Samurai Cop + Samurai Cop 2: Deadly Vengeance


Any film that starts with Bob Z’dar with a beard and ponytail stabbing someone was always going to be a belter.

Samurai Cop is one of those films, alongside Miami Connection and Deadly Prey, that basically personifies the term “Cult Classic”.  Rarely seen outside of VHS rental shops until the late 00s as avid fans digitised them and put them on torrent sites before receiving legitimate BluRay releases  by whoever was lucky enough to own the rights. Finally the world can see Matt Hannon’s luxurious hair in High Def as the good Lord intended.

Samurai Cop is a film that has been on my radar since the days of VHS trading in the mid-90s. I’d order photocopied lists from the small ads in the back of Darkside and Shivers magazines and within would be a fucking BOUNTY of  Video Nasties, Asian action, blueys, the lot. A fiver and a blank BASF would get you whatever you wanted. It was excellent. Until you got raided by Trading Standards. Samurai Cop never made it to my VHS player. I was too into Italian gore to waste valuable cassette space on something with a name as lame as SC’s. Silly me. This is GOLD.

The flick kicks off with the aforementioned Z’dar, who appears to be the Big Bad’s #1 Heavy, persuading a “Mr Lee”’s mob to work with his organisation. THE KATANA GANG. Z’dar’s crew knocks fuck out of them.

Elsewhere the titular Samurai Cop has been transported from San Diego to work on a coke bust. His jeans are almost white, his leather jacket is a crumpled state and I think that’s a wig? SC is being assisted by someone from the local department in his car and someone called Peggy in a helicopter.  They start to track a member of the Katana Gang’s van. He looks like Swiss Toni which pleases me no end. SC has taken his baseball cap off. Swiss could be in big trouble here.

Swiss meets some guys in a speedboat at the harbour to make the handoff. One of the recipients is wearing a Troy Cory t-shirt. Troy Cory is like the American Freddie Starr so we’ll leave it at that.

Before anyone can taste the cocaine and say “its pure”, like they do, SC and Co turn up and give chase. After a few minutes of sped-up car footage Swiss gets shot in the neck and his van blows up(?). Justice.

Then it cuts to SC giving Peggy one.

The Katana lot hear about what happened. The bust, not the intercourse.  Z’dar tells his boss all about SC. How he is fluent in Japanese and trained in Japan.  Bossman isn’t fussed. He just wants SC’s head.

SC is weird, man. He looks like the son of Jerry Seinfeld and Nuno Bettencourt. His eyes never close. I think he likes “too many sugars in his tea” as much as the Katanas.

A nurse offers SD some sex and asks if he is circumcised.

Both Z’dar and his sword are smuggled into the hospital in a bin.

Now I’m just going to stop my play-by-play commentary as I think you get the general idea.

Samurai Cop is special. Very special. The script is BAFFLING.  Everything is overdubbed in post production and everyone sounds identical.  The stunt men are different races to those they are standing in for. But something about this film WORKS. It just feels RIGHT and is a hell of a lot more entertaining than the majority of the action films I’ve seen theatrically over the last decade or so.

Performances so weird, so alien, so fucking hilarious that you can’t help but absolutely love everyone involved.

But this is an Action Movie site, right? What about the Action?

Lots of gunplay. Only the baddies reload to provide an opportunity for our heroes to take aim. The hand-to-hand stuff is pitiful. Even frugal productions like Miami Connection or your average Cynthia Rothrock film had some impressive fisticuffs, particularly the latter, but this is playground stuff. There’s more bonking in this than there are dustups.

Matt Hannon’s Samurai Cop is SUCH an unlikable character that by the final act you’re begging for Robert Z’dar (the REAL hero of the film) to get the upper hand. But nah. Course not.

For a film SO 1991 through and through it holds its own against the direct-to-video films of 2017 and overshadows the vast majority. It is easy to see why it has such a huge following.


Such a huge following in fact that in 2016, thanks to a massively successful crowdfunding campaign we got Samurai Cop 2: Deadly Vengeance.

I’d heard that the surviving cast were all signed up and that even the bizarre dickhead that is The Room’s Tommy Wiseau was involved. I’d be lying if a little ripple of excitement hadn’t passed through me as I hit the Play button.

We’re treated to a “flashback” to 1991, clearly shot in 2016 as SC now resembles the corpse of Pete Steele.  His Mrs gets shot by a little kid. Cut to opening credits.

The first 20mins or so is a blur and I have no idea what is going on except some porn stars are disintegrating people with a flying ball and Final Cut Pro has been used for gunshot flare at least 900 times. Still no sign of SC. But Joe Estevez has showed up as the Chief of Police so every cloud.

“This doesn’t look like a medallion factory”. I might not make it through this.

Hold up. SC in the house. He lives in a warehouse and looks like Weird Al Yankovic found hair straighteners.

The entire cast, goodies and baddies, are all on the same internal flight. Now something has blown up. The floating ball is back.

Maybe if I just watch this and pay closer attention it’ll fly by quicker. Wish me luck.

Dogshit. Utter dogshit. Scenes where SC is watching himself in a soap opera that guides him to the bad guys. Tommy Wiseau smashing up his living room for five minutes. More sex.

At least they tried in the original. They tried and for the most part succeeded in making a really enjoyable piece of trash. This. This is something else. This is the opposite of what a Samurai Cop fan would want to see. Many of them paid for the privilege. I feel bad for them. But not as bad I feel for my eyes and ears right now.

Samurai Cop is well worth your time. I expect it is even better with alcohol or the devil’s lettuce.

Samurai Cop 2 is so bad it actually makes the original seem worse so definitely avoid it at all costs.