Posts Tagged ‘Buddy cop


Showdown in Little Tokyo (1991)

Muscles meet manners.

Muscles meet manners.

I spent far too many years shunning the muscle-bound action hero. I don’t think I did this on purpose; it just never really occurred to me that anyone would ever enjoy watching sweaty dudes run around for 90 minutes. What was I thinking? Seriously, now that I’m older and wiser it’s very clear to me what a wonderful and simple pleasure the shitty action movie can be. Even better still, is the shitty action movie starring brainiac Swede Dolph Lundgren, who is awesome not only for playing He-Man and for having a master’s degree in chemical engineering, but also for dating the one and only Grace Jones! Can you imagine the amazing cheekbones their offspring would have had? Phew. But anyway, why is all this important? Because I had the good fortune to marry a man who owns Showdown in Little Tokyo, a perfectly entertaining buddy-cops-versus-Yakuza picture also starring Brandon Lee.

Sergeant Chris Kenner (Lundgren) is a mildly renegade cop working the streets of Los Angeles. Though buff as hell and blond as can be, the man is a product of Japanese culture: his parents were slain by an evil man when he was just a boy, and he was adopted by Japanese parents, making Little Tokyo the perfect home-

Yoshida and the Kingdom of ICE!

Yoshida and the Kingdom of ICE!

away-from-home. Kenner smells a rat when some thugs come into his favorite noodle shop trying to shake down the owner. Not knowing he’s a good guy, another cop, Johnny Murata (Lee) comes on the scene hoping to save the day, but in the end just ends up driving the bad guys out the front door while fighting the good guy! This, of course, is just the first of many hijinks the pair will get into together!

Back at the station, it becomes clear to Kenner that Murata, an American-born man of Japanese descent, knows nothing of his Japanese culture! This sets the stage for many hilarious misunderstandings. Despite their mild distaste for one-another, they are, naturally, assigned to be partners. Their main goal: find and arrest Yoshida, an old-school Yakuza who is planning on making a fortune selling “ice” to American kids in beer bottles! But first, his taste for Japanese women makes him capture the beautiful Minako (Tia Carrere), a singer at his nightclub who’s had several run-ins with Kenner and Murata already. Can the unlikely pair of cops stop Yoshida from addling our youth and keeping the young woman for his own?!



This movie is like candy. Sweaty, muscle-bound candy! The plot is stupid, weak and predictable, but that is precisely why this movie is a joy to watch. There’s nothing to puzzle over here; it is one of those movies you can just sink into the couch while watching, and every once in a while that’s just what I need. The dialogue is pretty shitty, but that’s okay; the awful one-liners suit Brandon Lee’s lack of acting talent just fine! What impressed me most about Showdown in Little Tokyo is Lundgren’s understated badassery. All too often, the man with the muscles chews the scenery and spits it in your face. Mr. Lundgren, however, handles the camera ever-so-gently, easily stealing the show. I really loved watching this movie, and I have no doubt that it will become an old standby – whenever I need him, Dolph will be there, ever-so-delicately drinking Japanese tea.


Double Trouble (1992)

I’m embarrassed to report that up until yesterday, I’d never even heard of The Barbarian Brothers. Can you believe it! Who would have thought I’d have Paste Magazine to thank for the introduction. Actually, I’ve only seen about a quarter of their selections for the 100 Best B-movies of all time. On one hand, this makes me feel like a b-movie failure; I totally failed the Paste Magazine shit movie test! On the other hand, it gets me super pumped to add 75 movies to my to-watch list.

Trouble goes riding.

Trouble goes riding.

If you too are new to the Barbarian Brothers, allow me to introduce Peter and David Paul; muscle-bound twins hungry for Hollywood fame. The two of them are on opposite sides of the law in Double Trouble; one a hard-working cop in a cropped Raiders sweatshirt, the other a womanizing diamond thief recently released from jail for good behavior. The bad twin doesn’t take long to get back into the swing of stealing diamonds, and when crime magnate Philip Chamberlain (Roddy McDowall) sees his ugly mug on surveillance footage from the International Diamond Exchange, he and his goons are hot on his tail.

Roddy turns you on.

Roddy turns you on.

But the lying, thieving twin has always got tricks up his sleeve, and promises to give the cops some inside information if they protect him rather than prosecute him for his diamond thievery. This drives the cop twin insane of course, because now: surprise! Their partners in law! The two beefcakes now run all over town looking for Chamberlain and his crew, all the while bickering and getting up to They Live-length fight scenes. Can the two brothers set their differences aside and work together for once?

"Pop" art.

“Pop” art.

I’ve seen a hefty handful of dumb shit in my day, but this movie is most certainly one of the dumbest out there. The plot is as thin as can be, and thank god for it; I certainly wouldn’t want anyone picking up a movie like this and expecting any kind of depth whatsoever. This is exactly what you want it to be: empty, stupid, ridiculous, and most importantly, gloriously entertaining. As if a film about two bodybuilding twin brothers fighting a crime ring wasn’t enough incentive to get you interested, how about this: the film is directed by John Paragon, the man we have to thank for Pee Wee’s Playhouse and Elvira: Mistress of the Dark among other things I’m sure to investigate further. The three together make pure comedy gold worthy of an elaborate thieving scheme!




Hellraiser: Inferno (2000)

But, see? He loves kids? He can't be all bad, right? Wrong!

But, see? He loves kids? He can’t be all bad, right? Wrong!

I cannot say for certain that Hellraiser: Inferno is the absolute worst of the Hellraiser franchise, but that is only because I have not seen the ones that come after it. Honestly, I am afraid to. This one is just so terribly, head-shakingly bad, I’d hate to devote more time to movies like this. Unfortunately, I’m sort of a completist when it comes to these things, so I know I will inevitably delve deeper into the world of Hellraiser. I just hope the rest of them are better than this.

This time it’s a dirty cop who gets dragged into Pinhead’s underworld. Detective Joseph Thorne (Craig Sheffer) is a pretty despicable guy: he cheats on his wife with prostitutes, steals money from

The first finger.

The first finger.

dead guys, and sets up his partner for a crime he didn’t commit. His one positive characteristic, and what is supposed to be his redeeming quality, but isn’t at all, is that he really cares about kids.

Anyway, an old classmate of his is found torn to pieces. The only evidence is a disembodied finger and, you guessed it, a strange puzzle box. And, yes, you guessed it again, Thorne spirals downward into the world of hell once he gets his hands on it. Seems some underworld boss called simply “The Engineer” is probably behind this and a whole bunch of other shit. Thorne cares not about the bodies that pile up throughout his investigation, he cares only to save the life of the child whose fingers are found at every crime scene.

He's a sucker for the ladies.

He’s a sucker for the ladies.

Despite the ten-or-so minutes of internet research I did to find out why anyone bothered to write this movie, I couldn’t really find out much about it. It seems to me, though, this was never meant to be a Hellraiser movie. Pinhead is in it for maybe 10 seconds, and while there are Cenobite-like creatures in the film, they could have just as easily been any other type of creepy crawler. No, I think this is a movie that really aspired to be more like Seven or some other gory cop psychological thriller. The problem is, it doesn’t do that job well, either! Thorne is so completely unlikable, why should we care what happens to him? And that “twist” at the end? Lame, and quite stupid. This might be one of the most frustrating movies I’ve ever seen. I am absolutely stunned when I read reviews saying this is one of the better of the Hellraiser movies. That just simply isn’t true! It’s the least Hellraiser of any that I’ve seen, and it is just plain bad besides that. And what a shame to see Craig Sheffer, the underworld hero of Barker’s Nightbreed, return to his world with such a shit show.


The Hidden (1987)

Strangely familiar...

Strangely familiar…

Welcome to Los Angeles, a city that thrives on pretense and secrets. Nobody is ever really what they seem, from actors and producers to bank-robbers and… FBI Agents? Well, at least that’s the case in The Hidden, a goofily awesome horror/sci-fi flick starring none other than Kyle MacLachlan as said FBI Agent. That’s right, before he was Agent Cooper he played Agent Lloyd Gallagher, a strange fellow on the hunt for an even stranger one…

Gallagher’s first stop: LAPD, Detective Tom Beck (Michael Nouri). For a manhunt like this, Gallagher’s going to need the best man for the job, and apparently Detective Beck is the only

He's from "up."

