Tuesday, February 14, 2006

True Confessions of a V-Man: Eric Douglas, will you be my V-alentine?

Crime Hunter 2 - Bullet of Betrayal (クライムハンタ裏切りの銃弾)

Director - Toshimichi "Shundo" Ohkawa
Year - 1989
Company - Toei

The Crime Hunter series delivers yet another landmark event for the V-cinema history books. Where the original was the first ever V-cinema of all time, this one is the first to have a gaijin "star" in its cast. And who is bestowed with such a great honor, you ask? Well it's the late, great Eric Douglas, beating such luminaries as Chad McQueen and Michael Rooker to the punch by several years. In fact, it wouldn't be until V-World and V-America were unleashed on the video renting population that gaijin actors would again shame themselves in Nippon.

Unlike the last one, this movie starts on an educational note, with a title screen informing us that “Little Tokyo is the residence of Japanese Americans", before kicking off with an exchange in unintelligible English (and one of the guys was white). Then it's not too long before somebody gets shot in the face, and "Crime Hunter" is on his way.

Joker, back to being on the Little Tokyo Metropolitan Police Dept, is cruising the fog-machine sprayed streets of Los Angeles in his old porno-littered squad car when the call comes in. Again, the fine folks at the LTMPD give him a license to kill the perp at first sight. Instead, he just lets out a cry of "Rock N' Roll!" before riddling a sex shop with bullets, and taking the punk in alive. Turns out this skuzzy looking scum-bag may know where Joker’s missing partner Cash (immortalized by Douglas) is hanging.

After being partnered with a ham in a Hawaiian shirt, Joker and his new human shield start their search for the missing cop. A shit load of cigarette smoking and people getting shot later, they get his location. Soon they find Cash lying handcuffed and on a filthy cot in an old warehouse, looking as if he doesn't have a shred of his dignity intact(no acting necessary there). Then an emotional, tough guy dialogue exchange between him and Joker, where they affectionately say “fuck” to each other several times, ends in betrayal (or a Bullet of Betrayal if you will). His partner takes one to the face, and he's sprayed with bullets, and sent flying out a window all thanks to Cash. Of course they all seemed to forget that Joker is bullet proof, and has a thing for avenging his dead partners.

This is when things really kick into high-gear, as we’re engulfed in a plot that revolves heavily around "the stuff". Joker buys lots of really huge, and impressively phallic guns. Macho man Makoto Sawamura, dropping the perm for a fancy set of dread-locks, returns as a thug-for-hire. All while Eric Douglas hangs out in a drain pipe, and apparently believes he's starring in Wall Street. One explosive acting highlight has him, hair slicked back, questioning who he really is. "Who am I? Am I the boss? Am I the detective?" he screams at his confused and English impaired Japanese co-star. Trust me, it's intense stuff that rivals even his best moments in Delta Force 3.

Following the original's Roman Porno-esque rule of having a shootout every ten minutes, this one doesn't skimp on the blood and bullets. Sleazy strip club shootouts, multiple head-shots, and a chick in an evening gown wielding a bazooka. Hell, even a raped whore is thrown in for kicks.

Also, being that they actually shot this one in L.A (rather than Okinawa) there are scenic shots-o-plenty that all seem to end with a group of black guys staring directly into the camera. They even managed to capture a real life gang brawl on film, you know, for extra realism. All this excitement going down in Little Tokyo does beg me to ask one question though. How come whenever I go to Little Tokyo all I get to see is a Seijin Suzuki look-a-like in a Dirty Dancing jacket?

Monday, February 13, 2006

Henshin Pimp Theater: Baba Chop!

Antonio Inoki vs Super Vader (Big Van Vader)

This one was Vader's debut in New Japan Pro-Wrestling. Watch out for the Go Nagai designed mask he comes out in.

Tiger Mask vs Dynamite Kid

The original, Ikki Kajiwara created Tiger Mask with the legendary Satoru Sayama donning the fur and bellbottoms.

KENTA vs Kenta Kobashi

This is a great recent match from NOAH, which is apparently where it's at for hardcore puroresu fans nowadays.

