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Brandon’s Blu-ray Wishlist – August 7, 2014

Brandon's Blu-ray Wishlist THUMBWe’re almost to Expendables 3!  It comes out next week.  Still 2 movies left for the ‘Countdown To Expendables 3‘ series.  Today we focus on series mainstay, and one who’s action career started with a little pick me up by starring with Stallone in Rocky IV, Dolph Lundgren.  Dolph was supposed to be the next big thing and was given some iconic roles to lead off his career.  He was handed both He-Man and The Punisher (which in case you’re wondering why the choice today wasn’t this film, it IS available in Region B in two territories).  But, aside from action junkies, I don’t think Dolph ever really took off as large as he was supposed to.  However, Dolph never quit.  From Rocky IV to the present, the guy has been doing pure action movies.  Granted he’s gone from big theatrical releases, to minimal, to straight-to-video…but still working nonetheless.  During his heyday I was never a big fan, but looking back, I’ve taken to the guy and have really enjoyed going back to his old films for another look.

Showdown In Little Tokyo wishlist

Showdown In Little Tokyo (1991)

I remember this film being a staple of the early 90s on either Showtime or Cinemax.  Likely, it was Cinemax, and watching the film it DEFINITELY feels like their type of movie.  Dolph and Brandon Lee were teaming up for a buddy cop action film.  Showdown was also supposed to be Lee’s big American debut.  However, Warner Brothers was unhappy with the film and hacked up and bare gave it a theatrical run and put it out as straight-to-video in other countries.  It did receive a boost in interest in popularity following the death of Brandon Lee on the set of The Crow, as did a lot of his other work.  Aside from Rapid Fire and The Crow, Showdown In Little Tokyo was Brandon Lee’s only other American theatrical release (The legendary film Laser Mission was American but only straight to VHS).

Showdown 2

Showdown In Little Tokyo is the very definition of a 90s action exploitation film.  It just has a bit more class in its casting and directing.  The man behind Commando, Mark Lester, directs this romp that is full guns firing, explosions, blood, gore, one-liners and boobs.  Its also got a breakneck pace as it travels full speed through its barely feature length runtime at 75 minutes.  This may be more of a “guy” film as its treatment of women is not ideal.  Its got a tonal balance of trying to have some jokes and be a lighthearted fun action picture, but in the meantime is super violent and makes some really dark decisions.  There’s a couple rapes and lots (I repeat, LOTS) of topless, helpless women throughout.  Mortal Kombat‘s Shang Tsung and Ninja Turtles‘ Tatsu are our villains in this and they are pretty awful toward women.  This film might be most notable for its crazy Yakuza office scene with the character of Angel.  Tia Carrere is our damsel in distress, but that’s about all she amounts too aside from being a super fox (and you gotta get a laugh at those obvious body double naked scenes she has).

Showdown 4

Dolph and Brandon Lee have some solid chemistry and work together well enough.  Is it odd that Brandon Lee kind of looks like Chris Klein in this movie?  I found it funny that Dolph is the one all esteemed and well versed in Japanese culture and language while Lee has no clue about any of it.  No matter what you have to say about Dolph, the guy always seemed to have a sense of recognizing what kind of movie he was in.  And Lee has a really enjoyable campy performance.  Lee also gets to display his martial arts skills, while Dolph gets to display his naked self more than a few times in the film.

Showdown 1

Warner Bros apparently were really unhappy with this film.  They made 2 further edits after the final cut of the film.  Apparently after the first cut, they decided they wanted this to be as much of a Brandon Lee vehicle as they could.  So they used more of his stuff and cut down a lot of Dolph’s scenes which included a 10 minute opening sequence with Dolph and his former partner.  After they were unsatisfied with that cut of the film, Warner had it cut even more to try and speed things up.  And yes, you can tell because this movie moves really fast and carries only the bare bones of plot and character development.  Its been said that a lot of the character relationships and development have been left on the cutting room floor.  And with this film running only 75 minutes (72 without credits) that’s a big alert that there was probably much more to this movie.  Was it the right choice?  Well, we’d have to see the uncut version of the film to be able to give final sanction to that decision.  As it is though, I think it fully passes as a trashy late night pure action popcorn movie.  Showdown is a film that is never ever dull or boring as there’s enough here to wow, shock, exhilarate and giggle.  Plus its over before you know it.

Showdown 3

Why is it that it always comes back to Warner Bros on these Blu-ray wishlist requests?  They are definitely a studio that’s been holding back the goods.  Meanwhile they rerelease Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein again, trying to trick you that they are new, when in reality its just fancier packaging.  Showdown In Little Tokyo must have been favorable for them in the advent of DVD because they first released it back in 1998.  Since, its been rereleased in a DVD 2-Pack with Bloodsport in 2006 and most recently a 4-pack that included Bloodsport, The Corrupter and Rumble In The Bronx (ANOTHER film they’re holding out on us with!!!).  This film is so short it could easily be paired up with another film sharing a disc.  If Warner Bros has another Dolph film they could do that, or HEY! give us Rumble In The Bronx/Showdown In Little Tokyo 2-pack.  Yes, that pairing makes no sense aside from them both being WB, but Rumble is only available in a Region B locked release.  I think this film with a lossless audio track would be a treat for your surround system!

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

1 Response to “Brandon’s Blu-ray Wishlist – August 7, 2014”


  1. Gerard Iribe

    YES!

    I remember when Brandon Lee pulls the Blanca from Street Fighter 2 summersault kick on Dolph. #mindblown