After a very tiring day, I just wanted to sit back and watch something fun. Something that wouldn’t be too taxing hit all the right notes. That something I grabbed was Doberman Cop. This 70’s Japanese cop/gangster flick starring Sonny Chiba looked like the perfect movie to cure what ailed me.
Doberman Cop begins with the discovery of a burned human body inside a building that was set aflame by an arsonist. A string of serial murders is also being investigated and a detective from Okinawa has come to track down a missing person from his village. This detective, played by Sonny Chiba, is the titular Doberman Cop. He arrives wearing a straw hat, shabby clothes, and has a live pig he carries around in a sack. Constantly talked down to, he’s actually a damn good detective who doesn’t mind cracking a few skulls to get what he wants. He’s also armed with a .44 Magnum and the stones to use it. It turns how his missing person is some how involved with the murders happening throughout the city and so he and his pig begin to dig into the underbelly of the city to get find the guy responsible and put him to sleep.
Because Doberman Cop was directed by Kenji Fukasaku (The Yakuza Papers), one might assume that the film would be dense with lots of complex character relationships. That’s not really the case. The film was actually based on a popular manga and as such relies more heavily on swagger and action than a highly detailed plot. Sonny Chiba turns in a performance worthy of his name as his relishes being taken for a fool and then proving everyone wrong, usually with a knuckle sandwich thrown in. The music is bombastic and fun and supports the macho vibe of the film very well. Of course because it’s directed by Fukusaku, the film breezes along at a fast clip and never becomes dull. This might not be one of his masterpieces but it sure is a lot of fun. Doberman Cop is a well told story with equal parts style and action. It was everything i was hoping it would be.
The blu looks great as always with Arrow Video releases. The disc comes with some great features like a great (and informative) introduction from a Fukasaku scholar, a new interview with Sonny Chiba and the writer of the film and more. If you enjoy 70’s cop flicks, this one would be right up your alley. If you love 70’s Japanese cinema then this one is a must see.