Culture Shock: 9/10
You know how the Samurai were the most bad ass dudes to ever walk the planet? (If you say “ninjas” you are wrong, and if you say “pirates” your opinion doesn’t matter anyway) Well, what could be a better concept for a movie than taking a Samurai from the past and bringing him to modern-day (1986) L.A. to kick ass in a traditional Japanese fashion? Not much. Not much at all. In fact, the only thing that could possibly make that idea better would be a cameo by Akira Kurosawa explaining why the Samurai are so utterly awesome. It doesn’t happen in Ghost Warrior, but I figure I should just put it out there if anyone important is reading.
The year is 1556, and master Samurai Yoshimitsu is attempting to rescue his love from a rival gang. He ambushes the group on horseback and grabs his woman, but can only go so far before the road is blocked and he is forced in to a confrontation. He defeats the leader of the gang easily, but decides not to kill him since the guy is on his knees and defenseless. Big mistake, because that jerk uses the opportunity to kill Yoshi’s girl with a throwing knife, and then his men shoot Yoshi with an arrow and send him off a cliff. Luckily for Yoshi, he lands in a frozen lake, and is presumably kept in perfect condition for the next 300 or so years, when his body is discovered by some hikers. They dig up his body and ship him to L.A., because that’s where you send important Japanese discoveries…..L.A.
Enter Chris Welles, a woman with a convenient degree in Oriental history who doesn’t speak Japanese. Why is she here? I don’t know, but she is apparently the best that the research lab could find regarding Samurai culture, so she will now be working with the recently resurrected Yoshimitsu. Thanks to the modern science of 1986, Yoshi is brought back to life and seems just fine, especially when they give him his clothes and weapons back. A greedy guard tries to steal Yoshi’s sword, though, and end’s up with a face full of blood and a stomach full of nothing. Yoshi takes the opportunity to escape the lab where he’s been confined and explore this new world, and that’s where the trouble really begins. Chris and her boss, Alan, find the dead guard and realize that the Samurai is on the loose, and with the police involved now, any confrontation could be disastrous.
Meanwhile, Yoshi just walks around and discovers new things, until finally saving an old man from some gang members(he kills 2 and maims 1). His new friend takes him out for sushi, but then the sushi bar is attacked by the angered gang, so Yoshi goes off to finish them once and for all. In the crossfire, his new friend (an awesome CBG) gets tagged and doesn’t have much time, so Yoshi gives him a sword and says goodbye. Chris finds Yoshi and takes him to meet her teacher(cool old Japanese dude), who reveals what happened to Yoshi before he was frozen. Before they can figure out what to do next, Alan comes in and kidnaps Yoshi, wanting to kill him to avoid being blamed for the murders. One thing leads to another(cop-out because I’m lazy), and soon the police have Chris, and Yoshi is on the run. From here the past repeats itself, as Yoshi rescues Chris and tries to run, but is forced into a confrontation with Alan. He spares Alan’s life, but is then shot by a cop. Before he falls off the cliff(yes…another cliff), he says (in Japanese) that there are no second chances. At least this time the girl lives.
I had so much fun watching this movie, but I have a feeling that not many other people would. I felt that Hiroshi Fujioka did an amazing job portraying Yoshi as the hard-edged master of death who seemed to understand nothing, and yet understood everything(damn, I am deep). The supporting cast was a little weak, but there were some highlights, and the backdrop was just sleazy enough to pull off that real L.A. vibe(my apologies to anyone from L.A., but your city does blow). Don’t expect a grand-budget action flick, but watch this if you want a nice simple story that could only have been made in the 1980’s with a straight face.
Thanks for stopping by, and until next time, keep watching those bad movies! I know I have to….
Flowchart of Awesomeness: Samurai > Lumberjack > Viking > Ninja > Gunslinger > Michael Keaton > Fire Starter > Fire Fighter > Astronaut > Math Teacher > People Who Pay For Things With All Pennies > Mime > Child Molester > The French > Pirate > People Who Like Pirates