Description (from the IMDb):
It’s 25 years later, and Detective Frank Washington is forced to team up with his long estranged partner Joe Marshall to solve a series of assassinations.
Matthew Karedas as Joe Marshall, Mark Frazer as Det. Frank Washington, Bai Ling as Doggé, Kayden Kross as Milena / Jennifer, Tommy Wiseau as Linton, Cranston Komuro as Fuj Fujiyama, Laurene Landon as Det. Higgins, Melissa Moore as Peggy, Mel Novak as Cutter, Lexi Belle as Hera, Nicole Bailey as Tessa, Mindy Robinson as Lauren Kimura, Shane Ryan as Leonard Sakai
For Sale Version Includes: Audio Commentaries with Mathew Karedas, Mark Frazer and Gregory Hatanaka moderated by Dave Robinson, Trailer, Still Gallery, Deleted Scenes, Behind the Scenes Featurette
Well hole-lee crapola that was a trip. I recently became aware of SAMURAI COP 2 because of Shane Ryan, a filmmaker that I had reviewed before. This was a movie that he was acting in, instead of being behind the camera, and it seemed like it might be a lot of fun. He put me in touch with Gregory Hatanaka, who was kind enough to get me access to a Vimeo screener. After watching SC2 I felt like there might have been some, well, “subtleties” is not the right word because SC2 is anything but subtle, but there was something I was missing. Gregory supplied me a link to SAMURAI COP, the 1991 film that was “lost” for a long time before having an audience re-discover it on DVD in the last few years. Now I get it.
The first SC is inept action filmmaking at it’s best/worst, and it’s ridiculously ridiculous. Random fights, piece meal scenes, lots of boobs (even Robert Z’Dar gets a sex scene, and I can’t remember seeing that before!), ah-mah-zing dialogue and even better dubbing, and even a brief moment where the Samurai Cop’s hair comes off! Seriously. I am really glad I went back and watched part 1, because at first I just thought part 2 was really badly made, but now I know this is referential to the movie that spawned it.
The story of SC2 is, well, a bit hard to follow at times but basically Det. Washington is back (even though he was supposed to turn in his badge at the end of part 1) and someone is murdering bad guys and leaving behind rare Japanese style tokens. Washington hunts down the maker of the tokens, 400 miles away, and finds none other than Joe Marshall! Joe has given up the sword, and is not interested in getting involved, but when ninjas (one with a gun) attack out of nowhere, that vow of peace goes right out the goddamned window and shit gets kicked. I’m not going to make this a book report and tell you the whole plot, hell I couldn’t even follow the whole plot, but there are then lots of random fights lots of boobs and lots of blood. So, right in line with the first film.
There are a lot of things I really liked about SC2. The first thing that really struck me was something I don’t often think much about – the color correction. The lighting and color work in this film is somewhere between SUSPIRIA and a Dutch impressionist painting, and overall I really liked it. There were a few scenes where it goes over the top, and then there were a few scenes where its complete absence is noted, but overall SC2 was a really pretty film to watch. The composition of the shots was nothing special, it was all rather utilitarian, but the strokes of color in the shots were really enjoyable. The film itself was obviously shot on a great camera (which is one reason that the bits cut in from SC stand out so much, that and the fact that everyone is a quarter century older) and the sound quality was really good as well. The production in general is really well done. Along with the production are the fight scenes… sure, many come out of nowhere and don’t make much sense plot-wise, but they are really well choreographed and a lot of fun.
Another piece that I had a lot of fun with was, in the spirit of the first film, how bat-shit crazy ridiculous this movie is; the ridiculousness meter definitely goes to 11! From the “mole” in the organization being named “Mola Ram” (which I heard as “Mole-a-rama”), to breaking the 4th wall (a throwback to the first one, though I’m not 100% sure it was intentional in SC), to various dead characters for the first film re-appearing in this one with no rhyme or reason, to the white Japanese guys (like the aforementioned Shane Ryan playing Leonard Sakai, which throws back to the very white Robert Z’Dar playing Yamashita), there is just a whopping overload of “we forgot to take our crazy pills today” going on in SC2. And that’s awesome.
There were some things I really didn’t like too though. At first I had some big problems with this film, many of which were alleviated once I saw the first flick and figured that a lot of it was intentionally bad to refer to the unintentionally bad first film; that I am ok with. However, there are some issues that cannot be written off as such. The plot in SC2 is so random, so disjointed that I was often getting lost and saying to myself things like “How did Joe just show up in her kitchen making her breakfast?” and “Where did that smoke come from in this execution scene… that’s a lot of smoke!” There are a plentitude of character and location subtitles throughout the film that got on my nerves, but by about the beginning of the third act I realized that without many of those subtitles I would have been EVEN MORE LOST than I already was.
To add to the randomly meandering plot and story, there were a bunch of unnecessary scenes and unneeded dialogue that really could have been cut to make SC2 flow much more quickly. This is a 94-minute film that would have been better served being somewhere around 80 minutes. There are random sex scenes that make no impact on the plot of the film… and don’t get me wrong, I’m ok with boobies, and I know too that this happened in SC so I get it, but there were so many that built up to so little (for example, the lesbian 3-way with Bai Ling and her cronies) that I began to wonder if this might have a director’s cut as a porn. Funny enough, there are quite a few of the female characters that are played by porn actresses and at least 1 porn director in this film, so I might not be far off!
Finally – and this is a personal thing but I’m sure many of you may share this opinion – I hate CGi blood. Almost all of the “gore” in SC2 is After-Effects level cheesy blood. The first film was a total cheese-fest on the gore (every person every time grabs where they were shot, then you get to see the blood), but at least it was practical gore. The CGi blood looks like there are about 3 different options, and two of them were used over and over and over again (option #3 was used once, and while it was fun in how over the top, LADY SNOWBLOOD-esque it was, the CGi aspect still pissed me off). No CGi blood! Please!
Overall, some good, some bad. Some pretty, some pretty annoying. More than anything though, SC2 is FUN. Lots and lots of fun. No, this is not an Oscar contender in any way, shape, form, or whim. SC2 is a great movie to sit around and have a few drinks and laugh at, and would be even better as a double-feature with the first entry. There is obviously a lot of love and reverence to the first film, and it is amazing to see them back-to-back. This was a really fun movie and I will end up buying it I’m sure… hey Gregory, how about a Blu-Ray 2-pack with both films? Hint hint hint…
Overall 6.5 / 10