Starring: Sonny Chiba
Directed: Kinji Fukusaku
Studio: Arrow Video
Disc Release Date: July 4, 2017
Released just as the popularity of yakuza movies was waning in Japan, and as the country’s film industry was undergoing some fundamental shifts, Doberman Cop is a unique entry in the career of director Kinji Fukasaku (Battles Without Honor and Humanity, Cops vs Thugs), and reunited him with star Shinichi ”Sonny” Chiba (The Street Fighter, Wolf Guy) in an American-style crime movie that mixes gunplay and pulp fiction with martial arts and lowbrow comedy to create one of their most entertaining films.
Based on a popular manga by ”Buronson” (creator of Fist of the North Star), Doberman Cop follows the fish-out-of-water adventures of Joji Kano (Chiba), a tough-as-nails police officer from Okinawa who arrives in Tokyo’s Kabuki-cho nightlife district to investigate the savage murder and mutilation of an island girl who had been working as a prostitute. Initially dismissed as a country bumpkin (complete with straw hat and live pig in tow!), Kano soon proves himself a more savvy detective than the local cops, and a tougher customer than anyone expected. As he probes deeper into the sleazy world of flesh-peddling, talent agency corruption and mob influence, Kano uncovers the shocking truth about the girl, her connection to a yakuza-turned-music manager (Hiroki Matsukata), and a savage serial killer who is burning women alive.
Made to appeal both to the youth market with its biker gangs and popular music, as well as to old-time yakuza movie fans, Doberman Cop is an surprising oddity in Fukasaku’s career, his sole film adapted directly from a manga and never before released on video outside of Japan. Featuring Chiba at his charismatic best channeling a Japanese Dirty Harry while doing all his own stunts and Fukasaku at his most fun, deftly showcasing the combined talents of his ”Piranha Army” stock company of actors and other regular players Doberman Cop is a classic action comedy and a missing link in 1970’s Japanese cinema deserving of rediscovery.
Doberman Cop is an Exploitation film about an out of towner from the county detective on the hunt for a female whom has gone missing. Playing are lead is none other than Sonny Chiba who walks around in a farmers like outfit with a pet pig trying to find a missing woman while also solving and stopping other crimes.
The film was a good watch with decent action, a tad bit of nudity, a tad bit of comedy, a twist or two and a Sonny Chiba whom can kick ass but also doesn’t walk away unscratched. Sonny’s role seemed odd at start were out of no where he comes in to scene while a decent portion of the first hour of the film he wasn’t in the forefront of the film with less screen time compared to the others. The last 30 minutes is when we get more. The film has its quirks like the farm clothing and the pig but also has its gritty scenes too with a little gore.
Overall the film was a good watch. Yes not a 5 star but still a good view and worth viewing for those who don’t know Chiba. If you’re a Sonny Chiba fan you should pick it up. The Picture Quality from Arrow is top-notch, it looks pretty good.
With that said I give this film a 4 out of 5 as it was entertaining with good action, OK Plot and some crazy moments. Give it a shot.
- High Definition digital transfer
- High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations
- Original uncompressed mono audio
- Optional English subtitles
- Beyond the Film: Doberman Cop, a new video appreciation by Fukasaku biographer Sadao Yamane
- New video interview with actor Shinichi ”Sonny” Chiba
- New video interview with screenwriter Koji Takada
- Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Chris Malbon
- FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector s book featuring new writing on the films by Patrick Macias