Today I watched Amir Shervan’s Samurai Cop (1991)
Matt Hannon stars as Joe Marshall a San Diego cop known as samurai because he apparently trained in Japanese martial arts. He is transferred to Los Angeles to help stop the Katana gang, a ruthless group of Japanese cocaine dealers, well some of them are Japanese. Marshall teams with Frank Washington, played by Joe Frazer, and together they do the whole hot shot cops who play bu their own rules thing to take down the villainous Katana gang.
An interesting and very modern concept in film is the idea of a film being so bad it’s good, if such is the case then how does one criticize such a film, are the bad qualities that make it bad pointed out as positives and is it subsequently given a good rating? In that strain of thought, Samurai Cop has many terrible elements that make it far more watchable than many other bad films and make the experience an entertaining one. The mood it creates with it’s amateurish editing and terrible dubbing enhances content like stilted fight scenes and absurd dialogue into comedic gold. The soundtrack is rarely there when one would expect only to blare to life during seemingly random moments, which makes the few times when it actually syncs up with the action equally absurd in comparison. There is one actor in the entire film who is trying and that was Dale Cummings as the foul mouthed police chief who seems utterly surreal next to everyone else’s community theater. Finally actor Matt Hannon, after thinking that filming had wrapped, cut his hair, then Shervan realized half the footage was unusable and did re-shoots with a totally obvious wig.
There are negative elements here that detract from the entertainment though, most notably the pacing. that awkward editing works great durign scenes cutting between stilted attempts at comedy and Joe Fazer making over the top reaction expressions, but it also hurts the movie over all. Shots go on too long, scenes don’t flow into one another, and the over long sex scenes get to be just uncomfortable. While the issues keep it from being it the top echelon of so bad it’s good, they don’t fully ruin the picture.
Samurai Cop is a woefully inept attempt at cashing in on some kind of Miami Vice style action. It is defined by complete failure in every possible way, and it is pretty great. It is terrible in all the right ways to be a really entertaining ride from almost start to finish, the opening is rather rough though. Just give it enough time to get to the opening chase and then it’s just absurd entertainment all the way. I would highly recommend it for those who can find enjoyment below the bottom of the barrel. 4/5