If you’re a lover of weird low budget cinema, then chances are you’ll have happened upon “Samurai Cop” on your travels. It’s staggeringly incompetent but rewatchable, often hilarious even if not deliberately, and 25 years after it was made a sequel is in the works, thanks to most of the cast still being alive and not famous enough to warrant a decent payday.
“Hollywood Cop” is from the same writer / director, Amir Shervan, made a couple of years before “Samurai Cop”. If you were wondering what that later film would look like with even less in the way of technical competence, then watch it and rejoin me for a spoiler-filled review.
The big debate as my wife and I watched the first few minutes, where a group of henchmen attempted to out-evil each other, was whether one of the henchmen looked like a small Andre The Giant or a large Eric Bogosian. Ultimately, we were both right, I think. They’re told by boss Feliciano (James “son of Robert” Mitchum) to go and kidnap a kid because the kid’s dad owes them $6 million. And they really go all out on the evil front while they do it too, these are some henchmen who thoroughly enjoy their work.
Enough of these guys for the moment, though, we need to deal with the Hollywood Cop himself, John “Turky” Turquoise III. Imagine the Stallone character “Cobra”, give him blond hair and…that’s it. He doesn’t play by the rules! His captain can’t control his thirst for justice by any means necessary! To hammer the point home, he finds a rape in progress and rather than wait for backup, he just strolls in and starts killing. Two really weird things about this scene – the rape is really shown in an unpleasant amount of detail, including full nudity (female only, of course); and when the father of the raped daughter catches up to her assailant during the melee and chase, rather than hand him over to the waiting police, he chops the rapist’s head off.
Amir Shervan, as you may have guessed from the name, is Iranian, and the family that Turky tried to rescue was Iranian too. So, when a guy cuts a rapist’s head off and says “this is how we do justice”, you can be fairly sure he’s speaking the exact thoughts of the director. Aside from their horrible treatment, it’s sort of nice to see people from that part of the world who aren’t villains.
There’s a heck of a lot of stupidity to enjoy in “Hollywood Cop”. There’s the foul mouths of most of the main cast – Turky’s captain swears with every other word, and Turky himself almost keeps up. He gets the best line in the movie, too, while trying to talk the Iranian dad out of his plan of retribution – “Listen mister, I know this guy just fucked your wife, but he’s our prisoner now” (this line is closely followed by the Captain’s incomprehensible “You’ll make the word failure a bad name”). There’s the entirely unnecessary oil wrestling scene, where Turky’s partner strips down to his skimpy underwear and fights two ladies. There’s the way the kidnapped kid escapes ludicrously easily, with the help of the kidnappers’ dog, a doberman who understands English. There’s the worst father-son reunion perhaps in the entire history of cinema. There’s the way the entire movie could be read as an advert for tight jeans. Or the way that Turky completely ignores that the $6 million is the proceeds of a crime.
One character arc in particular needs breaking down. After beating up a bunch of people and threatening some other criminals, they find out where the missing Dad is, who apparently has the money to pay off the kidnappers. As the camera pans across his garden (which is just a normal suburban garden, oddly) we see tons of semi-clad women dancing around for his sole pleasure. Then, after he’s beaten up a bit and persuaded to help get the kid back, he tells the kid about how he left the mother because he had incurable cancer. What? And how did he pay for those dancing women (he doesn’t have the $6 mill and never spent any of it)?
I think this film will entertain you. But, I would remiss if I didn’t relate some of its flaws. The dog dies, for one. I’m a firm believer in spoiling this sort of thing, because there’s no need for it and it doesn’t have any bearing on the plot. Some of the fight scenes just go on for ever. The kid is a rotten actor, and his mother seems like she’s doing an advert for washing powder at all times. Every time someone turns their head away from the camera, their dialogue is dubbed, like Shervan hadn’t finished the script by the time he was filming.
I feel like I haven’t scratched the surface of this wonderful, terrible, stupid, hilarious film. I haven’t mentioned the police station, or how Rebecca (the mother of the kidnapped son) finds Turky and gets him to help her. It feels like it was made by someone who doesn’t really understand how the world works, and those sort of films are always really entertaining.
Rating: thumbs up
(PS- credit to http://theggtmc.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/hollywood-cop-1987.html for the pictures, I tried to do some screengrabs but this guy made some excellent juxtapositions)