First of all this is black comedy, Jesse Eisenberg is a wimpy office underling who is victimized by a criminal gang and because of his poor combat skills, decides to take up karate to protect himself and to improve his self-image and fighting spirit. He proves surprisingly adept in his training and advances steadily under the watchful eye of a puzzling, intimidating sensai.
Acting are respectable and definitely something to watch online, but hobbled by a screenplay that is choppy (no pun intended) before it loses luster and veers off to its surprise ending. Eisenberg does his best as a cardboard protagonist, the loser extraordinaire with a thankless job, a small dog, an ’80s television set and who seemingly was born to fight absolutely no one. He is upstaged considerably by Alessandro Nivola who gives a formidable, bravado-driven performance as the magnetic sensai, the real life of the film. Imogen Poots is a welcome presence as the strong-willed sole female student. Even with a muddled script, the acting is enough to keep things afloat, just barely.
As long as credibility is not your test, you can free download The Art of Self-Defense (2019) which could make for weird, passable entertainment. In a very narrow way, the full movie in HD succeeds as a silly diversion, chock full of deadpan humor, ferocious jolts and just enough taste for blood that the squeamish should be forewarned. In the end, however, it goes down as clever, if inconsistent comedy. Not recommended, except to esoteric and casual viewers.