In between viewings of "Death of a Salesman," "Ishtar," "The Natural," and numerous episodes of "Inside the Actors Studio," I came across a little screen gem known as "Showdown in Little Tokyo." Directed by Mark L. Lester and released in 1991, the film stars the always excellently shitty Dolph Lundgren and Brandon Lee, along with Tia Carrere and "I'm always an evil Asian guy" Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa.
The plot follows Japanophile Chris Kenner (Dolph Lundgren), an L.A. cop, who has to team up with clueless Japanese-American valley boy Johnny Murata (Brandon Lee) as they try to take down the Iron Claw Yakuza clan led by Yoshida (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa). Kenner grew up in Japan and witnessed his parents' murder at the hands of Yoshida, so he holds a bit of a grudge. Tia Carrere plays Minako, a night club singer that Yoshida claims as his own. The plot is largely derivative and is simply there to set up the many action sequences that showcase both Lundgren and Lee's martial arts acrobatics.
The quality of the movie is all kinds of shitty. The editing is sloppy, and little interest was paid to the details. In several sequences, dummies were used in place of actors without much care going into the camera angles or the editing so that it's obvious that they were using dummies. On top of that, at least one scene had looped dialog by Brandon Lee when he clearly is not moving his lips on screen. And while Tia Carrere will never be mistaken for Meryl Streep, her acting in this movie is abysmal. A dog could have cried and howled it's way through the movie more convincingly than she did. She didn't even do her own nude scenes, opting for an obvious body double (double boos for that). Also of particular note is David Michael Frank's score which consists mostly of a single theme that is repeated throughout the whole movie and which will linger on much longer than the bitter aftertaste of Tia Carrere's "acting."
But even more credit has to go to Stephen Glantz and Caliope Brattlestreet (coolest screenwriting name ever) who amazingly enough wrote the movie. While the story is inconsequential, the one liners overfloweth, with Brandon Lee benefiting the most. This movie has some of the quirkiest, most mind-boggling dialog committed to film. Describing it isn't enough.
Listen you Zen warrior, fucking samurai asshole! I wanna know what's up! 'Cause despite myself, I like you.
Listen. We do this right. Clean. Like a cop in the 20th century and not some samurai warrior. We're gonna nail this guy. And when we get done, we're gonna go eat fish off those naked chicks!
Kenner, just in case we get killed, I wanted to tell you that you have the biggest dick I've ever seen on a man.
I liked that car. And I liked that girl. And I'd like to cut off certain parts of Yoshida's anatomy.
Ya know, you've got a fixation, pal...
There are dozens more oral offal to be found in this movie, and that in and of itself makes the movie worth watching over and over.
My shitty movie rating: 8 turds out of 10. Must see!