Samurai Cop (1991)

Written and directed by one Amir Shervan, SAMURAI COP is the kind of cinema I live for. An action picture so wrong headed and mixed up that it is hard to believe anyone kept a straight face while making (or screening) it. It is a movie so bad that B-movie queen Melissa Moore leaves it off her resume to leave room for more respectable titles such as Hard to Die, Evil Spawn and The Invisible Maniac. Heck, she even thought Vampire Cop was worthy enough to put on there.

Lead Matt Hannon, apparently a onetime bodyguard for Stallone, gives an incredibly one-dimensional performance, mostly relying on his hair to convey his emotions. The problem is apparently Hannon cut his hair halfway through shooting and is forced to wear the funniest dime-store woman’s wig ever during huge chunks of the film. The sheer fact that he fails to ever show a single emotion (outside of his hair) is a monumental achievement in itself. The fact that no one on set even bothered to mention this to him is even better. I guess the producers felt his tanned and chiseled body (along with the aforementioned hair) would do all the talking. But you know you have a problem when the male star’s swimsuit is skimpier than his female co-star’s.

Of course, his co-stars help him along by maintaining the same level of stiffness. Only Matt Frazer shows some form of life, hamming it up incredibly as Samurai’s partner Frank. You can tell that director Shervan walked out of LETHAL WEAPON 2 (1989) that summer with visions of SAMURAI COP dancing in his head. Although the back and forth banter displayed here between partners consists of jokes about Frank’s butt (when Samurai isn’t making sexual innuendo jokes that is). Robert Z’Dar, sporting a beard and referred to as a Japanese hit-man (!), is relatively subdued when compared to his work in the same year’s TANGO & CASH (has anyone tagged both ends of the film-making spectrum like that in one year?). The previously mentioned Moore and single named co-star Cameron (adult film performer Alexis Firestone) provide the requisite nudity. Interesting to see Cameron adopt a more porn sounding name for her mainstream debut. Not to be outdone, Shervan also allows B-movie vets Z’Dar and Okamura to show some skin, something I’m sure their fans have never demanded.