• Samurai Cop 2: Deadly Vengeance

    Samurai Cop 2: Deadly Vengeance
    Released by: Cinema Epoch
    Released on: January 12th, 2016.
    Director: Gregory Hatanaka
    Cast: Mathew Karedas, Mark Frazer, Bai Ling, Kayden Kross, Tommy Wiseau
    Year: 2015
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    The Movie:

    In 1989 an Iranian born filmmaker named Amir Shervan cast an unknown named Matt Hannon as the lead in his film Samurai Cop. Now, more than a quarter century after that film was made and with Shervan having passed away years ago, Gregory Hatanaka brings Hannon, now going by his real name of Matt Karedas, back for another shot in front of the camera as top cop Joe Marshall.

    The movie opens in 1991 with Joe having recently defeated the deadly Katana Gang of the first movie once and for all. With all of that behind him, Joe is ready to turn in his badge and live a quiet life. He and his girlfriend Jennifer (Kayden Kross) have got big plans for their future together but those plans are dashed when the poor woman is brutally murdered. This sends Joe out of the spotlight in a big way. He becomes a recluse and nobody hears from him for a quarter of a century.

    In 2015, however, the Katana Gang rises from its nefarious grave now under the leadership of a sword wielding maniac named Linton (Tommy Wiseau). If that weren’t bad enough, the Katana’s are embroiled in a bitter war against rival Yakuza gang The Shinjuku Clan, led by Doggé (Bai Ling). As the bodies start to pile up, Joe’s old partner Frank Washington (Mark Frazer) realizes that this is more than even he can handle, even if Detective Higgins (Laurene Landon) is at his side. He knows he needs help, and he knows that there’s only one man he can go to. He heads out into the middle of the California desert, finds his former partner, and convinces him to come back to the force – the city of Los Angeles needs him… and then there’s the matter of Melina (Kross again) a dead ringer for his dead girlfriend.

    It’s hard to deny that Samurai Cop 2: Deadly Vengeance is a gimmicky film. Not only is it a sequel made intentionally in the spirit of a film that rose to cult status for its sheer ineptitude but it crams in cameos from cult stars like Laurene Landon, Lisa London, Mel Novak, Joe Estevez, Kristine DeBell, Dawna Lee Hessing, Shane Ryan and a few others but it’s chock full of porn stars like the lovely Ms. Kross, Lexi Belle, Zoey Monroe, Misty Stone and Charlotte Stokely. Hey, we like porn stars around these here parts, don’t get me wrong, but it does seem like a bit of an attention ploy to play up their involvement in a movie like this. Having said that, it’s a kick to see some of the original players return. Not only is Matt Hannon, now Matt Karedas, back in the lead but Mark Frazer is a lot of fun reprising his role as Frank. Sadly the mighty Robert Z’dar passed away before he could appear in the picture but Gerald Okamura shows up again in this sequel and wow, they even got Melissa Moore and Cranston Komuro back for brief appearances in the film. Really though, it’s Karedas and Frazer who play such a big part in making this work. These guys are just plain likeable, they have a workably goofy chemistry together that is flat out fun to watch and they do the buddy cop thing well. On top of that, they manage to hold their own in some of the action scenes, particularly Karedas who is actually a pretty solid B-movie tough guy lead.

    And then there’s Tommy Wiseau, the man behind The Room. As an actor, Wiseau only seems to have one setting and that’s MAXIMUM. Even when he shouldn’t, Tommy gives you one hundred and ten percent. Yes, he completely overdoes it and he’s become even more of a ridiculous caricature than he already was but damn it all if it isn’t a fascinatingly bizarre experience to watch him do his thing here. The final showdown between he and Karedas is one for the books. Bai Ling’s performance in the picture is almost as balls-out loony as Wiseau’s is, and that’s impressive when you think about it.

    The fight choreography is sometimes nice and fluid and other times quite stilted (a naked sword battle between two of the ladies in the picture being the best example, but then, they’re naked so you have to be careful). Most of the effects are done with low quality CGI and they stick out like a sore thumb. The colors are frequently exaggerated and inconsistent and the sound effects are frequently too much. But again, the appeal of seeing Karedas and Frazer do their thing and the added bonus of Wiseau? Too much to look past and really tough not to enjoy. A little less winking towards the camera and a reduction in the obvious in-jokes that are crammed into the movie would have maybe made this feel less forced, but even as it is, a made-to-order cult movie that tries to be deliberately bad in many ways it probably shouldn’t have, Samurai Cop 2: Deadly Vengeance is pretty goddamn entertaining.


    Cinema Epoch unleashes Samurai Cop 2: Deadly Vengeance on Blu-ray in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer that looks true to its high definition digital source. There’s clearly no print damage here to note, so the picture is spotless, but it is worth noting that color reproduction is frequently exaggerated for stylish effect. Don’t expect realism in that regard, but then, this is Samurai Cop 2 and if you were expecting realism in any regard, you should have your head examined. Detail is pretty solid here, close up shots showing off the most. Scenes with brighter light look better than the darker scenes where some compression artifacts do creep into the frame. Occasional banding is also noticeable here and there but overall, the movie looks pretty good considering its low budget origins and over the top style.

    The English language Dolby Digital (no lossless option) 2.0 Stereo track is fine for what it is, but what it is still happens to be a Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo track. Dialogue is easy enough to understand and the levels are nicely balanced. There are no issues with hiss or distortion but things do occasionally sound a little bit thin.

    There are two audio commentaries on the disc, the first is with actors Mathew Karedas and Mark Frazer and with director Gregory Hatanaka, both moderated by Dave Robinson. The track with the actors covers what it was like getting into character again after such a long time, their thoughts on some of their co-stars, what it was like prepping for some of the action scenes and more. The track with Hatanka explores things as they were from behind the camera, discussing different aspects of the production such as the budget, the script, the casting, the locations, the effects and more. Both tracks are pretty enjoyable.

    Also found in the extra features section is a three and a half minute long Behind The Scenes Featurette wherein we get a look at life on the set and some interactions with the cast and crew. This is highlighted by some strange footage of Wiseau being Wiseau, and for that reason alone it’s worth watching.

    Outside of that we get a theatrical trailer for the feature, a decent sized still gallery of promotional material and four deleted scenes (running roughly ten minutes in combined length). Additionally, as this is a combo pack release, the Blu-ray comes bundled with a DVD version of the movie (which has a 5.1 mix that’s not on the Blu-ray) tucked away inside the case.

    The Final Word:

    Samurai Cop 2: Deadly Vengeance is, in a single word, absurd. It makes no attempt whatsoever to conceal its low budget and far too often it goes down the ‘intentionally bad movie’ route. At the same time, there’s something about it that works, that makes the film wholly watchable. If you can get your head around the manufactured cult film aspect of the production, there’s a Hell of a lot of fun to be had here and the Blu-ray/DVD combo pack release from Cinema Epoch presents the movie nicely and with some good extras highlighted by the pair of commentary tracks.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!

    Comments 2 Comments
    1. moviegeek86's Avatar
      moviegeek86 -
      I'm a big fan of the original but kind of hated this sequel. The nonsensical storyline was more frustrating than fun and the non stop digital blood and what not was painful to watch.

      Seeing the original cast back again was cool though but I rather never watch this one again. Nice try but nope.
    1. major jay's Avatar
      major jay -
      It's kinda like they accidently made a sequel just as inept as the original. And what's up with no 5.1 track on the blu-ray? All in all though, I enjoyed it.