Release date: Nov. 30, 1991
Directed by: Amir Shervan
Starring: Robert Z’Dar, Matt Hannon, Mark Frazer, Gerald Okamura
Box office: n/a
Police officers Joe Marshall and Frank Washington team up to stop a renegade Yakuza gang looking to lead the Los Angeles drug trade.
A straight-to-video film, Samurai Cop is an entertaining attempt at filmmaking, showcasing how a good concept does not automatically turn into a decent product. The idea of a policeman trained in the ways of the samurai bringing down a Yakuza gang in Los Angeles could be appealing in its uniqueness. However, this film ends up being an aimless mess that takes itself far too seriously and endeavors to be a violent, dramatic crime film. Instead, the viewers are given a film containing a bizarre plot involving numerous gratuitous sex scenes, poor writing, lack of direction, wooden acting and plodding action scenes.
Said action scenes seem to meander along. Yet, rather than taking a methodical approach, giving its viewers a slow build leading to an enjoyable payoff, this film throws the audience uninteresting action scenes where the pacing stumbles around haphazardly. The worst offender is the final sequence seeing Marshall and Washington raid the gang leader’s compound in an effort to end the gang’s reign. What should be the most exciting aspect of the film becomes a slog with no redeeming qualities other than how comical it can be in its cheapness. There is another action sequence midway through the film depicting Marshall and Washington fighting some henchmen in a parking lot. This scene is just as exciting and lasts much longer than it needs to as well.
No actor in this film gives a good performance nor does anyone have any semblance of chemistry with who they are working with. Hannon and Frazer as Marshall and Washington both come off as if they met and were given their lines the morning of shooting the first take and none of what they say is believable. Further, Cranston Komuro as Fujiyama, the film’s main villain, acts without any sense of subtlety. Everything he says and does is seen through a lens of him going so far over the top to make it so his villainous acts and what he says become more humorous than they are malicious.
This film is bad in every way possible. Nevertheless, it is at least amusing in its efforts at telling a compelling story.