When Japanese organized crime imbeds itself within LA, the police turn to one man to take down the deadly Yakuza — Maniac Cop himself, Robert Z’Dar as Japanese authority and martial artist Joe Marshall, aka “The Samurai.” With his fearless swagger and rock hard jaw, The Samurai tears a two-fisted hole through the mob and doesn’t stop until the job is done. The director Amir Shervan preceded Samurai Cop by the cheap video classic Hollywood Cop in 1988. ~ Jeremy Wheeler, Rovi
The race to the top of the bad movie mountain is an interesting trek. While awful movies come out every week most of them are forgotten within a year. Still some stick out as being so bad they’re good and that’s how I heard about Samurai Cop. I heard about it on a few forums and such but never gave it much thought. It took a glowing review from the Gentleman’s Guide to Midnite Cinema podcast before giving it a shot. Was it really the heir to the bad action movie throne or was it just another forgettable action movie?
On the surface this movie has all the trappings to be the new “best worst movie.” When it comes to violence Samurai Cop can get pretty over the top. It will be some standard late 80’s fighting when out of nowhere a guy’s arm will be cut off and spray out like it’s Shogun Assassin. It certainly outsleazes movies like Miami Connection and Troll 2 by including some extended, Skinemax style sex scenes. While there is the expected bad acting it’s the costume department that really shines. Star Matt Frazer has one of the most hilariously unconvincing wigs I have ever seen. In single scenes it will switch from his real Fabio-lite hair to a wig obviously made for a woman. His partner, the typical sassy black cop, shooting perps in all denim everything. It’s the kind of fashion tragedy Joan Rivers would kill for.
Yet I can’t put it in the pantheon of bad movies. What makes movies like Miami Connection or Birdemic special to me is that despite their specified genre they tried to be so much more. While Birdemic was a bad imitation of Hitchcock it also wanted to sell you solar panels and that global warming would cause animals to attack. Miami Connection, beyond all the amazing music was one of the most hilarious anti-drug PSAs you will ever see. To me that made them special. Samurai Cop, no matter how insane it can get, is just a buddy cop movie. A poorly made one but a buddy cop movie nevertheless. Still with this much ridiculous and inept film making it’s certainly up there. Lets just say it’s a prince compared to the kings of bad movie making (Miami Connection and The Room obviously). Hopefully the sequel can get it right.