The Art of Self Defense

If this was supposed to be a Dark Comedy, they really skimped on it. Art is more accurately, a weird Drama or Thriller with a touch of Comedy. I still watched it to the conclusion waiting for the payoff which was surprising and decent.

The story is about Casey. He’s a timid accountant who seems pretty complacent in his boring life but he endures people bullying him, cursing at him and writing him off as a pussy. Then one evening Casey is brutally assaulted by a weird motorcycle gang. Weird? They wear helmets to hide their identity (bikers don’t) and were thrilled to steal a gift card for a Brazilian steakhouse. After being hospitalized, Casey is released and allowed to be on leave from his job to heal. Several days later he investigates a nearby karate dojo in a typical strip mall (who doesn’t have one near their house). The dojo is run by a man insisting on the students to only call him Sensei (teacher). Casey is intrigued and signs up for classes.

Encouraged by his initial progress and the influence of Sensei, Casey’s life begins to change. He becomes aggressive, dedicated to practicing and a little too obsessed. An example: after failing to assert himself against an asshole who dings his car, Casey finds a company that can make leather belts for slacks/jeans which are in the same colors as the karate ranks. It makes him feel more confident with his yellow belt on all the time.

Eventually you will see the dojo’s dark secrets hidden by Sensei and his inner circle of students, namely the only female member Anna.

It doesn’t sound funny based upon what I wrote but stick with it. There are some rather clever moments which may make you laugh, namely after Casey’s transformation.

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