Samurai Cop ★★

"Why'd you go under?"
"'Cause I'm an undercover cop!"

There's no way of talking about a movie like this without discussing the nature of rating movies. I've seen The Room and Troll 2 and countless features from The Asylum, and Samurai Cop is without contest the most poorly made film I've ever seen. To rate it accurately in terms of quality, my system has to be stretched to new levels to accommodate the incredible extent of its failure. It stands alone at its own individual level of ineptitude. But for me, putting it at the ½ star it deserves and calling it a day ignores the potential entertainment value of such a unique catastrophe.

I've had a bit of a fraught relationship with the idea of "so bad it's good" movies. My experience of The Wicker Man remake wasn't really anything but boring, and I have a hard time describing movies like Sharknado as "bad" because they essentially succeed in their objective of being a trashy b-movie. But here we have something which I can finally say is so bad it's good.

Part of me wishes professors would show movies like this in film school, because there's a sense in which this is nothing but an endless series of teachable moments. Want to learn about continuity editing? There are inconsistencies between every single cut. Even something simple like shot-reverse-shot conversations feature characters in entirely different locations between alternating frames. Need a counter-example for how to write compelling dialogue? The script sounds like it was written by someone who couldn't speak English but didn't want anyone to proofread what they came up with.

In Red Letter Media's commentary track for the film, Jay Bauman calls this "the cinematic equivalent of Engrish." You can sort of understand what they're trying to go for with each scene, but it's a constant struggle to figure out the most basic elements like what's supposed to be happening or what we're supposed to be feeling. This movie is harder to follow than Primer simply because it doesn't know how to tell the most rudimentary of crime stories.

The overall effect of this combination of failures is that Samurai Cop feels like a movie about a bunch of aliens in human suits struggling to survive in an alternate universe where reality is unstable and their surroundings are in a state of constant flux.

And if that doesn't sound like a great time to you then I don't know what else to say.

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