Plot: Joji Kano (Sonny Chiba) is a detective from a rural, small town area who has been tasked to head into the bright lights of the big city. He has been hired by a woman who is concerned for her daughter Yuna, as she has been missing for over five years. So Kano loads up a pig as a gift for his urban brothers in arms, then heads into the city to begin looking for his missing woman. At first he is told the burned corpse of a prostitute is the girl he is after, but he is skeptical and refuses to end his search. Then he takes his pig to a strip club, where all kinds of mayhem is unleashed and the night ends with a stripper mounting him in front of the entire audience. While local police dismiss him at first as a hayseed, Kano proves his worth during a hostage situation when he scales a skyscraper and is nicknamed Detective Tarzan. As it turns out, the pop singer he rescued in that situation looks a lot like Yuna. But he also learns she is under the control of the yakuza, which means freeing her could be a severe risk. Is the famous pop singer the girl he is after and if so, can he somehow rescue her from the yakuza?
Entertainment Value: If you’ve ever dreamed about a buddy cop movie with Sonny Chiba and his piglet friend, Doberman Cop is your ticket. Seeing Chiba carry the pig around town, let him loose at a strip club, and let him chase people around is such an odd, but wonderful aspect of this one. The story has fish out of water Chiba as a rural detective in the urban world, looking for a lost girl and dealing with local police and the yakuza presence. It has some bursts of wackiness, but overall this is a grounded crime movie that has a strong cop show feel at times. The pace is a touch slow at times, but there’s also a good amount of action to balance that out. I enjoyed the wild brawls and appreciated that the fights had more of an “in the moment” feel than some films that come off as overly choreographed. What really drives Doberman Cop however is the presence of Sonny Chiba, who turns in his usual terrific performance. His moments with the pig are hilarious, but throughout the movie he carries things well and fans will have a lot to like here. So if you’re a fan of yakuza movies, crime movies, or just want to see Chiba and his porcine friend, don’t miss Doberman Cop.
A couple quick topless shots, but that’s all the nakedness. The blood is minor, with some bloodshed from gun shots and the brawls, but not much. This is a crime movie though, not a slasher or action movie, so it makes sense. As I said before, I liked the brawls in this one and Chiba is a blast to watch in them. The action scenes also offer up some minor gun battles and even some car chase fun, so a nice blend of action elements to spice up the detective narrative. The movie is well written, but doesn’t have a lot of camp or over the top lines. This is good for some, but I do love my crazy dialogue, so I was a little let down in that regard. While most of Doberman Cop is fairly normal crime flick stuff, we do have the insanity of Sonny Chiba and his partner, the pig. I loved this dynamic and while it isn’t always part of the narrative, it has some of the movie’s most memorable moments, for sure. Between the pig companion and Chiba playing a backwoods hayseed, there’s a little craziness here to embrace. The final scene before the credits is reason enough to add an extra point.
Overall Insanity: 2/10
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