Saturday, May 15, 2010
Cast: Michael Dudikoff, Steve James, John P. Ryan, James Booth, Bill Wallace, Karl Johnson
American Samurai (1992) * *1/2
Cast: David Bradley, Mark Dacascos, Valarie Trapp, Rex Ryon, John Fujioka
Directed by Sam Firstenberg
David Bradley stars as journalist and closet samurai (?) who enters a brutal tournament to fight his stepbrother (Dacascos) who has stolen his sacred sword (Dacascos is ticked off his biological father gave the sword to Bradley (an orphan taken in by the family) than him) and so much combat ensues in which weapons dispatch competitors in especially gory ways. American Samurai is a near miss mainly due to the two leads. Dacascos is hammy and far too over the top in the role as the villain (He certainly is no Bolo Yeung) while Bradley is extremely wooden and dull in the lead. So while American Samurai has some well done action and a few exciting moments here and there, it just doesn’t work as the film doesn’t even generate the minimal human interest that a martial arts films has to do. The film’s only bright spot in terms of characters come from Valarie Trapp and Rex Ryon who are well suited to their roles and are likable despite the fact that the film’s ridiculous screenplay gives them little to do. American Samurai then is a mediocre effort, a failed attempt to turn this into the next American Ninja, but while that had far more ambition and more creativity, American Samurai just has battle arena carnage and dull characters. A forgettable effort for sure, but fans of Bradley and Dacascos might enjoy the mindless antics here.
Cyborg Cop (1993) * *
Cast: David Bradley, John Rhys-Davies, Alonna Shaw, Todd Jensen
Directed by Sam Firstenberg
David Bradley stars as Jack Ryan (Hunt For Red October this is not) a DEA agent who looks to save his brother from terrorists (Davies in a decent performance as usual) who has turned said brother into a cyborg and to which Bradley finds a squeeze in reporter (Shaw) and finds that beating these bad guys will be difficult. Cyborg Cop is a competent effort and is never dull for a second, the only problem is that is that it’s so routine when it should be better than it is. Bradley is okay in the role (Way better than he was in American Ninja 3-5 and American Samurai) but he isn’t action as much as he should be. The only real life of this film (aside from the action) comes from the subplot between Bradley and Shaw who make for a surprisingly likable couple. Indeed it isn’t much as this film doesn’t even stand up to the better B.movies that exploit this material in far more interesting ways but Cyborg Cop is painless to sit through and does provide some fun even if all of it is done in a completely by the numbers way.