Like most of our recent coverage, Karate Kill was one of the many personal highlights to come from this year's Texas Frightmare. And because of which, I quickly sought out Kurando Mitsutake's previous film, Gun Woman. While both films are extremely action packed, I'd have to lean towards KK as the more superior of the two films.
The movie centers around a Karate master who trawls the mean streets of L.A. in search of his missing sister. While that might sound like your typical action flick, I assure you, it is one of the more exceptional films I've seen this year. In Karate Kill, singer and actor Ben Dukes plays Charlie the Attacker in the martial arts epic. Here's my discussion with one of the scarier guys from the film.
Jessie Hobson: How did you get the gig in Karate Kill, Ben?
Ben Dukes: When I was called in for the audition, I was pretty excited to get a chance to bring the big Texan to life. At the audition, I was asked to improvise a fight and apparently, the matchup read well on camera because the offer came in pretty quickly. Just a great combination of being ready for the call, and delivering when asked!
JH: Tell us about Charlie the Attacker – what makes him tick?
BD: We see so little of him, it’ll be hard to read – but Charlie is a simple guy who doesn’t like change, and doesn’t like the unfamiliar. When Kenji walks into Charlie’s favourite dive bar, he’s immediately unwelcome. He decides to take it upon himself to get rid of the invader… doesn’t quite work out so well.
JH: Can you relate to the character at all?
BD: Not entirely, but you always have to find something to latch onto. So, in my mind – Charlie doesn’t trust this guy and thinks it’s better for everyone if he is dispatched quickly… I can relate to watching out for others, so I brought that to the moment.
JH: Is this a genre you’re familiar with?
BD: Love martial arts films!
JH: How was the mood on set?
BD: The set was a great one on which to work. We functioned a lot like a team, every person having their piece to contribute. The stunt team was incredible, both with their teaching and their attention to detail/safety. Kurando gave great direction and was able to share his vision with us completely so that we could bring these characters to life – great experience.
JH: Why do you think the film works so well?
BD: I think what really sells the film is Kenji’s drive. Hayate brings such focus, power, and intelligence to the role. He is undefeatable. He can’t be swayed. You feel that throughout the whole film – no matter what he is up against, he continues to push forward. Without that, the film would crumble.. but Kurando’s vision and Hayate’s performance come together to tell a powerful story.
Be sure to check out Karate Kill on DVD and Blu-ray on July 18, 2017. If you're a fan of mindless action or any action for that matter, you will be satisfied.