In 2012, I invited you all to The Room. In 2014, we made the Miami Connection. And now, in 2015, I will introduce you to the Samurai Cop. Directed by Iranian expat Amir Shervan, this is one of the most inept films ever made... and it’s a riot! Ever since the Red Letter Media (Mr. Plinkett) guys mentioned it, I’ve wanted to see it. And now I have. Fasten your seatbelts.
Watch this (kinda NSFW) trailer. I’ll be right here.
Pretty crazy, huh? The, uh, plot involves… oh, f--- it. What plot? There’s a Japanese gang, known as the Katana Gang. They’re expanding their turf and our hero cop – the titular Samurai Cop aka Joe Marshall – is brought in from San Diego to kick some ass. The end. Seriously, that’s it. The gang is led by Fujiyama. He has some henchman. Marshall has a wise-cracking black partner, Washington. They have a grouchy captain. Marshall hooks up with a hot lady cop as well as the villain’s hot lady friend. Plenty of guns are fired, though with one or two brief exceptions, I’m not sure there’s any actual Samurai on display. If there is, it’s not from Marshall, who we’re told is a master yet he looks like some surfer dude. Seriously, this is one of the great “so bad, it’s good” movies and I highly recommend watching it with some friends. Smoke ’em if you got ’em!
“You son of a bitches!” The actor tried to fix it but Shervan (who also wrote the film) wouldn’t have any of it.
Matt Hannon plays Marshall. He looks the part but he’s not a great actor. The only remotely recognizable face in the film (emphasis on “face”) is Robert Z’Dar, who plays a henchman named Yamashita, despite being very much American. Z’Dar suffers from cherubism, which is why he looks the way he does. From watching the film, it’s clear the B-movie favorite is having a blast. His is an imposing presence and he takes the material completely seriously. Another henchman is played by Gerald Okamura, an actual martial artist who’s appeared in several films and TV shows. I can’t say I’m familiar with the rest of the cast: Fujiyama is played by Cranston Komuro and Mark Frazer plays Washington. He and Hannon have good chemistry, though you get the impression that the two guys made up all their schtick on the spot. The hot lady cop is played by scream queen Melissa Moore. Uh, she does good work. [smile]
the wig yet! So the film wrapped and several months go by. In the interim, Hannon cut his hair, only for Shervan to ask him to come back for re-shoots. Horrified with Hannon’s new haircut, Shervan made him wear a wig. Fair enough. Well, the reshoots must have taken a long time because Hannon spends half the movie wearing this ridiculous mop! It changes from shot to shot and even slips off in one fight scene. It’s un-effing-believable! Let’s see… what else. Oh yeah, the locations. The locations look like the filmmakers just happened to stumble across them. Multiple inserts were filmed in Shervan’s office and one backyard fight scene looks like it was shot in three different places! Poor Mark Frazer (Washington) has several scenes where he isn’t acting with anyone – the director simply told him, “Make a happy face. Now a sad face.” The film cuts from a two-shot of Hannon and another actor to Frazer and it’s obvious his close-ups were filmed out of context. There’s a scene in the police captain’s office where both Hannon and Frazer were filmed separately for their close-ups and it shows. To be fair, this is often SOP when it comes to filmmaking but, you know, most filmmakers try to make the shots match!
Samurai Cop 2!! That’s right – the original gang is back together for a sequel!! I’m not familiar with the filmmakers but they promise to make a real movie this time, but with some inside jokes for fans. Hannon and Frazer are joined by a trio of porn stars (whose names I may or may not have recognized)... actress Bai Ling... The Room’s Tommy Wiseau (!)... and George Lazenby (!!). I don’t know what to expect but I’ll be there on opening night!
If you love bad movies, I can’t recommend this highly enough. If you value things like story and character, not to mention semi-decent camerawork and sound, then maybe it’s not for you. Hannon was recently interviewed by the RLM guys and he comes across as a cool guy who’s just as baffled about all this as I am. I wish him the best of luck.
“What happened? Are you out or in?”
“Baby, I'm always in.”