Dr. Death Steve Williams vs Toshiaki Kawada

Two legendary tough guys clash in Giant Baba's AJPW (All Japan Pro-Wrestling)

Mask Red and Blue vs Pierrot I and II

Tokusatsu inspired insanity from the HUSTLE promotion

Kiyoshi Tamura vs Tsuyoshi Kohsaka
Shoot-style pro-wrestling in RINGS. This is just one of Tamura and Kohsaka's awesome matches.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

True Confessions of a V-Man: Crime Hunter, or Pop Goes the V-Cherry.

In 1989 Toei Video launched its V-cinema series; the first ever outlet for straight-to-video distribution in Japan. The launch title for Toei Video's new venture was Crime Hunter. This is its true story.

Crime Hunter
was the brain-child of writer, director, gun-fanatic, and soon-to-be prolific V-cinema producer Toshimichi "Shundo" Ohkawa. Previous to Crime Hunter he was a writer on the popular Abunai Deka series. Nowadays, he's probably best known for directing the ultra-bad Riki classic The Yakuza Way, and for producing Atsushi Muroga's V-classic Score. While his record has been spotty over the years, he most definitely deserves a spot in the V-cinema Hall of Fame (or shame) for bringing the world of girls, guns, and a cool pair of shades straight to the Japanese video shelves.

Crime Hunter - Bullet of Anger (クライムハンタ 怒りの銃弾)

The "Little Tokyo Police Department" is cruising the streets. Joker(Masanori Sera) and his partner, a peanut-popping Riki Takeuchi, are chilling in their porno-plastered squad car. Over the radio the dispatcher sends them after a perp, they are instructed to "shoot for the head" if necessary.

At the scene is a bulky Yusaku Matsuda wannabe (Makoto Sawamura) with a big perm and a double-barrel. Joker and Riki take him in without much of a fight, but are jumped on the way out by some guys in clown masks and bowlers. Joker is sprayed down with machinegun fire, big perm runs off, and Riki takes one to the head from a foot-long magnum.

Somehow Joker survives the assault, and after a quick recovery he turns in his badge and dons a Members Only jacket to hunt down the killers. He then hits the streets looking for “big perm“, and is roughing guys up in alleyways, and hopping into his muscle car Dukes of Hazzard style. Soon enough he’s onto some radical right-wing gun smugglers that may be involved, and decides to crash their pajama party in the junkyard.

Joker gets held up by the gun smugglers skin-head friends who show him some fingers in a jar, and lock him in a cage. To escape he does a traditional Chinese Lion Dance and fires twin 44’s out from the lion’s mouth. And no, I’m not making this shit up. Next he tracks down “big perm” and finds him holed up in a warehouse drinking Bud. Turns out they have a common enemy of the clown-mask, bowler wearing variety, and they gear up for the big gundown.

Before that can happen, Yoshio Harada stops by for a cigar smoking cameo and sticks around long enough to shoot some punk in the face. Joker then shows up for the final big gun n' stunt spectacular wearing a Rambo headband and carrying a machinegun the size of a Cadillac. “Big perm” pulls out a headband of his own so they can battle bullet-for-bullet and side-by-side.

It doesn't take too long to figure out that this is one big, sweaty gun porno (and that I had a huge, throbbing erection)! A scene of Joker dismantling and cleaning his gun is intercut with a woman showering, not to mention every weapon gets its own close-up as it pumps out bullets like a cumshot.

Over half of Crime Hunter’s sixty-minutes are taken up by bloody shootouts. With the rest consisting of multiple weapon close-ups, gun cleaning, and people getting punched in the face. Although, at one point they do take a break for a heartfelt moment between Joker and Riki's old sack of peanuts. Of course it doesn't take long before he's using even that to sling a grenade toward some slimeball.

The first and, even after all these years, one of the best. Crime Hunter is pure crack in a cassette tape, and that's all V-cinema needs to be baby.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

True Confessions of a V-Man: Call me Gigolo. Gigolo Cop.

Gigolo Cop: Roppongi and Asakusa Beautiful Boy Club (Jigoro koppu: Roppongi Asakusa Bishounen Kurabu)

Director - Takemitsu Sato
Company - Japan Home Video
Year - 1991

Gaijin crime is infesting Japan. Foreign criminals are using amnesty to slip through the system unscathed. In response, the Japanese government sets up a task-force known as the "Kaishakunin"-- a throwback to Japan's feudal law-enforcement. They are Executioners operating above the law, and above human morality. The leader of this new kill squad is Shimamura, played by former "King of Eros" and "Furyo Bancho" Tatsuo Umemiya.

