Kill or Be Killed

release year: 1977
genre: martial arts
viewing setting: home Bluray 6/12/20

synopsis: A bunch of martial artists are set against each other for some ex-Nazi's wild revenge scheme.

impressions: Oh my gosh, was this corny. Not even good corny like the, this was just ninety minutes of poor filmmaking with some good karate scenes here and there. I can't do a full bad-movie-in-depth-analysis because that would take many pages, but this guy did. Anyway, I'll try to give you some highlights: a duplicitous karate midget, the main guy's super-cute karate girlfriend, forcible disassembly of a VW Beetle with an axe and subsequent transformation into a sail-powered vehicle, absolute lack of focus on the mission, old former Nazi who's delusional and holds a grudge against a Japanese guy from 1941, assembly of "the world's best fighters" into two teams of 20, resulting fights, a white castle in the middle of the desert, a character named Miyagi and someone catching a fly with chopsticks (and this was 9 years before The Karate Kid.)

something this movie has that no other movie has: numerous karate fighters working in concert to punch through a stone wall

acting: James Ryan is Steve Hunt, who's nowhere as skilled as in the sequel, and tends to lose focus on the important tasks at hand. Charlotte Michelle is his really cute girlfriend. Norman Coombes is the goofy old German baron. Raymond Ho-Tong is Miyagi, who doesn't seem to share the mental issues of his enemy. Danie DuPlessis is the clever dwarf and may do the most actual acting in this movie. Beyond these, just know that virtually every mid-level karate character from the sequel also appeared in this one, including Stan Schmidt, Norman Robinson, the leering henchman, and the Optimus.

final word: This one is just bad, but may have been a learning experience for everyone involved since the sequel a few years later was much more coherent and entertianing.

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