VOCAL WORK BY
Russell Buchanan, Slique Callahan, George Faughnan, Jamie Moore, Sloane Warren, and Mimi Gentry
Mimi Gentry, Bob Clark
FilmWorks Entertainment (DVD)
This 2009 film that was originally released under the title Dixie Dynamite has finally gotten a home video release from indie distributor FilmWorks Entertainment, though its packaging is rather slight and includes downloadable desktops, the film's trailer, and a photo gallery in addition to what is essentially a standard-issue animated feature.
The action centers around the town of Westabooga, Alabama and the arrival of Dirk (George Faughnan), a mysterious Japanese man carrying a didgerido. The townsfolk happen to be a wee bit obsessed with all things Japanese and immediately take a liking to Dirk with the exception of Dewey (Jamie Moore), who also just so happens to be a kung fu expert at the local Double Death Dojo. The only thing keeping everything from really exploding is Sheriff Fuquay (also Faughnan), a narcoleptic ex-marine with a love for all things Eastern.
Directed by Bob Clark (No, not that one!), who also co-writes the film with Mimi Gentry, Shotokan Man is a fairly straightforward action/animated feature that has languished around since first being released in 2009 and hitting the film festival circuit through 2011. It's never a good sign when a film's Facebook page has been largely neglected for a couple years, especially considering the film has finally arrived on home video.
The film, as Dixie Dynamite, did play at U.K.'s Portobello Film Festival along with the El Paso Film Festival in Texas. At first glance, it seems like Shotokan Man may be a bit clever or potentially a bit of a spoof on its genre, but before long the awkwardly paced film just sort of goes through the motions with dialogue that isn't particularly imaginative and animated sequences that never really draw you in. The fights are uninvolving and the film's humor isn't particularly funny. While it's not exactly rare for low-budget animated features to utilize a small cast for multiple characters, as it's presented here it proves to be particularly ineffective.
Whatever name you call it, Shotokan Man disappoints.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic