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Posts Tagged ‘Brandon Lee’

Showdown in Little Tokyo

Wednesday, August 25th, 2021

“Y’know – this is a weird part of town.”

August 23, 1991

SHOWDOWN IN LITTLE TOKYO is a movie I have long enjoyed (here is a pretty dumb review of it I wrote 13 years ago). It’s a buddy cop movie starring Dolph Lundgren (between COVER UP and UNIVERSAL SOLDIER) and Brandon Lee (between LASER MISSION and RAPID FIRE), so any possible deficiencies are easily overcome by their great charisma and the unrepeatable novelty of their team-up. Watching it in the context of these other ’91 movies it does seem slightly primitive; it’s a Warner Bros. movie, but the budget was $8 million, which is less than DOUBLE IMPACT – or even non-action stuff like DEAD AGAIN, THE COMMITMENTS, BINGO, RETURN TO THE BLUE LAGOON and LIFE STINKS – let alone the new state-of-the-art represented by POINT BREAK and TERMINATOR 2. Fortunately it’s in the capable exploitation hands of director Mark L. Lester (STEEL ARENA, CLASS OF 1984, FIRESTARTER, COMMANDO, CLASS OF 1999), so it has heavy doses of The Good Shit. He always gives you something extra.

Just as MYSTERY DATE has its two leads getting into trouble with gangs in Chinatown, this is about two guys fighting a Yakuza drug ring in L.A.’s Japanese district. In this case that’s in their job description as members of the LAPD Asian Crime Taskforce. Dolph’s Sergeant Chris Kenner gets the kind of introduction all his characters deserve: he single-handedly raids an illegal fighting circuit by climbing through a skylight, swinging into the ring on a rope and saying, “Haven’t I told you this is illegal, and it pisses me off?” Then he’s announced as the new challenger and has to fight the guys in the ring. (read the rest of this shit…)

Rapid Fire

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

tn_rapidfireAlthough THE CROW is what most people remember Brandon Lee for, it was this 1992 urban martial arts picture, his next to last starring role, that made the most serious attempt to turn him into an action icon. It positions him to continue his father’s legacy but in the context of American action of the early ’90s. John Woo and Jackie Chan movies were catching on huge here at that time, and this movie took plenty of influence from the shootouts and choreographed fights that excited us from those.

But it starts out on a Bruce Lee note. The opening credits have Brandon Lee in a white tank top like his dad sometimes wore, doing martial arts in front of a black void. His character is raised in Hong Kong, and sometimes speaks Chinese, and is living in the shadow of a father everyone admires. In an interview included on the DVD Lee mentions that the movie was written specifically for him, which isn’t surprising. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Crow

Friday, July 17th, 2009

tn_thecrowMan, it’s so sad to think about all these artists who get real good and then die in their twenties. How interesting would it be to hear old Jimi Hendrix recount the recording of Electric Ladyland, to see James Dean playing a father, or a grandfather, or Heath Ledger playing a character like Ennis at the end of BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN, but without aging makeup? That guy would’ve grown up to be rugged, but he didn’t have enough time. There’s such a long list of these guys who died after a period of fierce innovation, or seemingly on the verge of greatness. (read the rest of this shit…)

Showdown in Little Tokyo and Bridge of Dragons

Saturday, May 24th, 2008

The Dolph Lundgren vs. Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa Saga
SHOWDOWN IN LITTLE TOKYO (1991) and BRIDGE OF DRAGONS (1999)

As I continue to learn about the works of Dolph Lundgren (no, sorry, I’m not writing LUNDGRENICS, I’m just trying to become a more well-rounded individual) it’s refreshing to find that he has many movies where he is a charismatic action hero and not just some grunting oaf. SHOWDOWN IN LITTLE TOKYO is one people have been recommending to me for years because it has him teamed with Brandon Lee, which is a pretty big deal for somebody whose most notable co-stars are often talk show hosts like Jerry Springer or Montel Williams.

Basically this one is a cop buddy picture with Dolph as the line-crossing, bushido practicing white cop on the Little Tokyo beat who by the way is out to avenge the deaths of his parents by a samurai, but that’s neither here nor there. We know Dolph is a bad motherfucker right away because he single-handedly busts up an illegal underground fighting circuit by rappelling in from the ceiling in the middle of a match and then taking on those who disagree with his decision. Later he’s in a cafe when he happens to see some of the same Yakuzas bullying the old lady owner for protection money. In the middle of the brawl that ensues he’s introduced to his new partner, Brandon Lee. (read the rest of this shit…)