- Movie: Samurai Cop
- Director: Amir Shervan
- Starring: Robert Z’Dar, Matt Hannon, Jannis Farley
- Rotten Tomato Rating: none
A Little Context
After “Things” I wanted to get back to the classic B-grade action movie. I think most people have seen at least a few 80’s action movies. There are awesome ones like “Die Hard” and “First Blood” but there are quite a bit more of the cheesy-but-awesome variety. I’m talking “Commando,” “Cobra,” and “Bloodsport.” Trying to capitalize on the fighting-and-guns craze is a little gem called “Samurai Cop.”
Take a look at this trailer:
Let’s start with the characters in this movie. Did you notice the guy in the trailer with the big jaw and the beard? That’s Robert Z’Dar. Despite getting top billing Robert is not the movies long-haired hero. That honor goes to Matt Hannon, he plays samurai cop Joe Marshall. Joe is a super cop who is skilled with a gun, with his fights, and with katanas. He also has amazing hair and an unreal ability to pull in ladies. Also, no shorts for him, he likes to swim in speedos. Basically, he is THE man. His partner is cool-black-guy Frank Washington. While good with a gun, Frank’s role seems mainly to exists so the camera has someone to cut to when Joe hits on or gets hit on by a woman, or just does anything particularly awesome. And speaking of, this movie cuts to Frank a shocking number of times. Frank is often in the center of the frame and occasionally looks directly into the camera when delivering his reaction face. It’s bizarre.
Joe is brought in all the way from San Diego to fight a dangerous LA-based Japanese gang. I had to look it up afterwards but apparently the gang’s name is actually Katana, which is weird. I suppose it would seem exotic if no one knew Japanese, but considering everyone is either Japanese for familiar with Japanese culture, naming the gang what is essentially “Sword” seems lazy. The movie climaxes in a katana showdown between Joe Marshall and Yamashita (played by Robert Z’Dar). Fortunately for Joe Marshall, and for the audience, gang members aren’t afraid to get into one-on-one martial arts duels. There is nothing really of note here about the plot. It is extremely generic and predictable. However, if you want to sit down and watch an 80’s action movies, this tends not to be a concern.
Like a lot of B movies, what really stands out here is execution. The best way I can describe the feel of this movie is that it seems like some kind of old foreign martial arts movie dubbed in English, except “Samurai Cop” isn’t foreign. The dialogue sounds like it was dubbed later. Sound effects are comical and poorly mixed. The dialogue itself is often campy and unrealistic. Which should be very clear from the trailer.
The visual aspects of the film are also clumsily done. Actors are often too low in the frame. Or too close to the camera. The car chases are very obviously sped up. As I mentioned before, for some reason Joe’s partner Frank is cut to A LOT for no longer than a second. Basically just to get a “I can’t believe it!” reaction face. Another interesting aspect of the film is the frequent nudity. Three different people get sex scenes. And they’re all uncomfortable. Not as bad as “The Room,” but they certainly aren’t sexy.
Bottom line: this movie has it all.
But Can I Drink To It?
Yes, definitely. “Samurai Cop” is a fantastic bad movie. Highly recommended, especially in a party setting.
- “the boss” – DRINK for 3 seconds!
- someone looks into the camera (probably Frank) – DRINK for 5 seconds!
- Un-sexy sex scene – DRINK for as long as it’s awkward!
- Stereotypical gay waiter is stereotypical – FINISH your drink!
Here is the edition I watched and where you can find it: Samurai Cop on Amazon Instant for $2. It’s also available on DVD for $10.
Post by: Tyler P.
Tyler Phillippi is a former improviser and musician. Now, he mainly focuses on getting through his Netflix queue. Contact him at email@example.com