Bad Movie Night Presents: Samurai Cop 2
Directed by: Gregory Hatanaka
When I learned that there was a fundraising campaign to bring a sequel to the hilarious cult classic to fruition, I was all kinds of excited. The original SC still remains today one of the best Bad Movies ever made, and one of the most unintentionally hilarious films I've ever seen. With the sequel, I remember reading that the young filmmaker behind it was going to "capture the spirit" of the original film and give fans the film they've been waiting for all these years. 25 years to be exact. So when the film was completed and the DVD/Bluray was announced, I immediately put my pre-order in, so I wouldn't possibly miss out. When we set this film's Bad Movie Night screening date to our group, it was only by sheer coincidence that it would also mark the 1 year anniversary of our hugely successful screening of the first Samurai Cop to a roaring crowd. So a bit of nostalgia set in and we were all really excited.
Where do I begin with this film. It was fucking terrible. SC2 is hands down one of the worst films I have ever seen, and this is coming from someone who loves bad films. In trying to capture the essence of the first film's hilariously bad qualities, SC2 overreaches by a mile, and the result is a mess of a film, one that tries too hard to "try" and be funny, only not succeeding. The constant winks at the camera from pretty much every actor, to the constant silly and purposely over-the-top hammy acting only make you cringe. It's so bizarre, really. The actors, half of which are porn stars, are so terrible that had the film been at least funny, you could forgive them, but when you're bored to tears through a tedious script that literally makes zero sense, you audibly mouth "whaaaat??", and "huh??", or you just roll your eyes and yawn. The nonsense on display here is aggravating, annoying, and an insult to the legacy of that classic first film. I honestly have no idea what director Gregory Hatanaka was thinking while making this. It's so bad that you wonder what parts were on purpose, and what, if any, was purely accidental. I can't tell you, and I doubt anyone else would be able to tell. Everything about this film; the acting, production, effects, camera work, choreography, directing, script, music, is so awful and so far off the mark that we just couldn't finish it. That's right. At 45 minutes in, I just couldn't take any more and shut the damn thing off.
There are ways to take a genre, concept, or even a film and pay tribute to it. There are successful ways to go about it, and honor it while also being 100% self-aware. Hobo With a Shotgun did it, Planet Terror did it, Hateful Eight did it, as well as a handful of others, successfully. Writer/Director Gregory Hatanaka has no clear idea on how to do this, or even make a solid film in general. Even if he had failed at providing us with the spirited homage we had wanted, if the film had been at least genuinely funny or entertaining in the slightest, then that could have been an easy pass. But the fact of the matter is that there is "nothing" salvageable here, not even the inclusion of Tommy Wiseau, which I was really excited about. Stunt casting is the first word that comes to mind. And even then, I could not tell if he was honestly that terrible, or if he was hamming it up on purpose.
Speaking of casting, I will say this, it was great seeing Matt Hannon again. While noticeably older, the guy delivers the goods. It's just sad because the guy literally disappeared from site for 25 years, only to be found, alive and well, with his cult status tarnished with this film. And considering the talent involved in this film's large cast, I'm genuinely surprised to say that porn actress Kayden Kross was actually the best actor in this entire film, no lie. Joe's partner Matt Frazer, who also hadn't appeared in a film since the original, seems to have forgotten how to act entirely. Not that he was a thespian to begin with, but at least in the first film he was passable, and even funny. Everyone else, most notably the endless barrage of cult film icons, were just flat-out awful. Joe Estevez (Soultaker), Laurene Landon (Maniac Cop 1 & 2), Tommy Wiseau (The Room), Melissa Moore (Sorority House Massacre 2, Hard to Die), and worst of all, Bai Ling (The Crow). What the hell was she on? I mean, I know she's not known to be a great actress to begin with, but holy hell was she terrible in this.
This film looks like it was shot on a single weekend, with no script in hand, like everything was made up on the spot. Nothing flows, and the constant transitions from one sequence to the next leave you utterly confused. Is it supposed to be in the future? Present day? What is the story even about? Why is it so ridiculously confusing? There is so much that doesn't make any sense or even lead anywhere that sometimes it feels like you're watching 2 different films at the same time. And what the fuck is up with the horrendous soundtrack? I don't know about you, but I found the original films cheesy synth score to be a huge bonus to the experience, but for some odd reason, they decided to fill this film with R & B tunes that are so bad and seem to belong in a totally different film!
I'm done. I'm exhausted. I can't go on anymore. Save yourself the frustration and skip this one.