Samurai Cop

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Samurai Cop
Directed byAmir Shervan
Produced byOrlando Corradi
Amir Shervan
Written byAmir Shervan
Music byAlan DerMarderosian
CinematographyPeter Palian
Edited byRuben Zadurian
Amir Shervan
Hollywood Royal Pictures
Distributed byDemel International Corporation
Cinema Epoch
Release date
  • 1991 (1991)
Running time
96 minutes
CountryUnited States

Samurai Cop is a 1991 American direct-to-video action film directed, produced and written by Amir Shervan. The film stars Robert Z'Dar, Matt Hannon and Mark Frazer. The film has attained a cult following, and is often cited as one of the worst films of all time.


When a renegade Japanese gang known as the Katana take control of the cocaine trade in Los Angeles, the LAPD transfer in a Samurai Cop from the SDPD to help tackle the problem. Joe Marshall has been trained by the masters in Japan and speaks fluent Japanese, but dresses like a commoner.

An attempted bust meets with failure after a bizarre car chase leads to multiple deaths and the only witness burned and unable to testify. Katana boss Fuj Fujiyama orders the injured Katana member to be executed and his head displayed on a piano to remind all functioning Katana members of their code of silence. Joe and his partner Frank confront the Katana at the Carlos'n Charlie's restaurant on Sunset Boulevard and attempt to reprimand them into obeying the law. When that fails, Fujiyama's right-hand man Yamashita wages war in the parking lot, executing his own men who fail to subdue Joe and Frank, thus maintaining the code of silence.

Joe then stalks Fujiyama's girlfriend Jennifer and seduces her. They have sexual relations while several of his police comrades are tortured and killed by the Katana gang who are looking for him. Unable to contain his anger any longer, commanding officer Captain Roma sanctions an assassination of every single Katana gang member. Joe and Frank head to Fujiyama's compound and gun down every living person and a final sword battle between Joe and Yamashita ends the reign of terror. To celebrate, Joe and Jennifer once again have relations.



Filming took place over several months, starting in June 1990. When actor Hannon had considered shooting to be finished, he had his hair cut short, only to be told that further shooting was to be done. Director Shervan obtained a ladies' wig for the actor, which can be seen in several close up shots throughout the movie.[1] Lead actor Hannon stated that he and several other actors became frustrated with the dialogue in the movie, while also expressing frustration at the lack of multiple takes. Hannon admitted to intentionally ruining takes due to his frustration assuming that Shrevan would not put them in the movie, but these takes ended up in the movie. A reflective Hannon was able to laugh at this, stating "so shame on me" in a 2014 interview with RedLetterMedia. The shooting schedule was also poorly planned as Hannon and Mark Frazier both assumed the film was finished before Shrevan called them in for reshoots in early 1991.

Amir Shervan could not afford lighting to shoot at night so the entire film is set during the day. Actors also wore their own clothes and drive their own cars. Much of the film was also shot without sound and done with single takes. Shervan had to dub on voices months after production but could not get many of the bit part actors to return. He chose to use his own voice and warped it in post-production to sound different. His lack of ability to do this correctly resulted in ADR with a heavily robotic sound.

Release and sequel[edit]

The film was never given a theatrical release, though Polish distributor Demel International Corporation released it on VHS.[2][3] It was released on DVD by Media Blasters[4][5] in 2004 and on DVD in 2013 and Blu-Ray in 2014 by Cinema Epoch. Gregory Hatanaka, founder of Cinema Epoch, has also produced and directed a sequel, Samurai Cop 2: Deadly Vengeance.[1]


Since its release, the film has developed a cult following, and has been referenced in text and video reviews about bad movies.[6][7][8][9]

On March 25, 2016, Samurai Cop was released as a VOD title by RiffTrax. The RiffTrax edition received a two-day theatrical release in April 2017, provided by Fathom Events.[10]


  1. ^ a b Azevedo, Jeremy (10 September 2014). "We Met the Star of 'Samurai Cop', One of the Best (and Worst) Action Movies of All Time". Vice. Retrieved 16 February 2014.
  2. ^ RedLetterMedia (Producer) (2014-09-05). A Conversation with Samurai Cop star Matt Hannon (part 2 of 2). Event occurs at 144 seconds. Retrieved 2015-12-13. I think maybe one guy bought the option in Europe.
  3. ^ "Samurai Cop (1989) on Demel (United Kingdom VHS videotape)". Video Collector. Retrieved 2015-12-13.
  4. ^ "Samurai Cop". Barnes & Noble. Retrieved 2015-12-13.
  5. ^ "Samurai Cop". Media Blasters. 2005-04-20. Archived from the original on April 20, 2005. Retrieved 2015-12-13.
  6. ^ "How BAD is Samurai Cop??? (PART 1 of 2)". FanboyFlicks. February 1, 2015. Retrieved March 25, 2016.
  7. ^ "How BAD is Samurai Cop??? (PART 2 of 2)". FanboyFlicks. February 1, 2015. Retrieved March 25, 2016.
  8. ^ "Hurts So Good - SAMURAI COP". Ain't It Cool News. June 14, 2012. Retrieved March 25, 2016.
  9. ^ "Samurai Cop - Hilariocity Review". Chris Stuckmann. February 7, 2016. Retrieved March 25, 2016.
  10. ^ "RiffTrax Live: Samurai Cop". Fathom Events. Retrieved March 25, 2017.

External links[edit]