Kali Karate: The 2nd Beginning
Found footage films are nothing new these days. They’re relatively inexpensive to make and the production quality issues can be excused away by the art style of the sub-genre it belongs in. KALI KARATE: THE 2ND BEGINNING subverts the found footage film trope by delivering a funny and witty mockumentary akin to a Christopher Guest joint.
Directed by Sean Russel Herman, a sleeper hit about his character Sensai Houston and their search for love and redemption…through blackmail. Herman excels in creating unlikable characters that you still somehow root for.
Starring a fun cast of characters that the viewer will definitely get “where do I know them from” vibes from including Shu Man Tuan (Fresh Off the Boat, Kill Bill, The Kroll Show) and Josh Plasse (iCarly, The Baxters, Tangled), this movie never takes itself too seriously and allows the actors to have fun with their roles.
After losing his television show and his wife, Sensai Houston does everything he can to keep himself in the spotlight in the hopes that success will lure his ex back to him. In the process he creates a comic book based on himself, and a talk show called Kali Karate that feels a bit like if Between Two Ferns and Primetime Glick had a child.
The production value seems low, but if you really look closely, you can tell what parts are left shoddy on purpose, and where the production budget was actually spent. You can see the labor of love put into Kali Karate: The 2nd Beginning if you suspend disbelief enough to just roll with it and have fun.
The send-up of toxic masculinity the movie presents is spot-on timing-wise for the era we’re all living in right now and the inherent sadness of the main character’s existence is at Michael Scott levels. The pacing is consistent through the film and the jokes land scene to scene.
In general, it would be difficult to sustain a film like this in a feature presentation, but the director manages to keep enough variety in his scenes to make his character interesting for the entire (roughly) hour and a half runtime.
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