Written by: Giuseppe Rijitano on August 12th, 2010
Theatrical Release Date: Canada, July 11th 2009
Director: Andrew Thomas Hunt
Writers: James Fler (story & written by), Andrew Thomas Hunt (written by), Michael Paszt (story)
Cast: Shera Bechard, John Tokatlidis, Frank J. Zupancic, Christian Bako, Laura McLean, Patricia Stasiak, Brent Crawford.
DVD released: September 13th, 2010
Approximate running time: 85 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Rating: 18 (UK)
Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo English, Dolby Digital 5.1 English
DVD Release: Anchor Bay Entertainment UK
Region Coding: Region 2 PAL (UK)
Retail Price: £15.99
Karma (Shera Bechard) is a mousy but beautiful mute Russian girl that signs up with an agency to get into Canada in the hopes of working as a housemaid to send some money back home to her family. Unfortunately the agency are actually a human trafficking and prostitution ring but then Karma isn’t all she seems either. Dodging the agency goons on arrival in Canada she follows them and watches as they transport and begin to train their fresh victims at a low-rent motel and even skeezier strip-club. In flashback we discover that Karma’s sister was one of the many naive girls tricked into this life and after hearing of her death Karma discovered the truth and set out to seek revenge on the people responsible. Infiltrating the strip-club and the world of the ruthless Russian mobsters involved she begins to take vengeance on them one by one……
Directed by first-time feature director and native Ontarian Andrew Thomas Hunt this is something of an homage to the 70’s rape-revenge, femme-fatale flick genre; it certainly recalls cult classics such as Ms. 45 (aka Angel Of Vengeance) and to a greater extent They Call Her One Eye (aka Thriller: A Cruel Picture) in it’s portrayal of an introverted mute girl that goes apeshit on her abusers. It also does quite well in it’s evocation of that gritty, grainy, 70’s exploitation vibe. Overall it’s a competently filmed almost low-key little indie thriller that is let down only by it’s at times amateurish acting and storytelling. The frankly gorgeous Shera Bechard is actually very good as the titular Sweet Karma, but then her performance is a silent one and little is required of her other than she look alternately annoyed and sad – oh and the audiences main instance of suspended disbelief in this film; why the hell does a shy Russian mute girl have massive fake tits? The only other performance of note is by Christian Bako as one of the Russian mobsters; an amoral, crude, violent, coked-up, arsehole that is the main (speaking) attraction of the film and appears to be the flick’s primary bad guy until he gets bumped off about half-way through the story! Huge mistake really as that just leaves a bunch of faceless mobsters and a couple of background higher-ups that we barely recognize from earlier in the film for Karma to go after – Bako really should have been one of Karma’s last stops on this revenge train.
So it does start to lose it’s way in it’s latter half somewhat with the last minute addition of a Serpico-like, undercover, hero cop and a ridiculously staged and badly shot cat-fight. That said it’s a well paced film that keeps the viewers interest throughout it’s sub-90-minute runtime. In the end this is a competently put together indie homage to a forgotten cult genre. Despite what the film’s promoters say (and the OTT dvd cover art), this shouldn’t be compared to the high-octane action likes of Nikita and Kill Bill, that path leads to inevitable disappointment for the flick’s renters and may even help bypass the people who might enjoy this film the most!
1.85:1 anamorphic transfer is very good considering what it has to work with; it’s intentionally been shot as dark, grainy and gloomy and that all comes across in this transfer even featuring instances of dirt on the film. Besides that the contrast levels are good, colors vivid, when there are some. Audio is English 5.1 featuring clean and clear dialog and the understated score comes through nicely balanced, also included is a stereo track that is just as good.
The only extra is a trailer which actually does a nice job of selling the flick for what it is and not over-hyping it as an action blockbuster.