He’s from “up.”

acceptable candidate. He’s in high-demand, but can’t turn down the feds when they ask for his help. Seems like a pretty open and shut case, though: the guy Gallagher’s looking for is Jack DeVries (Chris Mulkey, a.k.a. Hank Jennings also from Twin Peaks!) a regular guy turned nutcase who was just pumped full of lead and burnt to a crisp by half the LAPD. When

Gallagher rushes to the hospital to find him, Beck and his colleagues can’t see what all the fuss is about. The bad guy’s down and about to die! Things of course are a little more complicated than the cops are prepared for. DeVries is slumped and dead by the time Gallagher gets to the

I always wanted to know what makes this guy tick...

I always wanted to know what makes this guy tick…

hospital, which some folks think should be considered good news. What they don’t know is DeVries was gone long before his two-week crime-spree. See, his body has been taken over by an incredibly disgusting alien, who hops from body to body stealing fast cars, robbing banks, and killing anyone who gets in his way. A dead DeVries means the alien has a fresh, new body to exploit! What we have here is no open-and-shut federal case, but an intergalactic game of hide and seek!

This movie is so much fun, I wanted to watch it a second time immediately after the first. I love seeing a baby-faced Kyle MacLachlan (this came out only a year after Blue Velvet) playing a

Everything is creepier when mannequins are involved.

Everything is creepier when mannequins are involved.

goofy and awkward FBI Agent. It is a perfect mix of action (car chases, gun fights, bank robberies), horror (I mean, that alien!) and science fiction (again, that alien). I can’t help but think David Lynch must have seen this before writing Twin Peaks. Admittedly I first thought of it because it’s not often you see Chris Mulkey and Kyle MacLachlan in the same film, but the similarities definitely go beyond that. Both are about the secrets hidden beneath the surface of everything and everyone. Both are, on some level, about possession, either physical, mental or otherwise. And most obviously, both have MacLachlan playing FBI Agents in search of something far more than just the answer to a simple mystery. To top it all off, this movie actually has a really awesome ending! Most movies of this flavor tend to disappoint towards the end, but this one definitely does not. I strongly recommend you try and get your hands on this! Unfortunately, it is out of print, so renting can be sort of tricky (it sat on the top of my Netflix queue [yes, I still rent DVDs from Netflix] for a long time before they finally delivered it to me), but I think it can be easily found and purchased from many vendors on the internet – and believe me, it will be well worth your time and money!


Point Break (1991)

"Amazing! Fucking Amazing!"

“Amazing! Fucking Amazing!”

It was only a matter of time before Point Break made it onto Schlock Wave. There was a period in my life where I’d watch this every single weekend. Though I don’t watch it nearly as much as I used to, the charm hasn’t worn off after countless views.

Keanu Reeves stars as Johnny Utah, a new hire with the FBI in Los Angeles, working in bank robbery. He’s teamed up with Angelo Pappas (Gary Busey) who’s none-too-happy to have to deal with a “blue-flame special quarter-back punk” like Utah. The two, however, end up getting along famously, and Pappas finally tells Utah his theory on the Ex-

Tyler & Johnny 4-Eva

Tyler & Johnny 4-Eva

Presidents, a gang of bank robbers who’ve hit 30+ banks in the last few years. The theory? The Ex-Presidents are surfers. The rest of the division thinks Pappas is a nutjob, but Utah is “young, dumb and full of come” enough to go along with Pappas’ hare-brained idea.

In a town full of surfers, how will they find the right group of bank robbers? Well, obviously, the answer is to put Utah undercover and send him out to the beach. His in? Tyler Endicott (Lori Petty), a cheeky surfer

Of course Anthony Kiedis is in this movie.

Of course Anthony Kiedis is in this movie.

chick who’s in with just the right crowd. She teaches him to surf, falls in love with him, and introduces him to the end-all, be-all surfer type: Bodhi (you know, after the Bodhisattva), brilliantly played by Patrick Swayze (R.I.P.). It’s not long before Utah is swallowed up into the mad world of midnight surfing adrenaline junkies.

Point Break is a great action flick. Every time I watch it, certain moments

Serious Bodhi.

Serious Bodhi.

still keep me on the edge of my seat, even though I know what’s going to happen. But it’s more than that, too, despite Keanu Reeves’ terrible acting (which is highlighted by how damn good Swayze is here). It’s a movie about gray areas. Unlike every Chuck Norris movie you’ve never seen, it doesn’t pit saintly good guy against evil bad guy, because that’s not the way the world works. Instead, Point Break shows us how complicated the world is; that people are much more complex than the sum of their actions. It shows us that the law is not the determining factor of someone’s worth. And it shows us that the world is best understood through the eyes of the surfing mystic. It doesn’t get much better than this.


