- Year: 2006
- Starring: Tom Kenny, Carolyn Lawrence, Pat Morita
- Directed by: Tom Yasumi
- Running time: 11 minutes
Did you ever think you'd see a review of Spongebob Squarepants on Bruceploitation?? I'll admit to being lazy and this just give an excuse to sit around and watch cartoons.
Spongebob receives a videotape in the mail inviting him to Karate Island where he'll be crowned the King of Karate. Sandy Cheeks is suspicous and tags along because she knows her karate is better than Spongebob's. Arriving on Karate Island they are greeted by Master Udon (voiced by Pat Morita) and as Spongebob grows more arrogant Sandy plans to leave until Spongebob is taken hostage by Master Udon. Sandy must fight her way through the Four Floors of Fear to reach the top of the pagoda and rescue Spongebob from Master Udon's...real estate condo scam??
KARATE! Okay, I like Spongebob Squarepants, it's funny! If you've watched any Spongebob before than you've probably seen a few karate themed episodes which is mostly Spongebob and Sandy fighting to determine who is better a karate. KARATE ISLAND sees Sandy take up the Bruce Lee/GAME OF DEATH mantle to fight her way up a pagoda and save Spongebob. The Bruceploitation references could be a combination of ENTER THE DRAGON and GAME OF DEATH. The fact that it's on a island could be a nod to Han's island in ENTER THE DRAGON, but more obviously Sandy's yellow GOD suit and the pagoda, but it's not like most little kids are going to pick up on it.
I thought I read somewhere that like half the viewing audience of Spongebob are actually adults, I'm sure if that's true or not, but some of the jokes seem like they might over the head of your average six year old. The fighter on the first floor is a Frenchmen with metal claws on sticks that he uses to tickle Sandy. Yes, a French Tickler, I get it, but hopefully little kids are going to get it for anything other than it's literal interpretation. That could explain the "homages" to other films and jokes that kids might not understand as something to keep adults entertained as well.
The short also features Pat Morita as the voice of Master Udon and Spongebob even breaks out in the classic KARATE KID stance. The episode aired in 2006, six months after Morita had passed away. The end of the episode features a tribute title card to Pat Morita which was nice to see.
Nickelodeon released this episode on the DVD also titled KARATE ISLAND even though the actual episode itself only runs 11 minutes long. Unfortunately, there aren't even any other karate themed episodes on the disc, but there are seven episodes in total. The cover art has Spongbob in a karate chop pose with Sandy off to the side in a fighting pose wearing the GOD suit. It's the cover art that caught my eye on the shelf at Best Buy. I hadn't actually been fortunate enough to catch the episode on TV, so after seeing the DVD at Best Buy I went and rented it from Blockbuster. I hadn't rented there from so long, my card didn't even work and I had to show them my ID!
I wouldn't really call it an episode, it is only half the length of a tradition cartoon episode, but it was fun to watch and I enjoyed it. Plus the running time is so short even if you don't like it's not you wasted a whole bunch of time watching it. You can easily get on with your life. But if you didn't like it then you must be as OLD as dirt and have no sense of humor at all. Now get off my lawn!
Reviewed by Keith