacular jump across a damaged bridge that leaves Quino crashing into the water. But there’s a hitch in Karate Warrior’s scheme. What he didn’t account for was that Quino would just come by his house later to beat him to death! Dang! But even a master tactician like Karate Warrior can’t account for all the strange twists and turns in life, can he?

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For the second time in the week or so since he’s been in the Philippines, Karate Warrior absorbs another beat down and is left in a heap. This time though he is found by Maestro Kimura! The Maestro is the most awesomest karate teacher in the Orient!

We know this because he trained the five time champ, Quino and because the Maestro has retired to live in the woods as a hermit, forsaking his karate teachings since Quino turned to the dark side of the Force. But we mainly know this because of his bald head, his nonsensical, but wise slogans, and most of all, his glue-on kung fu beard!

Clearly what is needed to heal Karate Warrior is a training montage. Thus we are treated to Karate Warrior learning how to fish with a bamboo spear, how to flick nunchucks around, how to stare down a bored leopard, and how to fight blindfolded. But it is only when Karate Warrior demonstrates his mastery of the Dragon Blow on a cow that he is finally ready to re-enter the world of men!

What is this Dragon Blow? It’s this cheesy special effect where you punch something, there’s a weird laser beam noise, some animated blue light, and whomever you punched falls over. Somehow the Maestro used the Dragon Blow to punch a piece of paper and caused a tree to be destroyed. Whatever. Try punching a cow, you pansy!

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It is now time for Karate Warrior to don the sacred (and quite sissy) Golden Kimono for the final showdown with Quino! Surely, Karate Warrior’s knowledge of the Dragon Blow will make him unbeatable! But knowing the secret of the Dragon Blow unfortunately does turn you from a Karate Cretin to a Karate Genius so we have to watch Karate Warrior fight Quino without remembering to use it!

Only after suffering another beating and having his head rubbed by the Maestro and being blindfolded, is he able to use the Dragon Blow to drop Quino like he was a big, stupid cow!

This is a nice little flick since you instantly hate Karate Warrior for being such a dimwitted doorknob and he spends most of the movie getting beat up. But you will also love him for the way he manages to combine the dumb look permanently carved into his face with the sometimes halting and always hideous voice dubbed over it.

And watching Maria and Karate Warrior run through the grassy woods in slow motion towards each other once he’s completed his years, I mean ten days, of training will have you believing that maybe two nasty-looking folks can find true love, though Karate Warrior may want to rev up his blindfold training in anticipation for the honeymoon. Surprisingly, only five sequels followed.

© 2015 MonsterHunter

3 thoughts on “Karate Warrior (1987)

  1. Boyd

    Ah, I watched one of the sequels of these…thing! I believe it was the fourth one, where a friend of Karate Warrior -a chubby guy- fakes being run over by some Arab prince’s limo (!!) and he uses the compensation money to pay for his and his friends’ Greek vacation! They are quickly ripped off of their money by paying to see a “real” mermaid, and meanwhile Karate Warrior runs into trouble with some local bully. They even have a bike race, and everything ends with the “big karate tournament”, badly written on a canvas, with his old teacher and parents going all the way to Greece to support this idiot. What an amazingly funny bad movie! I’d love to watch the flick that “started it all”!

    Reply
  2. admin Post author

    That happened in “Karate Warrior 6” and he takes the gang on a shopping spree at JCPenney’s before heading off to Greece to meet the mermaid. It was a great way to close out a special film series. Of course, we’ll have reviews of all the Karate Warrior movies posted in the near future. As a bonus, we’ll even have a review of another Fabrizio De Angelis movie, the unrelated but equally awesome “Karate Rock” with Antonio Sabato, Jr.!

    Reply
    1. Boyd

      Six! WTF, that’s a looooong series of rip-off movies done on virtually no budget! I can’t wait for your next review, especially “Karate Rock”!

      Reply

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