Showdown in Little Tokyo

sdilt.gif sdilt2.gif

"You know a movie sucks when Dolph Lundgren is the star."

- Mighty Peking Man

Showdown in Little Tokyo (1991)

AKA: American Samurai (working title)

Directors: Mark L. Lester

Writer: Stephen Glantz, Caliope Brattlestreet

Producer: John C. Broderick (co-producer), Martin E. Caan, Mark L. Lester

Cast: Dolph Lundgren, Brandon Lee, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Tia Carrere, Toshiro Obata, Philip Tan, Rodney Kageyama, Ernie Lively, Renee Griffin, Reid Asato, Takayo Fischer, Simon Rhee

Running Time: 75/76 min.

Plot: A warrior and a wise guy. They're Los Angeles cops who mix punches with punchlines in a knockdown, gundown Showdown In Little Tokyo. Dolph Lundgren is the muscle, an American samurai steeped in Eastern traditions. Brandon Lee is a "Valley dude" quipster with a lot of fight in him. Together they hang tough in a war with a lurid L.A. underworld of Japanese drug lords.


AMERICAN NINJA MAN'S REVIEW: Showdown In Little Tokyo pretty much defines the cluelessness of martial arts movies, first off with the damn title. I mean talk about spoilers, it's obvious that some of us didn't want to know where the showdown was taking place, I mean I was really hoping and praying that the showdown would take place near a hooters or world's largest Taco Bell, I mean think of the possibilities and the intriguiging questions explored if Lundgren and Lee started kicking the yakuza's ass in the biggest Taco Bell in the U.S, I mean this would even show how sinister the Yakuza are because they're the bastards behind Taco Bell and we might've even learned what happened to that damn dog. But No, the damn executives had to spoil it and let us know that Dolph Lundgren and Brandon Lee were showdowning in little tokyo. This pisses me off, almost as much as losing my right to masturbate at Taco Bell. Anyway politics aside, The movie pretty much offers a crash course on why the Japanese are evil little bastards who needed to be brought back in line by the Swedish connection depicted in this film.

Oh by the way, not only is the Dolphster Swedish, so is Brandon Lee (and this is true check IMDb!) and as a Swede myself, I shit myself in amazement over how far us Swedes have come. In this movie us Swedes kick ass, tip over cars, jump over cars (A great drinking game, so the guy from Generic Mugwump says) and we get to nail hot asian chicks because we have the biggest dicks ever seen on men. However that isn't what it's all about for Swedes, rather we know we can have any chick we want, but we like to hone in our skill and trust me when you're Swedish the pickup line "Do you hog the blankets?" actually works because we don't say it to get laid, but rather it's a rhetorical question which is a thinly disguised question which rules out whether the bitch is fat or not. Trust me as a drunken Swede, you'd be surprised at how helpful this pickup line is.

However there is something more than the study of Swedish culture, Swedish people and the sociological questions about us Swedes that this flick tries to define and answer. Rather there is an alarming rate of homoeroticism. As Dolph Lundgren and Brandon Lee's characters are looking to constantly fuck each other at regular intervals. Sure, Dolph plays hard to get but he sure likes being shirtless or wearing nothing but green underwear while Brandon Lee looks on with approving glee. Also witness this dialog which cries to the heavens in a flamboyant cry for help for two tough guys facing a homosexuality that neither of them can hide. To Wit

"Listen up you zen warrior samurai asshole, I want to know what's up because despite myself, I like you!"

"That upper body strength really slows you down"

"Riley sent me, i'm your new partner!"

"I was 4, there's nothing wrong with my form!"

"No stay here, three rooms, three futons!"

"You give up everything you are, and you get me killed too!" (Dolph's got a gun pointed at the head of the man who killed his parents, and yet doesn't pull the trigger because he doesn't want Lee to die"

"There's got to be 9 guys in there!" (Brandon Lee begging Dolph not to go and risk his life to save Tia Carerre)

"Use some of that upper body strength!"

"In case we get killed, I wanted to tell you, you have got the biggest dick i've ever seen on a man!"

This is all delivered by Brandon Lee and Dolph Lundgren, and although one is willing to brush such homoeroticism off, the last line opens the movie up on a new level. (No pun intended) and if anything else this movie depicts two macho men who bicker far more than they kick ass. Okay Dolph beds Tia Carerre, but given his demeanor and the bewilderment on his face, it becomes obvious he's lost interest in heterosexuality all together. Tia's line "That time I heard you cumming" only promises that there's no way he can quit sweet Brandon. In fact the absurd costume he wears at the end, doesn't indicate bad taste in fashion but rather how flamboyant he's now become. In fact the dialog even becomes symbolic in some places such as when Dolph and Brandon tell the yakuza "Hell sucked, so we came back!" came back as what though? Two certified Swedish asskicking gays that prove once and for all that the closet no longer can contain them since they now have machine guns and bombs!

If anything else Showdown In Little Tokyo is about militant gayness that can only be expressed by kicking and killing the yakuza, sure Tia's got her head on Dolph's shoulder but it was only Brandon who he would die for. After all love is a many splendered thing.

The movie itself is generic white guy asskicking, with sometimes okay action, embarrassing budget limitations and acting so horrid, one is surpised that Lundgren and Lee went on to do better movies, but hey I'd like to say that such a movie paved the way for Brokeback Mountain. As an action movie itself, it's pretty lame. Although it does have it's unintentional amusements.


