You might not be familiar with the term 'Z-Movie,' but if you grew up in the 90's, chances are you've seen one. They're the beyond-low-budget monstrosities that teased you from the walls of the mom-and-pop video store. Usually, the films themselves could never live up to the pictures on the videotape boxes (because this was way before your fancy 'Digital Video Discs' and 'Blu-Rays') but occasionally you'd find something truly unique. 'WEIRDO FLICKS' will clue you into some movies which 'unique' doesn't even begin to describe...
'Samurai Cop' - 1989, Directed by Amir Shervan
This could very well be the ultimate bad movie.
For one thing, the execution is poorer than even your average Troma flick. And those guys KNOW they're making silly films. Secondly, it looks like it has a much larger budget than even 3 Troma films combined. On top of that, it's supposed to be a 'hip' action film but it's directed and written by a middle-aged Iranian man with a limited grasp of the English language.
...and it's also the most entertaining hour and a half of 80's action cinema ever created.
The premise is your basic 'Lethal Weapon' knockoff - LAPD bring in a no-rules cop from San Francisco named Joe Marshall who's also a 'trained' Samurai warrior. Or, everyone keeps saying he is. He can't pronounce any Japanese words besides 'Katana' (which, according to him, translates exactly to 'Japanese sword') and the fight scenes are so poorly choreographed that suspension of disbelief isn't even an option.
Writer/director Amir Shervan's broken English becomes something totally unique in the mouths of these bargain-bin actors...everything is so, so far from how real people talk that this film could've been made by space aliens. He also seems to have forgot who the protagonist is, because Joe is too busy getting laid while his new cop 'friends' get killed. This happens like, 3 TIMES. He is also unreasonably rude to every female character in the movie, sometimes bordering on verbal abuse. Don't worry, it's funny.
Then, you've got the stunts. Lots and lots and lots of stunts. Possibly millions of dollars'-worth. WHO PUT UP THE MONEY FOR THIS THING? Or did Amir fund it himself? And why did he come to America after a fairly successful Iranian film career to make three mind-alteringly bizarre action flicks, and then disappear?
Whatever the case, 'Samurai Cop' is like an injection of pure 1980's, and if you're a fan of 'Toxic Avenger'-esque low-budget sleaze, you MUST see this. It's unbelievable.
Oh yeah, and if you believe the little blurb after this article, Amir had a habit of NEVER getting permits to film, which resulted in a few interactions with the law. In one instance, he was supposedly caught with a few rented cop cars going 90 MPH in a residential area. Upon being detained, he cursed out the cops and threatened to blow their houses up. Yes, you need to see his films anyway you can.
VHS photo by Toby Hudson.