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Review The Martial Arts Kid (2015): Good intentions alone aren't enough!

genre: drama, martial arts

The Martial Arts Kid is partially funded with a kickstarter campaign. And apparently a sequel is in the works which also is going to be (partially?) funded with a kickstarter campaign. I wasn't aware of these facts until I tried to track down a copy and then found out that the options to purchase this title was very limiting. The only place you can purchase this film is directly from Traditionz Entertainment Inc. (producer of the film) or indirectly from them on Amazon. I did the latter. If I knew then what I know now I wouldn't even have bothered.

Mind you I was digging the anti bullying angle and the play on The Karate Kid. Plus the whole concept of having real martial arts people display real martial arts is something I can appreciate. Except that still doesn't mean you can exclude all the elements that are needed in order to make a good film. The acting mostly is painful and horrible. Only veteran Cynthia Rothrock and lead Jansen Panettiere did a decent job. The story was awful. I mean the trailer sold a premise I could stand behind. However the way it was executed just makes me sad. Almost nothing happens. The bullying is tame and barely shown. If you want to make a statement you will have to expose and display it like it is. It's not something you can sugarcoat. Ok. I can overlook this as long as there were some elements in the film that were full of conflict. Or at least were dramatic that had some kind of impact. There was one scene that managed to do this. Then a lot of cliché (teen love) scenes occur interchanged with scenes of famous or important martial artists.  Nice and all if this were a documentary or something but wasn't this supposed to be a dramatic film with story and I quote what Traditionz Entertainment had put on their kickstarter website:

Not since the FAST AND THE FURIOUS has a movie screen had this much high octane action! Your face will melt from the heat of the battles! This will be the greatest ensemble of real martial artists since ENTER THE DRAGON and FORCE FIVE!

Excuse me! That is the film I signed up for but never got. Obviously I had taken above statement with a grain of salt after having viewed the trailer. However I felt that there was a charm to the trailer. It looked like it had real potential to be an excellent feelgood film and perhaps even a greater martial arts film. Instead it felt like a home movie made in the spur of the moment where a bunch of friends got together and shot the film for fun. I am sure that they were having fun. Unfortunately I wasn't. And I really was rooting for the film to prove me wrong. The fight between Don Wilson and T.J. Storm could have been the highlight. But it was standard stuff and not even that well choreographed. Actually it pains me to say it but the choreography throughout was quite awful. James Lew was in charge of this. The same guy who did a far better job with a similar title called Underdog Kids. One of the reasons why I was so hyped for this. 

To add further insult they end the film on a cliffhanger indicating a sequel is coming. Either this always was the plan and didn't care about it's succes or they were very convinced this was going to be a hit. Look, I truly wished I could tell you that this film is the phenomenon as advertised. But it simply isn't. All the good intentions in the world can't change that fact. If you were hoping for some martial arts goodness you will be heavily disappointed.

The Martial Arts Kid is not worth your time!

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