Cinematic Release: Samurai Cop 2 (2015)

Ms. Kisner attacks Samurai Cop 2 with a mostly positive review. 

"Anyway. How is your sex life?"
In 1991, we were gifted with a masterpiece of cinema that was known only as Samurai Cop. It was made most likely to cash in on the popularity of Lethal Weapon, but was so ineptly shot that it didn’t even get released in theaters. Luckily, Cinema Epoch realized what a hilarious gem the movie was and rescued it from obscurity and released it to the masses. Now everyone could enjoy the adventures of Samurai Cop (also known as Joe Marshall) and his many wigs. Samurai Cop is one of those hilarious b-movies that was earnestly made with good intentions but fails spectacularly on every level—kind of like Troll 2 or Miami Connection. Fans of these types of films seek them out and collect them because they are a joy to watch with like-minded friends. So now we are here in 2015, a full twenty-one years later, occupying a world that is much different than the one Officer Marshall remembers. Can he still cut it in Samurai Cop 2?! Stay tuned to find out!
Samurai Cop 2 was funded by Kickstarter as the original film had many fans that were excited to see a sequel. Even more exciting is almost everyone from the initial film was able to return to reprise their characters from the first movie, which is almost unheard of in sequels with a gap this large between films. Matt Hannon is back as Samurai Cop and his goofy expression havin’ partner Frank (Mark Frazer) has returned as well. As an aside: was Hannon cryogenically frozen and thawed out for this film because he looks exactly the same and has not aged one bit! They also added some other b-movie alumni to the film to include Bai Ling, Tommy Wiseau (!), Cranston Komuro (who played the villain in the first flick) and a couple of porn actresses to round out the roster.
"I will penetrate you."
What makes the first Samurai Cop so special is the fact that the filmmakers were doing everything with a straight face. They were trying their hardest to make a cool film, but didn’t have the expertise or funding to make it happen. It’s basically lightening in a bottle and hard to replicate. Samurai Cop 2 is completely self-aware of what it is and what goal it’s trying to accomplish. This could make it seem like it’s “trying too hard” but director Gregory Hatanaka takes the smart route and makes it completely surreal and bizarre. It acknowledges the first film, has a ton of winks and nods to fans and completely loses its shit in the second half of the film. I mean this in the best possible way, the film just jumps the ‘eff off the rails and never comes back to reality. That is probably the best way to approach a sequel to a terrible twenty-year-old cult film because the fact that the film exists at all is rather contrived.

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The cinematography isn't bad for a b-movie and the fight scenes have actual choreography this time around. Hatanaka tried to keep that direct-to-video feel of the first film but you can definitely tell they had more money to work with. There are some nods to its source with purposely terrible green screen and weird editing choices. The story still doesn’t make a lick of sense, but the dialog is hilariously bad and the acting is even worse, which is exactly what we expect from a movie like this. Tommy Wiseau’s performance is…something to see. I have a feeling they just let the camera roll with him and just had him ad-lib some crazy shit for a couple of hours. Matt Hannon plays Samurai Cop with all the stoicism he can muster (with his real hair too) and gets to show off some of his “fancy” sword fighting moves.  Overall, if you were a fan of the first film or just love zany b-movies, you will find something to dig about Samurai Cop 2. Maybe in twenty more years we will get to see a Samurai Cop 3!


-Michelle Kisner