Samurai Cop (1991) – The Dead Silence

Oh, yeah. So bad it’s good, baby. I like this trope because I enjoy it. Not that, these films are a great movie or something. But, there is a magic touch why I always watch it repeatedly. Tommy Wiseau’s “The Room” even I don’t know how many times I’ve watched. I’ve also watched Claudio Fragasso’s “Troll 2”, another so-bad-it’s-good movie. I watched this film when I was about 10 years old if I was wrong. Yet, for Amir Shervan’s “Samurai Cop”, I don’t know what to say. It’s just another gem that critics don’t see this film too closely.

A brief history, Amir Shervan, roughly, directed 30 films in his lifespan. “Samurai Cop” was his last legacy until his death in 2006. After the Iranian Revolution, he moved to Cali and directed many so-bad-it’s-good movies from 1987 to 1992. Being a filmmaker during the Iranian Revolution wasn’t an easy matter for the director especially Shervan. At the time, Iran banned all American content, culture, and films because they contained anti-Islamic elements and so on. This makes his career as a director paused first. That’s when he moved to the United States and started his magnum opus on “Hollywood Cop”.

Being a director wasn’t an easy job besides he also often used improvisation acting and dialogue. This happened because English became his second language. Apart from gaining many Iranian audiences from 1950 to 1980, Shervan, ironically, was mentioned as a b-movie director who directed various types of cult-classic. Ironically, Iran calls Shervan as one of the most respected filmmakers in his country. However, he died when his career peaked in the United States as a b-movie director.

So, what do we expect from beautiful acting from Mathew Karedas (as Matt Hannon) and Mark Frazer? It’s a hardcore porn story, almost, with a buddy cop stereotypical as the sub-plot. Just think about porn films, one tape sex in the 80s. And then, you got an adventure against a lot of “Japanese” people if not mistaken. And then, a guy name Yamashita (Robert Z’Dar) showed up on the screen; introduced himself as the Katana gang member. In a city in Los Angeles, a woman stood with her ridiculous, innocent face. The lead character throws a question like “are you Mr. Fujiyama” or the guy asking “what’s Katana means?” or something like that.

Surprisingly, this Fujiyama guy played by Cranston Komuro (should check on IMDb because they didn’t put his name on the end credits). In some unique cases, the actor who cast Fujiyama was still vague yet I’ve never seen his name mentioned even on opening or end credits. But, our story still continues to the lead character named Joe Marshall. He was our savior, our Jesus of Suburbia, and a “Samurai”. Because he was so skilled in “sword”, he called himself a “Samurai”. He speaks “Japanese” fluently; even though I don’t know that it was Japanese. Yet, our character leads together with his black partner guy – that’s all folks – it comes across one of the most horrifying and terrifying action sequences.

There was a woman who piloting a helicopter. Rumors say that the helicopter she drove suddenly disappeared. The docks never showed the helicopter there. It’s just stuck like a glitch or something. Where was she? On the other hand, Fujiyama seems to dislike his dissidents. This also applies to his henchmen where he doesn’t really care. There was a nurse who pretended to be like in a sex movie with Hannon. The nurse trying to flirt our savior. And his partner was just like “yeah boy”. But, I know what makes “Samurai Cop” so unique. Because this movie teaches what the true meaning of “Katana” was. It means “Japanese sword”, goddammit.

Yeah, I watch too many “The Room” in this case. I can say that this film deserves an in-depth analysis instead of other films. In fact, you have some fun trying to nitpick one scene to another. But, “Samurai Cop” has a decent timeless classic even you have many favorite scenes. My favorites are Matt Hannon who uses the “Japanese sword” and Hannon’s inspirational speech to Fujiyama about America and Japan.

With such countless time, I thought about how people like Amir Shervan could direct this film. He was the s-class director by then, now, and forever. There was a scene when it came to action and then, a blonde girl appeared wearing a bikini. So awkward. The quality was like watching a Fake Taxi and even the cinematography seems inspired by it. The lighting, which the movie never sets at night, was truly unique. There are so many improvisations between dub and actor dedication. And Karedas’ phenomenal fake wig. It’s just so historic behind why he has to cut his hair.

“Samurai Cop” is a series about a piece of the action, about the cops, about the gang members, about everything. But, the movie, besides the porn as the major theme, has a lot of great choreography. There was an airsoft gunfight between gunfights, the funny chase scene, the bad guy and good guy, dramatic scene, martial art, sword fight, and combined with a great 80s electronic score. And just don’t forget when Yamashita hit guard by guard with great “Hey, wait a minute!” dialog and fantastic well-written script.

0.5 out of 5 stars.

Salman Al Farisi

An Indonesian who loves to watch and read everything. A literary student who likes to write about reviews and essays on Crackdown Review. But, I just wannabe critics who love arthouse than anything.

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