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  Directed by
    None Listed
  Starring
  Specs
  • Widescreen 1.85:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital Surround
  • French: Dolby Digital Surround
  • Italian: Dolby Digital Surround
  Subtitles
    English, French, Spanish, German, Greek, Dutch, Arabic, Portuguese
  Extras
  • Theatrical trailer

Showdown in Little Tokyo

Warner Bros./Warner Bros. . R4 . COLOR . 76 mins . R . PAL

  Feature
Contract

The front cover of this DVD says it all. “One’s a warrior. One’s a wiseguy. They’re two L.A. cops after a gang of Japanese drug lords. Feet first”. So as to be expected from a B-grade action flick the above is pretty much the entirety of the storyline, but I will try to elaborate.

Dolph Lundgren of Universal Soldier fame plays Detective Kenner, some sort of East meets West American samurai. After going through a string of partners he is teamed up with Johnny Murata, played by Brandon Lee. Lee plays the wiseguy American street cop coming from an Asian background, and Lundgren plays the 6 foot 4 blonde that is well trained in the tradition of the ancient samurai. This is an interesting comical twist that has to be seen to be believed, especially when Dolph dresses up like a goose in his traditional samurai attire, kimono and all.

Paired together, these two intrinsicly different characters have to quickly learn to trust one another as they attempt to take down a terribly menacing Japanese crime gang led by Hollywood bad-guy legend Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa. Throw in a brief, but steamy, love scene with Dolph Lundgren and Tia Carrere, imminently followed by her kidnapping by the bad guys, and you’ve got the three basic elements required to make a successful B-grade movie; action, comedy and a raunchy sex scene.

"We've got a problem here. There are more bad guys than we've got bullets."

  Video
Contract

The video quality on this one is reasonably good, considering its age of course. It appears that a fair bit of work has been put into this film, trying to keep it as clean as possible. Most of the scenes are reasonably crisp and clear, but not overly sharp. The colours all look great, with the blacks looking very deep and the brighter colours looking rather vibrant.

Aliasing and MPEG artefacts don’t appear to be a problem, although film artefacts are a common occurrence right through the film. However, they are only so mild as to not create much of a distraction. Grain is the other major problem and is also present right throughout the film, but again it is only mild and doesn't create any major distractions.

The film is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and is widescreen enhanced. Overall, considering its age, the video is quite well done.

  Audio
Contract

Unfortunately the audio is only presented in Dolby Surround 2.0 in English, French and Italian. I listened only to the English track, and it appears reasonably clean. It is a shame that this movie misses out on a 5.1 remix, but all things considered this soundtrack does suffice.

The dialogue is generally clear and easy enough to make out, some of the Japanese bad guys are hard to understand but I’d put that down to their ability to speak English, or lack thereof. There also do not appear to be any audio sync problems. The musical score by David Michael Frank is fitting, a cross between traditional Japanese music and normal '90s action movie synthesised tunes. Overall the audio isn’t great, but it holds up well and is all that is required.

  Extras
Contract

The extras are disappointing, unless you count Interactive Menus, Scene Access and a Trailer as fitting inclusions. This is however pretty typical of re-releases of movies from this generation, and is about all that we’ve come to expect these days. It's still disappointing however.

  Overall  
Contract

Running for only 76 minutes, this is the sort of fast paced action flick that was in abundance back in the early '90s. Lee and Lundgren share a great on-screen chemistry, with the late Brandon Lee dispensing some great, although corny, one liners right throughout the film. The video and audio transfers are both reasonably clean and don’t suffer from any terribly distracting faults, even though they are far from perfect.

It definitely isn’t of the same calibre of such classics as Lethal Weapon, but Showdown in Little Tokyo certainly holds its ground as a very entertaining B-grade action flick. If you’re a fan of such genres, or like the idea of Dolph Lundgren and Brandon Lee teaming up together, than this DVD is well worth checking out.


  • LINK: http://www.dvd.net.au/review.cgi?review_id=833
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      And I quote...
    "Wise guy and Samurai team up together to take down a Japanese drug lord in L.A. B-grade action at its best."
    - Nathan Clark
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Pioneer DV-636
    • TV:
          LG 80cm
    • Speakers:
          Pioneer
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard RCA
    • Video Cables:
          standard s-video
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