Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Enjoyability of Samurai Cop (1989)



There comes a first time for everything in life.  There’s the first time that a person rides a bicycle.  There’s the first time that a fire is started.  There is the first time that an animal goes on the hunt for food.  The same idea of first times for everything can be shown in terms of the Sunday “Bad” Movies as well.  The first time a movie was watched for this blog series was when Starcrash was watched.  The first time a retrospective was written was for the twenty-fifth week.  The year anniversary was the first time that a movie was rewatched within the blog series.  This week marks the first time that a buddy cop movie is covered in the Sunday “Bad” Movies.

The buddy cop movie being alluded to is a movie called Samurai Cop.  It’s not a particularly well known buddy cop movie, but it fits the genre all the same.  Samurai Cop was released in 1989.  It stars Matt Hannon as samurai-like police officer Joe Marshall from San Francisco who is brought to Los Angeles to help bring down a drug cartel.  He is paired with Frank Washington (Mark Frazer), and the two go up against criminals including samurai Yamashita (Robert Z’Dar).  Lots of gunplay and fisticuffs occur as the crime is fought in Los Angeles.

I classify Samurai Cop as a buddy cop movie because it has the makings of one, albeit a low budget one.  There are two police officers of different races, from differing police backgrounds.  They get thrown together to stop a criminal terrorizing the city.  The main character is more of a wildcard than his experienced partner.  The police chief wants to throw them off the job, but they take down the criminal anyway.  The only difference is that the police officers get along from the beginning.

Samurai Cop has a lot to like for a movie of its low budget.  For a movie that doesn’t look like it cost a lot of money, there is great action throughout it.  There’s gunplay, car chasing, martial arts, and explosions.  It’s a truly entertaining low budget film.  It might not be the best directed, acted, or scripted movie I’ve ever seen.  It’s lower on the spectrum in terms of quality filmmaking.  But all of these elements come together to create a whole that is much better than its parts.  Samurai Cop is an entertaining thrill ride.

The two biggest comparisons to Samurai Cop are Lethal Weapon and The Room.  From Lethal Weapon, the movie takes all of its good elements.  The buddy cop relationship between an older black police officer and a younger, tougher white officer comes straight from Lethal Weapon.  The memorable villain that must fight with the white police officer in the climax of the film is also present.  The Room is comparable to Samurai Cop in the sense that the direction, writing, and acting are poor, yet the movie is still enjoyable.  On top of that, there are sex scenes that are so drawn out and faux-mantic.  Those scenes feel just like all of the scenes in The Room that are of a similar kind.  You know, Johnny with Lisa, Mark with Lisa, and Johnny once again with Lisa.  Samurai Cop has the same sort of scenes.  It truly feels like Lethal Weapon meets The Room.

Would I recommend that you watch Samurai Cop?  If you’re at all interested in the movies that I’ve watched for the Sunday “Bad” Movies, I would definitely say yes.  Samurai Cop is worth a watch for sure.  It’s fun enough that you’ll have a good time watching it, and bad enough that you’ll be in awe of some of the things that happen on screen.  It’s the perfect mixture of good and bad.  It makes for something highly enjoyable.

Samurai Cop does not transcend the buddy cop genre that it is a part of.  Nor does it transcend bad movies.  But it’s a good time.  What more could you ask for from a movie called Samurai Cop?  I know I couldn’t have asked for much more.

There are a few notes I’m going to make right now:

  • Here’s the post for The Room.  I wrote about it in this post, I might as well link to where I actually wrote about it.
  • Here’s the post for Starcrash, a movie I mentioned right at the top of the post.
  • If you would like to suggest a movie for me to cover, leave a comment below or tell me on Twitter.

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