Predator 2 (1990)

It’s been a few years since I first saw Predator, but I can say for certain I enjoyed Predator 2 much more than the first! I think the best way to sour an action flick is to make it too serious (and maybe the second best way is to put Schwarzenegger in it!); Predator 2 doesn’t make either mistake. About ten minutes into this, I turned to Q and said “this is a comic book!”

Cop vs. Fed: The Eternal Battle.

Cop vs. Fed: The Eternal Battle.

Set in 1997 Los Angeles, Lieutenant Mike Harrigan (Danny Glover) and his fellow coppers are having a hell of a time dealing with the turf war between the Jamaican and Colombian drug lords, exacerbated by the terrible heat wave gripping the city. During a huge shoot-out, Harrigan ignores his superiors and enters the complex where most of the gangsters ended up – only to find them all slain, and some of them curiously hanging upside down.

Shortly after this discovery, we’re introduced to everyone’s favorite Fed, Gary Busey, who here plays Special Agent Peter Keyes. Keyes has been brought in to investigate, but no real details are given as to why. Harrigan, of course, doesn’t want to give up the fight and hand it over to the feds, so we get a lot of good-old angry-cop-taking-the-law-into-his-own-hands action. Anyway, it takes a while but finally Harrigan figures out that weird blurry figure everyone’s been seeing isn’t the heat playing tricks on them, it’s a terrible monster wreaking havoc on the city!

Predator 2 reminds me a lot of one of my most favorite television shows: Walker, Texas Ranger: in both, the bad guys are

Oh, Billy Paxton, always driving the ladies wild...

Oh, Billy Paxton, always driving the ladies wild…

really bad, and the cops are really into being cops (and renegade, of course). The major difference is Predator 2 definitely maintains an air of lightness and goofiness about it (see: Bill Paxton’s Jerry Lambert) and that makes it, really and truly, thoroughly enjoyable, much in the same way as the previously reviewed Full Eclipse. Both movies know what they’re doing, and boy, that really makes all the difference. I guess all Full Eclipse was missing was Gary Busey!

Bottom line: even though I’m usually clicking to see how much time is left remaining in a film (even if I love it) this one had me rapt ’til the very end. If that’s not a positive, I don’t know what is!



Full Eclipse (1993)

What if I told you it was possible to make Point Break better than it already is? I know, a claim like that is hard to back up, until I mention werewolves. Yeah, that’s right, I said Point Break with werewolves! I didn’t know it when we put it on, but that’s exactly what Full Eclipse delivered.

Mario Van Peebles plays Max Dire, an L.A. cop who desperately wants to get the scum off the streets. It keeps him up at night and it’s ruining his marriage. His partner Jim Sheldon says he’s giving up the force and settling down, finally ready to marry his girlfriend. Well it’s never good when a cop says he’s retiring at the beginning of a movie, is it? Max and Jim head into a hostage situation, and Jim gets hit bad. No one thinks he’ll make it, until a mysterious guy dressed as a cop enters his hospital room and juices him up with something. The next day, Jim is back to work, amped and ready to go, telling Max he’s no longer going to marry. Max is too keen not to see something is off here, but what could it be?

Might it have something to do with Adam Garou and his group of vigilante cops? Of course it does! These aren’t just vigilante cops, though – they’re all junked up on something that turns them into invincible werewolves, and they want Max on their team. He’s low-hanging fruit: he’s smart, he’s good, he’s vulnerable due to his marriage troubles, and he hates criminals. But he’s also very by-the-book, and so it takes several different kinds of convincing before Max is brought into the fray.

Holy crap, this movie is awesome. I haven’t had this much fun watching a movie since maybe the first time I saw the aforementioned Point Break. But there’s one very important difference between the two movies: Full Eclipse knows all the jokes. It knows it’s a joke and it takes us along for the ride. While I loved (perhaps inexplicably) Point Break, it’s undeniable that it takes itself very, very seriously. This movie certainly does not, and that’s what is so much fun about it! It will push all your it’s-tough-being-a-straight-cop buttons, and it’s winking at you while doing it.  This certainly was the perfect antidote to the heady Ganja & Hess. This movie has nothing to say, and sometimes that’s just what you need.


Old Wave