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This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

Karate Kid Goes Mental

The Art of Self-Defense (2019) on IMDb

Plot Overview

accountant at deskMilquetoast Casey Davies (Jesse Eisenberg) resembles a dismissable character from an Anthony Horowitz ‘James Bond’ novel: “a youngish man in his early thirties, perhaps … an accountant with his neat hair, his thick glasses, and his slightly timid manner. For him, playing cards in the south of France would be a huge adventure, although he would be fighting not to go over his personal limit” (62). Here Casey loses the fight, first to some muggers on a dark night, then to the bureaucracy surrounding a gun purchase, and finally to his better sense coming under the spell of gonzo dojo sensei Leslie (Alessandro Nivola.) He's better off staying home and watching TV.


The bare bones lesson in this story is fundamental:
(Prov. 1:10-19) “My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not. If they say, Come with us, let us lay wait for blood, let us lurk privily for the innocent without cause: Let us swallow them up alive as the grave; and whole, as those that go down into the pit: We shall find all precious substance, we shall fill our houses with spoil: Cast in thy lot among us; let us all have one purse: My son, walk not thou in the way with them; refrain thy foot from their path: For their feet run to evil, and make haste to shed blood. Surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird. And they lay wait for their own blood; they lurk privily for their own lives. So are the ways of every one that is greedy of gain; which taketh away the life of the owners thereof.”

Casey finds himself being groomed to be a bully by a for-profit karate club that terrorizes a city to increase its member­ship from fear. “Art of self-defense.” Right. Ironically, their grand master had been shot to death by a hunter mistaking him for a bird. “Surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird.” Violence only returns upon its perpetrators; being fore­warned by this proverb, the reader may take heed.

Production Values

” (2019) was written and directed by Riley Stearns. It stars Jesse Eisenberg, Alessandro Nivola, and Imogen Poots. There aren't a lot of spoken lines in this picture, and what there are get delivered dead­pan in a cloying, dark humor. As such the challenge was not to over­act the part, which the actors accomplished admirably. There's no musical back­ground except for Casey's brief foray into heavy metal. The settings are limited enough it could have been a play. MPAA rated it R for violence, sexual content, graphic nudity and language. Damaged in the picture are: fire­arm dependence, a red­neck's pickup, a cute dog, the reputation of the French, a lot of bruised egos, and a few sudden deaths.

Review Conclusion w/ Christian Recommendation

Misogyny and toxic masculinity abound in humor that's not exactly tasteless but wouldn't appeal to any feminists I know. More than any­thing the movie's disquieting. I don't see this one as being a hit with the general public, but aficionados of quirky, dark humor might get a kick out of it—ha, ha. It's more a slick movie than a serious promotion of martial arts.

Movie Ratings

Action factor: Edge of your seat action. Suitability For Children: Not Suitable for Children of Any Age. Special effects: Well, at least you can't see the strings. Video Occasion: Late night fare. Suspense: Keeps you on the edge of your seat. Overall movie rating: Four stars out of five.

Works Cited

Scripture was cited from the King James Version, Pub. 1611, rev. 1769. Print.

Horowitz, Anthony, Forever and a Day. Copyright © 2018 Ian Fleming Pub. Ltd. & The Ian Fleming Estate. New York: Harper­Collins Pub., 2018. Print.