Executioner 2: The Karate Inferno (1975)

Genres - Action  |   Sub-Genres - Action Comedy, Gross-Out Comedy, Martial Arts  |   Run Time - 85 min.  |   Countries - Japan   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Anyone looking for a straightforward action-adventure need not bother with The Executioner 2: Karate Inferno -- the action is cartoonish, the plot is chaotic, and the film often stops cold for moments of goofball slapstick and smutty bodily-function humor. That said, this film remains a favorite with Sonny Chiba fans for its nose-thumbing approach to cinematic coherence. Indeed, The Executioner 2: Karate Inferno can be a lot of fun if the viewer does not take it seriously. Everything about it is intentionally anarchic, from Teruo Ishii's surreal style of direction to the deliberately childish humor, and the end result plays like a three-way collision of James Bond, Bruce Lee, and the Three Stooges. As a result, The Executioner 2: Karate Inferno couldn't be conventionally described as "good," but the film is full of moments likely to fascinate devotees of the bizarre; highlights include a scene in which the heroes try to act refined in a fancy restaurant and get everything wrong, Sonny Chiba taking an unusual approach to putting out of a fire during a heist sequence, and the final fight scene, which carries its brutality to outrageous extremes. In short, The Executioner 2: Karate Inferno is only for fans of the most eccentric cult fare, but said fans are likely to find its juvenile surrealism positively trance-inducing.