Monday, July 9, 2012

Karate Girl (1974)

I'm not sure where it actually started, the birth of the revenge-movie - maybe with Wes Craven's The Last House on the Left in 1972, a version of Ingmar Bergman's The Virgin Spring from 1960. Death Wish maybe, 1974? Or it just started because it felt natural, a good way to continue the gritty new style of cinema. Death Wish wasn't the only revenge movie released in '74, Bo-Arne Vibenius classic They Call Her One Eye came out and the film of the evening, Karate Girl, a Turkish rape-revenge who actually have some minor similarities to One Eye! Like another Turkish classic, Cellat, this is actually a very good movie that mixes the realism with total craziness and this makes it one of the better movies in the genre I've seen.

Blond bombshell Filiz Akin is Zeynep, a mute girl who lives with her aging father at a farm. One day five criminals, who just escaped from prison, invades the homes and kills the father and rapes Zeynep. Because of the shock of being raped, she regains her speech and decides to take revenge on the criminals. With the help of the friendly hobo Murat (Ediz Hun) she learns to be en expert shooter, manages to take a brown belt in karate and sets out to kill them all - but wait! Murat is actually an under-cover cop who wants to help her, but with the law on his side! One thing leads to another and in the end Zeynep becomes a cop to take down the last of the rapists!

I know, that sounds like the whole story - but believe me, like good old Bollywood and Thai movies from the 70's the story is so packed with details, intrigues, twists and I don't know what, that this is just a part of the adventure. Karate Girl (aka Kareteci kiz aka Golden Girl) is a fine movie with a frantic pace! I've never seen a character evolve so fast in a movie, and learn so much - I guess it all took a couple of years if we should think realistically, but that would be boring!

I think this is the first time I've seen Filiz Akin, and now I want to see a lot more. She's both a great actress and looks stunning handling a gun or kicking baddie-ass. I think she has a very slim male stuntman during the worst fights, but she's still so damn cool that it's hard not to admire her skills. Ediz Hun is also a likable hero and a good actor, a guy I would like to see more of - anyone can recommend me more titles with these two?

The similarities with They Call Her One Eye is quite small, but it almost seems like someone - maybe a producer or investor - saw One Eye at some festival (maybe Cannes?) and asked someone to write a screenplay with a mute chick who's raped and then takes revenge on the criminals - but first learns to handle a gun and do karate, and that's it. It would have been nice with a rip-off, but it's even better that it stands on it's own legs and becomes a movie of its own.

Did I mention I loved the martial arts in this movie? It's nothing perfect or spectacular, but hard-hitting and brutal. More rough and less fancy. Like it should be, if it's not Tony Jaa, Jackie Chan or Iko Uwais of course.

I got a DVD-R of this from Micke at Monkey Beach, the best little movie store in Stockholm. He probably knew I would love it. You should visit his store sometime and also see this movie if you're into Turkish action and random revenge movies from all over the world!

P.S! Jack posted some nice covers and artwork at his blog, go there dammit! 


Anonymous said...

"I think this is the first time I've seen Filiz Akin, and now I want to see a lot more."

I never heard of her either....she was/is very cute.

Never seen this film either...

"You should visit his store sometime and also see this movie if you're into Turkish action and random revenge movies from all over the world!"

One of these days maybe....thanks for the tip Ninja.


Alexander Kassberg said...

The slow motion scene seems very familar as well :)

Sounds like an excellent film though, thanks for the tip!

Anonymous said...

Tecnikly its not a rape and revenge-movie. Its a grab and revenge-movie!

Ninja Dixon said...

Well, then you know you don't have to see it, because it's more an attempted rape-revenge movie not a real rape-revenge movie.

Watch something from Hollywood instead.

Anonymous said...

Hi Ninja

I would like to know if monkey beach have an online store? I live in the UK and I remember my father telling me about so many cool Turkish movies and this is one of them! I would love to get it for him for a present. Is it in Turkish audio with subtitles?

Ninja Dixon said...

No, I'm sorry! He's just a guy with his little hole in the wall. This is a DVD-R he made from his own personal collection of tapes, and it's a rip of a Swedish VHS tape with english audio. Good movie!

Anonymous said...

Thanks Ninja

I have been able to locate a copy online. Thanks for your positive reviews on Turkish films.