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With a name like "Karate Cop", what are you really expecting? This
movie is a perfect example of a brainless, bizarre, early 90s action
movie. It has terrible acting, has a plot with as many holes as swiss
cheese, and stars a third-rate Chuck Norris clone (ouch!) and David
Carradine (who is only in one scene and gets killed).
That said, my circle of friends enjoyed this movie because we have a soft spot for god-awful movies. So if you enjoy MST3K, frequent the IMDb's Bottom 100, and love to make fun of Norris, Segal, Van Damme, and Stallone than this movie is worth a look on a Sunday night, possibly after a few too many beers. Otherwise, avoid like the plague.
If you ever want to make a direct-to-video martial-arts movie, just
watch 'Karate Cop' and take some notes. You will be well on your way to
creating your very own direct-to-video karate video. Awesome.
John Travis (Ron Marchini) is the last cop on Earth. What exactly happened to the rest of the police or what caused this post-apocalyptic vision of Earth is never quite revealed. At all. In fact, it was only viewing 'Karate Cop' and looking it up on IMDb that it was a sequel to something called 'Omega Cop'. Anyway, John's a pretty busy guy, being the last cop on Earth and everything. He saves Rachel (Carrie Chambers) who turns out to be a scientist AND the leader of the 'Freebies', a group of freedom fighters who resemble Peter Pan's lost boys more than fighting rebels. Offered hot food, Travis offers to do some errands for Rachel, including karate-ing the local gang led by Lincoln (D.W. Landingham).
Did I mention that David Carradine makes an appearance? I guess that was just assumed.
'Karate Cop' reeks of being straight-to-video. Most of the dialog is irrelevant, and generally consists of Travis talking to himself. As for acting... Well. Here's what I think happened: Every time one of the actors made an attempt at acting, that actor was beaten until they learned to stand there remembering lines instead of actually acting. That is the most logical explanation I can think of. With the exception of Lincoln and Lincoln's champion (Michael M. Foley), the bad guys strike me as being 'inspired' by '1990: The Bronx Warriors', an obscure Italian movie which was itself 'inspired' by 'Escape From New York'. It may be a stretch to make these comparisons, but hey, I call them as I see them. As for Lincoln, he reminds me of Mojo from 'X-Men' and the Champion is nothing but a Bolo Yeung clone. Awesome.
As an action movie, it is VERY cheap. Ron Marchini spends most of his on-screen time anti-acting, beating people up or hiding from bullets and explosions. 'Karate Cop' is definitely one of those movies that will entertain if you enjoy mindless b-movies. None of the action scenes are of any mentionable quality, but hey, what do you expect?
'Karate Cop' is just a b-grade action movie. If that's your thing, check it out. It is a poor movie, but sure to entertain some - 3/10
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"Martial Law At Its Most Lethal!" "Karate Cop" is the creme de la creme
of crud. It is so incredibly bad, it is hard to fathom. You gotta love
it! (or do you?) This is a sequel to the previous year's "Omega Cop"
also featuring Marchini as John Travis, the last cop on earth. There
must have been a public outcry for more "Marchini Madness". Thankfully
he answered the call.
When this installment begins, some baddies are chasing two women. Right when they are closing in, John Travis appears and says a classic introductory line: (Read in the most flat monotonous tone you can) "Can I help you guys?" You hear people at fast food joints deliver that line with more passion and conviction.
It appears Travis is the last cop in a post-apocalyptic world. You can tell because his homemade (?) hat proudly announces he is "Special Police". Special indeed. He's hiding out in an abandoned warehouse of course. He's there with a woman named Rachel and a gaggle of children. In the future innocent tots are called "Freebies" and the baddies are called "Scavs" (not to be confused with "Neon City" where the baddies are called "Skins".) The head of the Scavs is a portly man named Lincoln who resembles a sillier version of Accept's Udo Dirkschneider, and his right-hand man is named "Snaker" who has a very irritating and loud voice. It already grates on your nerves the moment you hear him. Just imagine "Jar-Jar Binks" yelling into 5 megaphones.
