Rina Takeda made her debut with High Kick Girl. While the film was not as impressive as many had hoped, it did help put Takeda on the map. In KG, she pairs up with the original High Kick Girl team and also adds a younger star to the mix, but would they be able to learn and grow from their past mistakes, or simply repeat the same ones over again?
I’m going to be as nice as I can here. I have no idea who wrote the story, but it is awful. The whole movie revolves around a belt. I get it’s the prized Kuro-obi of a skilled master, but it is really enough to create an organization around and kill people for? Can one belt really make or break a school’s reputation? I mean, can’t it just be reported as stolen? What I’m trying to say here is that there isn’t enough for the audience to feel connected to the story or the characters.
This….it’s all about this
The characters don’t fare much better in KG. Takeda doesn’t show any more depth to the character she played in High Kick Girl, granted she didn’t have a lot to work with. The sisters that are pit against each other really has no emotion, and in kinda unnecessary, to be honest. Of course, the biggest offender of character is the main villain. I cannot, for the life of me, understand why he makes such a big deal about this belt. On top of that, he kidnaps the youngest sibling and trains her to be a killer, yet decides both her and the older sister must be killed to end the family name itself. Why!?
I can tell you that KG is a lot better in this department simply because of the toning-down of one certain aspect: slow motion. High Kick Girl was used this effect way too many times, and it made me hate the fights every time they came up. Just trust me, it was really awful.
Now, with the assistant director or High Kick Girl directing KG, things are a little better. I’m not saying the fights are going to be memorable or thrilling, just better. There are some nice athletic feats from both girls, but the pacing is still too slow and some hits don’t connect at all. If you tolerated High Kick Girl, KG won’t be as bad, but it still can’t hold up to other films of this day.
Own it, Watch it, or Skip it?
KG takes a few steps in the right direction, but it still doesn’t have what it takes to be taken seriously. The plot needs to be much better (I’d associate with a Buddha head more than a belt) and the action still needs improving. I think that Rina can be a great asset to Japanese cinema if they know how to use her (and this means no more schoolgirl outfits. I thought this was a sequel to High Kick Girl for the longest time.)
I’m really hoping that Japan finds its identity in the martial arts genre, but it has a long way to go before the rest of the world will take it seriously. High Kick Girl was awful, but KG does enough right that if you want to see what Rina is capable of, I’d suggest it over High Kick Girl.