Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Warner Archive - SHOWDOWN IN LITTLE TOKYO on Blu-ray ""

Monday, August 17, 2015

Warner Archive - SHOWDOWN IN LITTLE TOKYO on Blu-ray

SHOWDOWN IN LITTLE TOKYO (1991; Mark L. Lester)
Speaking as a dude who had a giant cardboard standup of Dolph Lundgren from THE PUNISHER movie in his room for a chunk of high school, I must say that I am still a fan of his to this day. I had certainly become aware of him through movies like ROCKY IV, but I definitely branched off from that into RED SCORPION and I COME IN PEACE territory. THE PUNISHER was huge deal to me in high school though and that movie combined Frank Castle as a character with an actor I was on board with so it was a delightful union of personal zeitgeists. Brandon Lee I was less aware of though when SHOWDOWN IN LITTLE TOKYO came out. I saw the movie probably because Dolph Lundgren was in it and because its title had an uncanny resemblance to another favorite of mine featuring the one and only Jack Burton. Those expecting a BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA-esque experience with TOKYO will probably be disappointed. That's not saying much though as BTiLC is one of the greatest cinematic achievements of our time, so to fall short of that unreachable goal is understandable. But SHOWDOWN isn't without its charms of course. For one thing, the story flip flops the expected character types a little bit. In this case, it is Dolph Lundgren's Sgt. Chris Kenner who was raised with Japanese culture and Brandon Lee's Johnny Murata who is a California kid who doesn't like sushi. Though it's not a remarkable role reversal, it does make for a few laughs and makes the movie stand out a bit from Dolph's later work. Lundgren and Lee have a decent chemistry in terms of their rapport and bickering back and forth whilst still having each other's backs when the ass-kicking starts. And there is much ass-kicking in this movie. That's to be expected though in a film from director Mark L. Lester. Who's Mark L. Lester you ask? He's only the man responsible for COMMANDO among many others (ROLLER BOOGIE, CLASS OF 1984, CLASS OF 1999, FIRESTARTER..). With a Mark L. Lester movie, you may not always get the best acting in the world (though he has certainly pulled out some solid performances in his day), but you do get some action or suspense or gore in the best possible way. As I mentioned, SHOWDOWN doesn't disappoint in the ass-kicking department and that undoubtedly has something to do with the fact that it still seems to have a cult following today. I believe that cult also has to do with the fact that it got a lot of play on cable television back in the 1990s and certainly got some attention on VHS at video stores in that period as well. I find it fascinating to see the gestation period of certain cult movies and how the fans suddenly come out of the woodwork when news of a long awaited Blu-ray catches their attention. We are certainly at point now where those of us who grew up as part of the video store generation can't possibly remember all the movies we used to love when we were younger. Keeping up with new movies is a full time job, so it's no surprise that some films tend to slip into obscurity. It's nice though to see something like SHOWDOWN end up on Blu-ray in 2015 and how happy it seems to have made a lot of people to remember this one.
The transfer on this Warner Archive Blu-ray looks good, no extra features included.
SHOWDOWN IN LITTLE TOKYO can be purchased here:
http://amzn.to/1UIwpXp

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