In order to save the Freebies, Travis must find a magic crystal that powers a Star Trek-like teleporting device. The plan is to teleport them to Oregon because apparently the apocalypse hasn't yet reached Oregon. Before that can happen, Travis has to battle through "Trade Town" and fight the Scavs. We don't know how far "Trade Town" is from Oregon. But it must be pretty far. Luckily, "If anyone can make it, it's John Travis!" Along his magical journey, he has to defuse a bomb that doesn't go off and stops at a roadside diner run by "Dad" played by David Carradine. The only thing they serve there is something called "Jacky Rabbit Stew". "Dad" gives Travis a big bowl of it, and he refuses to choke it down, and a fight ensues.
Meanwhile, Rachel is kidnapped and held captive by Lincoln. Lincoln passes the time watching cage fighting matches. Whoever wins the cage fight gets Rachel as the prize. Travis has to rescue her from the clutches of the biggest meanest scav in town who wins all the cage fighting matches. Unfortunately Lincoln's compound is guarded by guys in used sporting equipment with spray-painted football helmets. Travis invades the compound and more fights ensue. Will Travis put the crystal in the teleporter in order to ship the freebies to Oregon, or will Lincoln win out? One of the most annoying aspects about the movie is that Travis is very unlikable. He whines and complains about every single task he has to do, most of end with "she said". For example, "It will be easy she said, diffuse the bomb she said" etc. Thusly the audience never gets behind as a hero we can believe in. He comes off as a jerk. Also, he seems a bit old to be capering around in "Trade Town". He looks like he is in his fifties. His "Special Police" cap is probably there to hide his balding head. Maybe that explains all the complaining. His acting makes Chuck Norris look like a master thespian. His delivery is more wooden than a lumber yard. It must be hard to make a futuristic sci-fi epic with no budget. They spent it all on Carradine and the hat. His best moment is when he jumps off a building and goes "AAAAhhh!!!!!" After all this ridiculousness, the end credits feature an R&B slow jam extolling the virtues of The Karate Cop.
Ron Marchini is a national treasure and so is this VHS tape. Find it today!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I thought that this film was AMAZING! While I realise that this will not
everyone's cup of tea, my friends and I rented it expecting exactly what
was. The name "Karate Cop" sums it up to be honest. You can't expect the
film to be that serious.
******************* SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER ***************** Anyway, I found the film to be highly enjoyable. There's some good action. There's a child's neck being broken. What more could you want?
******************* SPOILER END SPOILER END *************************
It's an action film, not a documentary so don't expect anything clever or witty. Just expect some good action and some very cheesy lines and you'll be happy as Larry.
Painful that's the first word which comes to mind when I think of
describing this movie. As a film star, Ron Marchini has possibly the
worst catalog of starring vehicles among any regular action hero, and
KARATE COP represents his low standard well. Some B-movies are a chore
to watch, but KARATE COP crashes beyond this extreme by not only being
technically inadequate but by being almost completely joyless.
The story: On a quest to find a teleportation crystal for the leader of a gang of street children (Carrie Chambers), an ex-cop (Marchini) battles through the vicious gangs of a post-apocalyptic city.
Given that Marchini is a karate pioneer whose name is heard alongside the likes of Chuck Norris and Joe Lewis, I was expecting at least something out of the fight scenes, but the film offers me zilch. Every single one of the eight brawls stink and their collection provides an encyclopedia of things to do wrong in a choreographed fight. Lead-footed kicking, poor timing, slow pacing, poor extension on strikes, cramped camera angles, unnecessary slow motion, and that dreadful technique wherein a strike is filmed with multiple shots and edited together to give the impression of many hits. Marchini looks strong but entirely graceless. David Carradine appears in a small, non-fighting role, and while I'm usually disappointed whenever Carradine partakes in a martial arts flick without showing his own moves, I understand why he might not have wanted to have gotten involved here.
