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?

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