Showdown in Little Tokyo (1991) from The Realist and Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

The Realist's comments:

Now I don't know that much about Japanese culture, so I always welcome a chance to learn. For example:

  • I learned from this film that when Japanese people wave things through the air, that those objects make whooshing, swishing, and whistling sounds.
  • I also learned about the code of honor that says no matter what is at stake, even a trillion dollar jewel heist or something, if a guy challenges you to fight him with fists or ornamental swords or throwing stars or candied yams, that you must drop your Uzi and take up that exact challenge instead of just blasting him into oblivion.
  • I also learned that if a cop has a white father and a Japanese mother, he will have a Japanese last name (Murata). Must be some matriarchal culture thing.
  • I learned that there is always a fireworks-driven parade every night in every Asian neighborhood.

I also learned that sumo is not just for Japanese fat guys, but can be practiced by nubile young babes as well. Unfortunately, ESPN only carries the fat guy type. I also learned that Japanese food isn't really all raw fish. It just smells like raw fish, for reasons that are obvious in this picture.

I also learned that if Depends ever decides to penetrate the Japanese market, they're going to kick some ass, because Japanese guys don't wait until they are 80 to start wearing diapers. Somewhere amid the diapers and tattoos, there are a couple of topless chicks as well. In traditional Japanese culture, nothing impresses the chicks more than a man with full-body tattoos and his diaper turned at a rakish angle. The only thing necessary to round it off is a suitably menacing expression, and the ability to shout "hi-ya" really loud and fast. I guess the new technology, like the internet, is showing us how much alike we all are. Grade-B movie parties, whether held in Tokyo, Little Tokyo or Belfast, always include plenty of topless extras.

Renee Griffin offers to give some head to the leader of the Japanese bad guys. He takes this a bit too literally, and chops hers off with a ceremonial sword. I guess it's a ceremonial sword. Tell the truth, I can't tell a ceremonial sword from a Gillette Good News razor. I hear that the new, modernized Yakuza don't use straight-edge ceremonial swords for their beheadings any more, but electric razors. Maybe you remember the Norelco ad for this product "floating heads, floating heads ......"


Tera Tabrizi - full front and rear nudity. Tera Tabrizi is someone you and I know well, even though we have no idea what she looks like. She is a professional body double. In this case, she provided the stunt breasts for Tia Carrere, and some stunt butt as well. Nice ones, too.

Renee Amman - shows her breasts in the beheading scene,

Many topless extras. (1) Three dancers in the club (2) A dancer changing backstage (3) Two or three topless women in the public baths scene (4) The two topless sumo women (5) And the "sushi woman"

Dolph Lundgren shows his buns in a protracted scene, and his penis for one or two frames.

Tia Carrere also appears in the movie, fully dressed, and with some very strange facial expressions, like one of those Mexican dancers about to cock her head and raise her skirts and do an intricate seduction dance to distract Zorro while the alcalde and his men attempt to capture him.

Scoop's comments:

The co-star of this film, Brandon Lee, son of the legendary Bruce Lee, would be dead within a couple of years, killed by a freak accident with a prop gun. His father died tragically young, at 33, but Brandon would never even reach his 30rd birthday.

Director Mark Lester made one of the worst movies of the 70s,and one of the worst of the 90s.

  1. (2.93) - Roller Boogie (1979)
  2. (2.87) - Public Enemies (1996)

It took him seventeen years to make a film worse than Roller Boogie, but the fact that he did so is proof of the indomitability of the human spirit. He has been making movies for thirty years, and has never made a film rated higher than 5.6 at IMDb.

Dolph Lundgren's career is not as long as Lester's, and it doesn't have a nadir quite so low as Lester's two worst movies, but the overall career arc is quite similar. Here is a list of every one of his moves rated at IMDb.

  1. (5.89) - View to a Kill, A (1985)
  2. (5.10) - Rocky IV (1985)
  3. (5.09) - Universal Soldier (1992)
  4. (4.88) - Showdown in Little Tokyo (1991)
  5. (4.85) - Peacekeeper, The (1997)
  6. (4.60) - I Come in Peace (1990)
  7. (4.60) - Johnny Mnemonic (1995)
  8. (4.51) - Men of War (1994)
  9. (4.50) - Silent Trigger (1996)
  10. (4.50) - Blackjack (1998)
  11. (4.50) - Punisher, The (1989)
  12. (4.35) - Hidden Agenda (2001)
  13. (4.33) - Joshua Tree (1993)
  14. (4.30) - Masters of the Universe (1987)
  15. (4.12) - Hidden Assassin (1995)
  16. (4.03) - Sweepers (1999)
  17. (3.84) - Pentathlon (1994)
  18. (3.70) - Storm Catcher (1999)
  19. (3.56) - Cover-Up (1991)
  20. (3.52) - Red Scorpion (1989)
  21. (3.50) - Bridge of Dragons (1999)
  22. (3.46) - Jill the Ripper (2000)
  23. (3.35) - Minion, The (1998)
  24. (3.11) - Last Patrol, The (2000)
  25. (3.06) - Captured (2000)

As you can see, Little Tokyo is his fourth highest out of 25, and is the highest-rated movie where Lundgren plays the good guy, so it's a good bet if you're a Lundgren fan. As The Realist suggested in his comments, it's a cheesefest. There are a couple of points when guys who are supposed to be covered with tats are actually just wearing flesh-colored t-shirts with tattoo designs!

But I thought it was a decent second-tier buddy cop film with a martial arts backdrop. Brandon Lee provided a much needed light touch to balance Lundgren's ultra-serious approach.

DVD info from Amazon

  • no widescreen

  • no features

Before Dolph's career in dumb movies, he had a career in academics. It seems that the big Swedish fella has some gift for science. He received a master's degree in chemical engineering from the University of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia in 1982, and was then awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to study at MIT.

In twenty five movies over nearly two decades, his career highlight is A View to a Kill!

I'd sure as hell like to hear a scientific explanation of that.

The Critics Vote ...

  • BBC 3/5

The People Vote ...

  • Gross $2.2 million
The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, this is a C-. Kinda OK grade-B buddy cop film with a martial arts overlay.

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