Samurai Cop is a wicked movie. It is nonsense, but it is hilarious nonsense. And a big part of that is how honestly it was meant to be a good movie, or at the very least, a “real” movie. The best bad movies were made the intent of being good movies. Samurai Cop 2, on the other hand, is a bad movie trying to be a bad movie. And that’s never as much fun.
On the bright side, they did manage to make this on a budget of $62,000. So I guess keep that in mind too. This is a tough movie to make because how do you even make it? It’s a fan funded sequel 25 years later to a lost tape found in a box in a castle turned cult classic film.
This is a hell of a lot more than I could have ever done with that budget and the director is an honest-to-goodness fan of the first film. But that almost becomes an issue because instead of a love letter you get fan fiction. And not just regular fan fiction, fan fiction that wants to use the Captain America “I understood that reference!” joke as much as possible.
They tried to make the movie better by making it absurd. They tried to give it a style by having everything lit by coloured bulbs. So much of the movie is tinted red and blue that I wonder how it’d look in some classic red-blue 3D glasses.
The contrast is turned up so everything looks sickly colourful. It’s worse than in Ghosbusters 2016. Its like they’re trying to be Blade Runner, but Blade Runner this is not. But this movie isn’t a sci-fi, despite half the sets looking like it’s a space ship or something. This just adds to the confusion in the tone of scenes. You can’t figure out if its serious, or comical, or dramatic, or tongue in cheek.
Here’s the thing. It isn’t all bad. Not even close. Its just that sometimes the bad doesn’t let you enjoy the good as much as you would like.
If you asked me, “Hey Adam, do you want to see The Room vs Samurai Cop?” I would say yes. That’s a money idea and its ridiculous. And had it stuck closer to Samurai Cop vs Tommy Wiseau I think it would have been a much better movie.
They try to make Joe Marshall the Samurai Cop more of a samurai in this film. He actually uses the sword and poses with it. He is vaguely, and I stress the word vaguely, a “samurai”. There is some nonsense about honour and living a certain way and whatnot. He went into exile for a while to get in touch with his samurai side… I think. A lot isn’t made clear.
Matt Hannon, who plays Samurai Cop Joe Marshall, has also improved as an actor. He isn’t just a speaking tree anymore. He shows some range and depth. Plus props to him for staying in great shape and still having great hair. I want to have hair like that when I’m his age.
Mark Frazer, buddy cop Frank, is charming and funny. He’s a better actor and adds a bit of comedy. There’s a better polished low-end Lethal Weapon dynamic between our two leads this time around and both guys deserve credit.
Some random cop who yells gibberish and shoots some bad guys has a scene which is pretty hilarious.
There is some real fight choreography. Depending on the scene, they might even be “not bad”. It isn’t Jason Bourne, but some work went into it and the 2x fast forward speed isn’t as noticeable this time. The sword fights look practiced, because they were. But somehow that costs the movie some charm at the same time.
The sound track is pretty good at times. Some good synthwave stuff that’s straight out of Kung Fury. It also gets bad at times when love songs are playing during action scenes.
But there is just so much nonsense. And when your movie isn’t honest nonsense, but nonsense for the sake of nonsense then it becomes frustrating.
They have a fight on a plane that is in the air. They don’t blow the plane up. But somehow the evil ladies escape pursuit from our Samurai Cop. I don’t know how. Its just a commercial passenger plane. There isn’t that much hiding space. Heck, there isn’t leg room on a commercial plane. They just go behind a curtain and our hero stands still and his buddy cracks wise as Samurai Cop gets a new girlfriend who looks exactly like his old girlfriend who died 25 years ago.
When your female cast is almost exclusively porn stars you’re not exactly going to get decent acting. Porn actresses look and act like they’re porn actresses. I’m sure some have crossed-over in their careers, but these ladies won’t be. Or if they are, this sure as heck isn’t the launching pad. Although if you’re going to deliver bad exposition, slapping some boobs on screen isn’t the worst decision you could make.
Most of the supporting cast can’t act either. Now, for a $62,000 movie you’re not going to get Brian Cranston and Emily Blunt kicking ass on the margins. However, the acting comes across so intentionally bad. Like they’re staring into your soul and making sure the acting is bad. Is it referential to the original? I don’t know, but it shouldn’t be. Stop being bad on purpose. Boo. No one likes that. No one thinks the kid in class who yelled out “TURTLE” to the question “2×2=?” was funny.
Speaking of bad, putting Tommy Wiseau in a movie like this only means you’re trying to be bad for the reason to be bad of being bad, but so bad you want to be “good”. I’ve been crapping on that process, but for him you just have to make the exception.
His reading of lines is comical and his stunt action are even less believable. He’s flubbing lines and they either refused to do a second take or just couldn’t get a good take out of Tommy.
He’s a shining star, an absolute gift. He is great. Chewing scenery doesn’t do his acting in this movie justice. I don’t even know if he’s acting or just being himself playing fantasy. He swings a samurai sword, yells about being a samurai, wears a Zorro mask and something we’ll call “armour”. He’s a powerhouse in this movie when he’s on screen. And he smashes the room up as only he could.
Here’s the thing, I could fully spoil this movie and it won’t matter. It might even help because maybe you can make 12% more out of what is going on compared to watching this blind. The writing here makes The Room look like Avengers: Infinity War.
It is an insanely difficult plot to follow because it’s largely nonsense. Locations aren’t made clear. Who is bad isn’t always made clear. Why things are happening isn’t often clear. People are talking without speaking. Again, it feels like the “be intentionally bad” reasoning got used a bit too frequently here.
There are lots of little cameos from the first movie. The guy who lost his arm is back and wearing a surgical glove over his hand so it looks like a prosthetic. Mark Frazer jokes about his “black gift ;)”. The Costa Rican waiter is back, some henchmen are back and both the Asian gang leaders are back, somehow. The lion head returns.
It isn’t as much fun when the film is in on the joke. Its even less fun when I bet “It doesn’t matter” was given plenty of times in direction.
Samurai Cop didn’t make sense, but it sorta did. This movie doesn’t make sense, and it isn’t trying to. Or I don’t think it is. This is a 1999 WCW level mess.
All in all, its a worse watch because there isn’t the sincerity that they tried and failed to make a “real” movie. Instead, they tried to make a campy bad movie and failed at getting that genuine feeling. Instead its just a fan film for Samurai Cop, of all things. So, if you’re hardcore then you can rock and roll with this. You’ll appreciate it on some level. Otherwise, save your 90 minutes and pretend to do yoga. Or better yet, grab a few drinks or your favourite edible (maybe both if thats how you roll!) and just watch Samurai Cop over again.
Don’t watch this movie alone. If you want to have fun then grab a few friends and a few drinks and have a night. Or if you see it playing at a local festival go support it there. Just don’t watch it alone hoping for a real movie experience.