SHOWDOWN IN LITTLE TOKYO
(director: Mark L. Lester; screenwriters: Stephen Glantz/Caliope Brattlestreet; cinematographer: Mark Irwin; editors:Michael Eliot/Steven Kemper/Robert A. Ferretti; music: David Michael Frank; cast: Dolph Lundgren ( Sgt. Chris Kenner), Brandon Lee (Johnny Murata), Tia Carrere (Minako), Carey-Hiroyuki Tagawa (Yoshida), Toshishiro Obata (Sato), Philip Tan (Tanaka), Simon Rhee (Ito), Renee Griffin (Angel), Takayo Fischer (Mama Yamaguchi); Runtime: 79; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Mark L. Lester/Martin E. Caan; Warner Home Movies; 1991)
“A violent and dumb exploitation B-movie martial arts film.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A violent and dumb exploitation B-movie martial arts film helmed by Mark L. Lester (“Groupie”/”Commando”) and written by Stephen Glantz and Caliope Brattlestreet. It makes for a mindless thriller that has little going for it but senseless mayhem, a large body count and bad acting. In the Little Tokyo section of Los Angeles the hulking police Sergeant Chris Kenner (Dolph Lundgren), an American raised in Japan, and his new Eurasian partner Johnny Murata (Brandon Lee), who has an American father and Japanese mother patrol the area. Both are martial arts experts, who take on the Iron Claw Yakuza.
They arrest one member for trying to shakedown a restaurant owner for protection money. The cops are after the body tattooed and ruthless crime boss Yoshida (Carey-Hiroyuki Tagawa). The gangster murdered Kenner’s parents when he was a child, and now is smuggling a new street drug inside bottles of imported Japanese beer. After decapitating with a samurai sword Angel (Renee Griffin) because she ratted out Yoshida to her nightclub boss (Philip Tan), who was then crushed to death by the Yoshida’s Iron Claw crew. Angel was the best friend of nightclub chanteuse Minako Okeya (Tia Carrere), someone the boss rapes and holds prisoner in his home. She’s rescued by Kenner just before committing suicide. The cop then must protect Minako, as she becomes a witness against Yoshida. What follows is one stupid action sequence after another until things get cleaned up. It’s the kind of low-grade listless film that tries desperately to appeal to those who think James Bond is too real and the thriller thereby sinks to a low level of filmmaking.
EVIEWED ON 1/1/2019 GRADE: C- https://dennisschwartzreviews.com/