Home > Film, Idols, Martial Arts, Reviews > Film Review: KG – Karate Girl Starring Rina Takeda

Film Review: KG – Karate Girl Starring Rina Takeda

Real-life Ryukyu-ryu Karate champion Rina Takeda takes on the role of avenging karateka Ayaka Kurenai.

On Sunday 8 May 2011, KG: Karate Girl had its international premier at the Prince Charles Cinema in London as part of the 4-day Terracotta Far East Film Festival.  The film’s main star, Rina Takeda, appeared at the venue as special guest where, prior to the start of the film, dressed in her karate uniform, she gave a brief talk.  Immediately after the film had finished, Takeda went back on stage, this time dressed in her school uniform as worn in the film, to give an impressive karate demonstration and displayed her skills with the nunchaku which was followed by a Q&A session.  The talented actress showed a lot of charm and charisma and definitely has star quality, but what about the film?

Following on from her 2009 feature debut High Kick Girl! real-life Ryukyu-ryu Karate champion, Takeda, takes on the role of avenging karateka Ayaka Kurenai.

Rina Takeda Terracotta Film Festival Q & A

As a child, Ayaka and her father Tatsuya Kurenai (Naka Tatsuya), a karate master, are violently attacked in the family dojo in Okinawa (the island where karate began) by a ruthless gang led by Shu Tagawa (Horibe Keisuke) who is determined to rid the world of the formidable karate family.  But before he is struck down with a blade and killed, Tatsuya unleashes his karate powers and takes on the thugs, crippling Tagawa.  The hoodlums eventually take off with Ayaka’s younger sister Natsuki (Hina Tobimatsu) and a family heirloom, a karate black belt that symbolises their continual triumph as the most superior karate family around, and thus, the taking of it signifies to the rest of the martial arts world that the Kurenai legacy is no more.

Ayaka lays motionless, not breathing, but is saved by her father who, before taking his last breath, resuscitates her.  Ayaka is left crying hysterically over her father’s dead body.

(Courtesy of Terracotta Film Distribution)

Jump to present day Yokohama and Ayaka has changed her name and is trying to live a normal life as a school girl and part-time cinema attendant.  But an incident at the multiplex involving a thief leads to Ayaka exposing her family karate skills which receives much attention on the internet.  News soon reaches Tagawa that the Kurenai family successor is still alive, and he soon finds out that the belt he took isn’t the genuine item either.

In order to finish the job off, wheelchair-bound Tagawa unleashes Sakura, Ayaka’s younger sister who has been brought up by the narcissistic gang leader, had her identity changed and is now a killing machine.  It’s not long before the siblings go head to head in a fight that could result in the death of either girl.  Will Sakura realise Ayaka is her long-lost sister and join forces with her to over-throw Tagawa and his henchmen, or is it too late?

(Courtesy of Terracotta Film Distribution)

Director Yoshikatsu Kimura and Producer, Screenwriter, and Action Choreographer Fuyuhiko Nishi team up once again for a fast-paced action spectacular that packs a punch, upping the game since their previous pairing effort High Kick Girl!.

Although the aforementioned film was a respectable starting vehicle for Takeda’s career, KG is perhaps a finer piece of work.  There are less slow-motion sequences this time round, but as with the earlier film, no wirework, no CG, and no stunt-doubles are used in KG; it’s about as real as it can get!

Takeda trained for over a year for this film, and it’s paid off.  The action sequences are full on and very believable; the cute but deadly karate champion executes each blow with precision and panache.  Credit must also be given to teenage martial artist Tobimatsu – discovered by Nishi at a karate competition in 2009 – who plays Takeda’s younger sister Natsuki/Sakura; she too can hold her own with much style and conviction against an attacker.

(Courtesy of Terracotta Film Distribution)

However, KG is not without clichés, most noticeably the OTT James Bond-esque – minus white cat – main villain and his bozo motley crew.   Yet, this is not to take anything away from the sincerity of the actual proficiency of the martial artists featured in the film.  Their track record speaks for itself and gives KG a certain credibility: English-born Richard William Heselton, for instance, who plays the intimidating tough guy Keith, started training in Judo and boxing when he was just 8 years old, and is now considered one of the best national karate athletes in Japan.

Takeda fans will be delighted to know that, being the main player, she appears on the screen a lot more this time round.  And the outstanding display of her fighting prowess is of course what makes KG so gratifying.  At no point do we really feel that her character is in any real danger, she seems to handle the given situations with effortlessness.  Therefore, it would be welcome to see Takeda’s acting abilities stretched a bit further in future films, possibly showing a vulnerable side, and for her to be allowed to display her feminine qualities a little more.

(Courtesy of Terracotta Film Distribution)

Takeda is still in the early stages of her career, and so, there is much more to come from this vigorous, bright, petite, lethal powerhouse.  We’ve not seen Takeda at her very best yet, but when we do, she’ll no doubt be explosive!

To conclude, KG is an enjoyable and entertaining film with high-energy fight sequences that will satisfy most fans of the martial arts genre, and should be appreciated for what it is: 80-minutes worth of pure escapism.  So sit back and watch a star in the making as she kicks the bad boys’ ass!

Exclusive Rina Takeda interview

Categories: Film, Idols, Martial Arts, Reviews
  1. May 29, 2011 at 8:02 am

    i’m gonna watch this movie definately , LOVE Karate! ❤


  2. Thabita Kp
    October 28, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    i very very like karate girl
    do you like???


  1. May 17, 2011 at 10:05 am
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  4. May 22, 2011 at 8:09 am
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  16. October 28, 2014 at 12:30 am
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