Showdown in Little Tokyo
"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.
AMERICAN NINJA MAN'S RATING: 3/10
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"!
RYAN LUNDGREN'S RATING: 1/10
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.
YATE'S RATING: 4/10
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?
2. Dolph dresses up as like a samurai because:
3. Dolph Lundgren was in which James Bond movie?
4. By the MPAA guidelines, what is "Showdown in Little Tokyo" rated?
5. How does the bad guy die at the end of the movie?
Answers: b, c, b, c, d.
JAMES H'S RATING: 2/10
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.
MIGHTY PEKING MAN'S RATING: 4/10