Karate Warrior 4 (1992)

Karate Warrior 4 German DVD CoverWith no English-friendly version of this fourth film in a series of six Italian Karate Kid rip offs, it was left to an Italian language (with Greek subtitles!) DVD to finally tell this, the most afterschool special-ish of all Karate Warrior’s missions! But without knowing any Italian or Greek, could any of it make a lick of sense to me? Trick question! Even in English, I don’t understand half of what’s happening or why in these movies about a dweeb in a sissy yellow robe!

But then again, the themes, particularly in Karate Warrior 4, are universal! In any language, revenge is pure awesome and even though I didn’t get to experience all the nasty things the evil Japanese kung fu punk said to Karate Warrior or his sister, or understand exactly why he pretended to like Karate Warrior’s sister, but then somehow humiliated her in front of his friends, I couldn’t wait to see his neck snapped or back broken in the inevitable brawl that would surely conclude the film!

And you don’t need to speak any European-style jibber jabber to know all about hating your dad! Heck, if my dad was Italian film legend David Warbeck and he spent most of the movie in a bathrobe malingering in a Veterans’ Administration hospital, I’d be a little pissed off at him, too!

Really though, the most important theme for the young people watching at home has to be learning about the danger of diet pills! In a move that will surprise no one who saw all the crazy crap the fat friend of Karate Warrior engaged in during Karate Warrior 6, Porky is now milling around the school and nightspots hawking bottles of diet pills!

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But what seems like a harmless after school job to earn money to buy more Ring Dings and Moon Pies, turns almost deadly, but certainly hilarious when Karate Warrior himself is slipped an overdose of them in his drink right before the big kick fight against the Japanese dude!

As every schoolchild who slept through health class in fifth grade knows though, the only way to counteract a substantial quantity of grey market wonder drug is a steaming cup of Karate Warrior’s sensei’s patented Tae Kwon Do Cure All Miracle Tonic & Roundhouse Kick Liniment!

Once Karate Warrior chokes it down, there’s no doubt he’ll be ready to be beaten within an inch of life during the final fight until the last minute when sensei will perform his patented Far Eastern Head Rub and Relaxing Scalp Massage which will unlock the fearsome karate powers within Karate Warrior that gloriously put his last opponent in a wheelchair!

Wheelchair? Crippled another man in the ring? How in the hell can Karate Warrior ever fight again? Wouldn’t any sensibly haunted hero turn his back on the way of life that caused him to permanently maim another (but no doubt deserving) warrior?

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Give Karate Warrior some credit! He did quit the fighting biz! He even destroyed the glass case someone erected in front of his college which celebrated his vicious win with pictures of the loser in a wheelchair! But then they had to go and beat poor old sensei’s ass when they were trying to rob his restaurant!

We all know what that means! An initial confrontation with the offending gang where Karate Warrior sprays them with a fire extinguisher followed up by some pretty lame training montages.

Maybe Karate Warrior was just planning on relying on his head massage during the match, but running a couple of steps on a pier, trying to balance on a railing and shadow boxing with the 150 year old sensei is not how I imagine world class kick studs prepare for the most important battle of their freaking life since the last most important battle at the conclusion of their previous film!

True Karate Warrior fans know though that you don’t watch one of his films to see him half assing his training or even to see his short, unconvincing outbreaks of martial arts mayhem.

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All that is merely the window dressing for director Fabrizio De Angelis to toss off the bizarre moments that make these films the memorably abominable rapid fire series of punches to your movie-watching solar plexus you perversely crave!

So it is that you’ll be chortling when Porky gets beaten unconscious while taking a piss at a urinal. And you can’t help but giggle when it’s time for the final showdown and it takes place in a cramped room at the local karate school which is located on the second floor of a scuzzy-looking strip mall!

The greatest moment of the film (and perhaps of De Angelis’ entire directing career) takes place at the beginning of the big dirt bike race in a junkyard between Karate Warrior and the bad guy when we see the chubby dude holding up the trophy and announcing the start of the race is none other than porn legend Ron Jeremy!

When the Hedgehog takes a breather from boning chicks to appear in your film, there’s really not much left to say, is there? You almost have to feel bad for Karate Warrior 5. Unless it has Jeff Stryker officiating a beach volleyball game or something.

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