So, what can I say in a review of Samurai Cop & Samurai Cop: Deadly Vengeance other than to say that Psycho Cinema is a great group to see movies with. We were talking and laughing at opportune times, even thanking Faye for finding such a gem of a disaster. At least in this case, watching this double feature of schlock with fellow Psycho Cinema members is the only reason I made it to the credits, which is how I’m getting around to say that Samurai Cop is bad.
It’s really bad. Think you know what bad is? This is worse. From scripting, to set design, to editing, to music, to special effects Samurai Cop was done on the cheap and it shows. From abrupt scene/local changes, to inserting a saucy scene for no reason, to actors playing cops with mismatched slacks, to wildly changing textures & color tones, to using sparks for ricochet effects. And that’s without the blatant stereotypes that abound. Every race is covered and mocked to the hilt to an extent I’d never seen before.
All that and there’s nary a Samurai to be seen. The main character Joe Marshal is called that for being an expert in the Japanese crime game. The chief is an over the top version from Lethal Weapon, the black partner is a second string Tonto used more for facial reactions than anything else, and the women in this film go from independent and capable to arm candy at the drop of a hat. Maybe it was the hair, I don’t know.
With as bad as the first one was, I was almost looking forward to the sequel. Maybe they got more of a plot? Nope. Maybe there would be more Samurai? Somewhat. For everything the sequel improved on from it’s predecessor, it offset by slow scenes, digital effects, and bad casting, and cameos that would draw ire in other franchises. Also, time has not been kind to many of the returning cast, and even some of the new cast members. Not as surprising since as the story goes, the actor who played Joe Marshal (Mathew Karedas) was rumored to be dead. After persistent needling from his daughter, Karedas sent her a video of his current self as Joe Marshal which she posted to Youtube, surprising the legions of Samurai Cop fans across the internet. While it’s surprising that the first one was made it was even more surprising that there was a desire for a sequel until I saw the credits and the dozens of names from several crowdfunding campaigns, which made good sense that the sequel was shot and produced as cheaply as the first.
While writing this review though I must admit that there’s a whole lot more to the story of Samurai Cop that I just don’t know. I came across some on-set stories that are kind of crazy, and likewise heard none of the hype for the sequel. While it’s a common theme for people to call Samurai Cop a bad movie, thankfully, these were just my reactions with no expectations.
So, is it worth looking up these two movies for your own double feature? That depends, if you’re expecting absolutely nothing, AND can make fun of a movie (MST3K style), AND watch it with other people who will do the same then go ahead. Neither movie qualifies for an Oscar, or a Razzie, but with the right audience in the right mood it can really be fun.
And that’s what I really want to close with. This was my first time at a Psycho Cinema event and had a really good time. Less formal than Film Club and closer. Not that Film Club is really formal but there is a number of things that we do which are different. Perhaps it was the smaller crowd but people were clustered during the brief intermission with glazed expressions of “What Was That!?” Now I’m an official member and although I ‘just’ missed being the 666th member I’ll be happy to see my feed fill up with Faye’s postings as well as new Psycho Cinema friends. Check it out!!