Showdown in Little Tokyo (1991) – Review

3 Stars

Warner Bros. quietly dumped this cult classic into theaters in the summer of 1991. Rumored to have been severely re-cut by the studio and given no publicity, this underrated ‘buddy’ picture is a pleasurable but slight film that is best remembered for a line uttered by Brandon Lee referring to Dolph Lundgren’s genitals. Its that kind of movie.

Dolph Lundgren is Kenner a white cop raised with a knowledge and appreciation of Japanese culture. Brandon Lee (in one of his few screen appearances) is a Murata, an Asian American raised in the ‘Valley’. The underlying idea that the two’s upbringing are ironically reversed is an interesting idea that is touched upon briefly never to be referenced again. It’s just one of the many frustrating aspects to this flawed but admittedly highly watchable action picture.

The unremarkable direction by Mark L. Lester is a surprise considering that he had made the similarly enjoyable empty-headed Schwarzengger film ‘Commando’. What saves the film from being a total turkey is the by-play and screen chemistry between Lee and Lundgren, its apparent that Lee had the makings of a major star and Lundgren seems to have benefited from the give and take because his line readings here are some of the most relaxed of his entire career. Add to the mix a heinous villain in Yakuza leader Cary Tagawa, a fantastic score by genera veteran David Michael Frank and a barely feature length running time of 75minutes. All make for a silly yet amusing guilty pleasure.

Director: Mark L. Lester
Stars: Dolph Lundgren, Brandon Lee, Cary Tagawa

Buy It On Amazon

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *