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Karate Killer (1976)
"Kill or Be Killed" (original title)

PG  |   |  Action, Drama, Sport  |  17 June 1976 (South Africa)
4.9
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Ratings: 4.9/10 from 245 users  
Reviews: 15 user | 2 critic

Two former ranking figures of the Axis powers schedule a deadly martial arts tournament in an isolated locale. The two rivals then race to assemble the top competitors from around the world... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
James Ryan ...
Charlotte Michelle ...
Olga
Norman Coombes ...
Baron von Rudloff
Daniel DuPlessis ...
Chico
Raymond Ho-Tong ...
Miyagi
Ed Kannemeyer ...
Ruell
Douglas Baggott ...
Luke
Stuart Parker
Jorg Henrichsen
Steve Coetzer
Klaus Zungler
Phillip Gerber
Bevan Bagott ...
Karateka
Ian Bell ...
Karateka
Pieter Burger ...
Karateka
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Storyline

Two former ranking figures of the Axis powers schedule a deadly martial arts tournament in an isolated locale. The two rivals then race to assemble the top competitors from around the world, with Steve Hunt being the most sought after fighter. Written by JD-2 <Badge19@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Greatest Hollywood Martial-Arts Movie ever Made! See more »

Genres:

Action | Drama | Sport

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

17 June 1976 (South Africa)  »

Also Known As:

Karate Killer  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Filmed in 1977, the film was released three years later to capitalize on the martial arts genre that was sweeping the USA at the time. See more »

Goofs

Most of Steve's high jumps are just filmed with him jumping down and then played in reverse. See more »

Connections

Featured in Dusk to Dawn Drive-In Trash-o-Rama Show Vol. 5 (1998) See more »

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User Reviews

 
To Kill, One Must First Fight...or something
11 October 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

MASTER PLAN: have the winning team in a deadly tournament. One of several martial arts action pictures that attempted to capture the flavor of the famous "Enter the Dragon" from '73, this one is an effort from South Africa. The villain's stronghold is a bit different, appearing as a white castle-like fortress in the middle of the desert from a distance. The villain himself, a Baron or general, is a slightly more perverse version of the "Dr.No" or Han mold of master villainy, having strange flashbacks to the glory days of Nazi Germany. He does wear the full regalia Nazi uniform at some points. His main ambition in life is to hold an illegal martial arts competition/tournament against his Japanese rival, an extension of their complicity in the 2nd World War (my army is better than your army). It sounds silly and it is, though the suggestion of madness and crazed machismo almost works. The central hero, Steve Chase (Ryan), resembles a white 'Bruce Lee' character, having a similarly lean, lithe physique, though obviously not on the same level of martial arts expertise. I thought he would be some secret government agent here but apparently not. He and his girlfriend have joined the Baron's team of fighters, but decide to quit (what did they think they were getting into?). Of course, it's not that easy. There's an odd sequence of them escaping through the desert using a wrecked car with a rigged sail - those desert winds can do wonders for travel, it seems.

The plot kind of meanders in the 2nd half, as the hero joins the team of the villain's competitor and the girlfriend is held hostage by the villain in a cell, under threat of rape by the hero's rival. The most interesting character turns out to be Chico, a dwarf who is the villain's assistant; he's loyal to the Baron but is sympathetic to the plight of the hero. Much of the fighting utilizes the ballet-like capabilities of the hero, with a lot of leaping and slow motion. The sound FX are also amped up and exaggerated in an attempt to add more impact to the blows. There are a few good fights during the tournament towards the climax, but none really stand out. If one had to pick, I suppose the best involves the brutish muscle man-henchman of the Baron, introduced late in the story (he lifts the back of a car at one point). You wonder how the hero will take him out at the end, since the brute seems to shrug off most of the punches. The acting is very mediocre, descending into camp as far as the girlfriend, who tends to laugh for no reason, as if she's high on grass, though she is very cute. Some of the training scenes are also campy, especially all those guys running over or rolling down the desert sands. And, with such a title, there's surprisingly few actual killings. Ryan, as Steve Chase, returned as a traditional agent in the sequel "Kill and Kill Again." Hero:4 Villain:4 Femme Fatales:4 Henchmen:6 Fights:6 Stunts/Chases:4 Gadgets:2 Auto:3 Locations:5 Pace:5 overall:4+


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