I don’t know where to begin, and I feel that’s incredibly appropriate when you’re talking about a movie as notorious as Samurai Cop. This is one of the worst movies ever made. It’s terrible. It is so bad. And it goes so far below a zero it falls off the scale. But then it somehow comes around to be a ten.
Bad knock-off movies of popular movies were popular as all heck in the heyday of VHS during the 80s and 90s. Heck, the concept is still popular today if you fall down the right hole on your Netflix subscription.
But simply being a Lethal Weapon knock off isn’t what makes Samurai Cop. It’s the sheer incompetence behind it at every level: editing, filming, directing, acting, writing, lighting. You name it, it’s done poorly.
The director has done decent bad movies before, but this is a new level. You watch a film of his like Killing American Style and you’re just left like “well, that was bad and dumb. kinda funny. kinda uncomfortable.” but it doesn’t stick with you.
When you watch Samurai Cop, it hits and sticks with you like The Room. What is going on? Why did that happen? Who is that? Where are they? When is this? How does that work?
I’m not even sure there was a final edit of the film. Actually, I’m positive there isn’t. It seems like they had a work edit and did what they could for a day to finish the film with no proper post production. Just ship it, make what you can make off it and move on like it never happened.
The wig. Wow. So the director told Samurai Cop, Matt Hannon, he was done filming. Everything is wrapped. Samurai Cop goes and cuts his hair. Director calls him to the studio, Samurai Cop thinks this is to get his reel that he can drop off for casting elsewhere. Nope. The director still needs to shoot a some scenes. He freaks out and they drive down to a prop shop and buy a woman’s wig hoping it can pass as Samurai Cop’s glorious hair. The director says it’ll be okay.
“Don’t worry. It’s only from far away. No one will notice”
Except it was like half the movie. The wig comes off multiple times. It doesn’t look like real hair. It has volume and curls. Heck, the first scene of our titular Samurai Cop is in his hilarious wig.
There is just so much that doesn’t make sense. It almost feels like an alien algorithm watched every action cop movie from the 80’s and early 90’s and spat out a film.
The horny nurse. I don’t know what to say. This scene does nothing. There’s no narrative point to this scene. But it’s in the movie. And it’s great.
The mistakes and weird nonsense is endless:
- The lion. What is that?
- The FFWx2 Speed action scenes. The cast were all using their own cars and doing their own stunts and fight choreography. None of them were trained stunt drivers or fighters. So they just slap the x2 speed on the action so that it becomes exciting.
- Half the dudes get shot without squibs so they just do a little Ants In Their Pants dance.
- Beardy Chin man somehow survives a broken neck to commit sudoku. Sepultura. Whatever!
- You can see the film crew in the reflection of surfaces in the movie. There are shadows of the boom mic.
- There are no establishing shots. Not for scenes, and barely even for characters.
Editing is a mess. There are edit’s that follow no continuity. People are holding a black glock in one scene and then a silver revolver in others. Clothing appears and disappears in the same scene. There is some of the most “we can edit around it” action as well, but they didn’t have enough footage to edit around the mistakes in the action!
They couldn’t afford proper lighting rigs so they only shot during the day which is why the shots never line up. The colour temperature loses alignment inside the same scene. There is awful ADR that doesn’t sync up with the lips during dialogue scenes. The director does the “UGH!” and “ARGH!” voices of all the dying goons. All of them.
It is almost The Room-like in it’s nonsense. Plot lines are brought up and dropped. Characters have moments that aren’t set up. Characters just disappear. The same extras are killed multiple times.
It is 55% of a “competent” movie. One that could have been just long and forgotten in the VHS mass production boom and never seen again. But the 45% left being as bad as it is makes this movie a classic.
And it rules. Find a copy. I’ll lend you mine. And watch this bad masterpiece.