He decides that before they can begin they have to get into the criminal world. So, to get hot-wired into the underground, Shimamura becomes a gigolo. A gigolo cop with a license to kill, and a team at his disposal. After being taught the finer points of being a "beautiful young man" by an old queen, they open up the Bishounen Club. Shimamura plays the role of their gay gigolo, prepping for his night's work by applying blush and eye-liner.

Soon they are contacted to investigate the bodies of young girls popping up around Tokyo, all which were ruled "accidents" by the police. But they, and a burly cop named Oninhara (Rikiya), know better. As they should. The sleazy Sanei Corporation is auctioning off human "sex dolls" to high-power foreign governments in exchange for weapons, land, and top secret info. These perverted politicians are given carte blanche with their prizes, going as far as killing them to satisfy their urges.

Once Shimamura catches on, Sanei begins to hunt down members of the vigilante crew, littering the streets with corpses. A Full-Metal-Umemiya then summons the troops and loads up his bazooka for a war between gigolo and sex slave ring. This all leads to a warehouse set, grenade launching, samurai sword slinging finale, with machine-gun toting babes, geysers of gore, and knife-throwing mayhem dominating the movie's closing minutes. Do the gigolos prevail? Is the "sex doll" ring taken down? Well, let's just say it all ends in blood and tears, and we wouldn't want it any other way.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Henshin Pimp Theater: Mazinger Z - The True Story

Uploaded a vid of Mazinger Z's Rocket Punch, done for reals.

You can check it out here:

True Confessions of a V-Man: Riki Takeuchi, Pachinko Ball Wizard

Pachinko Game Drifter (Pachinko Mujyuku/パチンコ無宿 )
Riki plays pachinko, the end.

This 1995 V-cinema classic has Riki riding around with plushies in a big-rig ala Truck Yaro, and, like the title implies, playing pachinko. Lots of it. It’s opens up with RIki busting some heads and hamming it up following a pachinko game gone bad. After some spastic facial expressions, he teams up with a pachinko parlor owner with a penchant for purple tights (played by frequent Pinky Violence comic relief Akira Ohizumi), and does with he does best. And what he does best is sit in front of some silver balls for long periods of screen time while mugging for the camera.

In between the pachinko playin' he even finds a little time for romance. Well, if you, like me, consider leering and groping romance. In one extra steamy scene Riki even flashes his bare ass for the camera (sadly, a mosaic keeps us from fully taking in his balls and taint). Also, there's some tits. Small ones, but it's the thought that counts.

So get ready for lots of guys sitting around smoking and playing pachinko with the intensity of a prize-fight. Plenty of amazing (read: shitty) video effects (my favorite being Riki's head turning into a pachinko ball). Not to mention political intrigue, drag queens, and Riki with his khaki's tucked into a pair of black high-tops. Just because Riki forgot he starred in this one, doesn’t mean you should forget to watch it. Plus, you know you wanna see his ass.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

True Confessions of a V-Man: Sho gets in a Dog Fight

Dog Fight

V-cinema action from Junk and Score director Atsushi Muroga.

A dozen screens are blasting some raunchy AV movie. It's a porno shop, lit a sickly green by flourescent lights. Porn and cash are exchanging hands when the cops bust in. The owner runs out into the rain-drenched alley howling like a wolf. Once they catch him, the titles burst onto the screen off a shot of his snarling face. The credits roll to a rip-off of The Terminator score, all while Sho Aikawa smokes in slo-mo.

Our sex shop owner strikes a deal with a horny, rapist cop, played by rat-faced Shingo Tsurami, to infiltrate Sho's gang. He gains their trust after a montage set to bad hip-hop, which concludes with Sho karate chopping a water bottle, and gets in on a deal with Hong Kong coke pushers.

Meanwhile, an iron pumping, raw-egg-smoothie drinking Shun Sugata is pulling the strings, and getting a big rip-off in effect. When Sho pisses him off, the cop rapes the porn shop owner's junkie girlfriend, and all hell breaks loose. Sho and company get dressed up like it's Resevoir Dogs, and a dread-locked, one-eyed Rastafarian gun smuggler (Hitoshi Ozawa) supplies the hard-ware. Two-fisted gunplay and over-the-top displays of brotherhood follow, all making it feel like 1991 again.