RYAN LUNDGREN'S REVIEW: Everybody on this site (and those who know me) knows I am willing to defend a Dolph Lundgren movie that I like but really, there is only several that I like. Dolph Lundgren is a mixed bag with everybody, some like him, some don't - same with his movies. However S.I.L.T. is one movie that I hate and everybody that I know hates it.

So here we go, let's cover what you see in this movie.

    1. Dolph jumping over a car (it must have take one helluva wire to hold Dolph up!).

    2. Dolph and Brandon shielding themselves from gun shots with a table (who knew they used bulletproof tables!).

    3. A sex and beheading scene (Which looks strangely like a plastic doll head).

    4. Lots of nude women (More appalling than appealing).

    6. Horrible acting. (People say Brandon is good her, I beg to differ, his character reminds me of a little puppy who follows the bulldog around saying 'come on Spike, come on!' However, compared to Dolph [who looks like he's sleeping] - he's like Robert De Niro. But wait! Dolph doesn't even give the worst performance here! Tia Carrera does with her very annoying damsel in distress loser image in this movie.).

    7. Horrible directing (the underwater scenes look clearer than it does on land!)

    8. Horrible script (any movie that has Brandon compliment Dolph on the size of his penis is beyond redemption!)

    9.Bad costumes (what were they thinking when they had Dolph wear the samurai suit! He looks like a rainbow on steroids).

    10.Bad action scenes (the fight scenes look like two drunks slugging it out in the alley (especially the ones with Lee) and the gunfire is very average hollywood stuff.

That is all Showdown In Little Tokyo offers. Watch it drunk or prepare to shoot the television set because watching S.I.L.T. is slightly less painful than getting a kick in the nuts.

The bottomline is that this is a low point for Lundgren so avoid it like his other films: "Red Scorpion","Army Of One"(Joshua Tree),"Pentathlon","Johnny Mnemonic","The Minion","Sweepers","Storm Catcher" and "Agent Red"!


YATE'S REVIEW: You wanna know what is really sad? This is one of Dolph Lundgren's better films. It's a shame Brandon Lee wasted his time on this crap. An abomination.


JAMES H'S REVIEW: In Brandon Lee's short career he made this little movie that went mostly unnoticed, or at least he was mostly unnoticed in it. In either case, that was a good thing, because "Showdown in Little Tokyo" is a career-stopping movie. I would not hire anyone based on this movie.

The movie stars (shudder) Dolph Lundgren ("Rocky IV", "The Punisher") and Brandon Lee as two LA cops trying to crack a Yakuza gang. Things are complicated when it turns out that the head of said gang also killed Lundgren's parents all those years ago.

The movie's main and biggest problem is that the script it completely and wholly inept. It follows a very standard cycle: fight, talk, fight, talk, fight ad nausea until the movie is over. To spice is up, tack on an obviously tacked on sex scene just past the halfway point of the movie.

The script being inept has a ripple-effect on the rest of the movie; everything else is inept. The cinematography, direction, fights, characters and costumes (Lundgren looks beyond ridiculous in his samurai outfit).

The fights being very poor hurts the movie even more because this is an action movie, and fights are why people will watch this movie. Lee more than holds his own, but he doesn't get enough screen time (at 78 minutes, there isn't much to give). Unfortunately, Lundgren gets to do more of the fighting. He looks big, slow and dumb, and so do the fights.

This movie is definitely for Brandon Lee enthusiasts only. That is, unless, you like Dolph. If you do, this'll be right up your ally.

Take the "Showdown in Little Tokyo" quiz! If you get at least one answer right, you will have taken away more than you would had you seen the movie!

1. Which of the following lines did Brandon Lee NOT say in the aforementioned movie?

    a) "We'll nail this guy and when were done we'll eat fish off those naked chicks!"
    b) "Hey Goober, where's the meat?"
    c) "You have the right to die!"
    d) "I just wanted to tell you that you have the biggest dick I have ever seen on a man."

2. Dolph dresses up as like a samurai because:

    a) He wants to look like a damn fool in public.
    b) He's a big fan of Japanese sword-play movies from the 1960s.
    c) There is absolutely no logical reason.
    d) Costumes is fun!

3. Dolph Lundgren was in which James Bond movie?

    a) GoldenEye
    b) A View to a Kill
    c) For Your Eyes Only
    d) License to Kill

4. By the MPAA guidelines, what is "Showdown in Little Tokyo" rated?

    a) PG-13
    b) NC-17
    c) R
    d) PG

5. How does the bad guy die at the end of the movie?

    a) He is stabbed through the stomach with a sword
    b) He is nailed to a fireworks pin-wheel.
    c) He blows up.
    d) All of the above.

Answers: b, c, b, c, d.


MIGHTY PEKING MAN'S REVIEW: The only good thing about this movie is Brandon Lee's screen presence and Tia Carrere's bodydouble. That's it. The acting is so bad, especially Dolph Lundgren's, who can't even say one word and come off as a decent actor. The whole movie is nothing but a bunch of cheezy one-liners (at one point, Brandon says to Dolph "Just in case we die, I just wanna tell you that you have the biggest dick I've ever seen on man..."), awful action-choreography, and REAL bad costume design - what the hell were they thinking when they had Mr. Lundgren sport the super-samurai outfit? The bottom lines is: You know a movie sucks when Dolph Lundgren is the star.