Speaking of David, his scene constitutes the one and only part of the film that entertained me, solely because Carradine's personality eclipses both his costars and the production in general. Many movies with ambitions larger than their budget have struggled with trashy sets, clunky costumes, and destitute filming locations, but this is one of the few wherein the sheer bleakness of the production depressed me. To be fair, there are flashes of energy in the performances and several moments wherein the filmmakers make creative use of their indie medium, but these are obscured by the tepid tone and tedious pace. Every development in the plot feels like a concession: the movie *wants* to be over and is grouchily doing us a favor by reaching its conclusion, dragging its feet as it goes while muttering "Whatever."
I only finished the movie for the sake of this review, and I don't recommend that anyone else put themselves through the ordeal. Don't get this one. Pick up any Fred Williamson junker or Leo Fong schlock before putting money towards KARATE COP, which is among the pickiest of niche features I've ever seen and a very steep gamble if you're looking for fun.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Snaker watch movie for first time and Snaker enjoy touching portrayal
of Snaker. Actor Michael E. Bristow seem to understand instinctively
inner torment and conflict inherent in life of mentally stunted gang
lord in post-apocalyptic dystopia.
"Karate Cop" explore story of evil FAKE cop from "Special Police" ( Snaker know all cops are dead!) and his attempt to embarrass Snaker. Snaker only ask him for girl and offer to let him live, but cop insult Snaker and hit him hard. Later, Snaker try to make cop pay. But cop never pay. Cop run off with pretty scientist and try to save orphans with magic crystals. Cop take girl and leave Snaker behind.
All in all, "Karate Cop" is poignant rendering of life of post-apocalyptic gang lord but spend too much time focusing on evil cop. One day Snaker gonna make him pay. One day Snaker gonna make EVERYBODY PAY!!!
- Snaker McDowell
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I will at least give the filmmakers credit for making their intentions
(and level of aspiration) known right up front - with a title like
"Karate Cop", the viewer knows EXACTLY what he's getting, and also how
good it's likely to be. (I.E.,not very good).
I also admit that this Ron Marchini film is far, far better than an earlier film I saw that that he "starred" in ("Death Machines") because he actually has dialog to deliver in this one (in "DM" he was a silent zombie killing machine) and he gets to kick people in the face on a regular basis (where in DM, the actual fights were few and dully staged). Ron's no actor, but he's in good shape, is reasonably photogenic, and doesn't seem to take himself too seriously. There are times in the movie where you can glimpse why a director thought he could be properly framed and featured to make a decent movie. Not a great movie, but a decent one. And since this movie is so much better than "Death Machines", if his acting and roles had continued and kept improving, I estimate he might have eventually been as as Don "The Dragon" Wilson.
"Karate Cop" is also better in two ways than the stream of similar post-apocalyptic themed Italian rip-offs of "Max Max" and "Escape From New York" because it appears to have been made by Americans. That means there isn't the annoying "tin-eared ESL dubbing" problem that always drags the Italian films down a notch. And there's a lot more martial-arts themed fighting and gladiatorial style combat in this one than in the typical Italian genre ripoff,and it's choreographed with admirable energy and zest. Of course, that's probably a given with a title like "Karate Cop". But it is also worse in the score for the soundtrack, which is obviously scored and performed by one guy with a synthesizer. It's like listening to a kazoo for 90 minutes - even when it's skillfully played, there's just too much synth, and it's way too insistent.
And you have to have an actual screenplay, acting, and dialog to hang those fight scenes on; otherwise you might just as well be playing a video game like "Final Fight". And this is where the movie falls way short. Even in a "Z" grade movie, you need to have a compelling plot that makes sense, but someone wrote this one with their frontal lobes in "neutral". And you need a few people who can really act, at least a little. Aside from Ron Marchini, "Snakey" probably has the best lines and gives the best performance of the cast, and the actor who plays the "Drug Lord" at least looks as if he's having a good time. But the rest of the cast, even the extras (especially the kids in the cast) couldn't get on stage in the local community theater.
And as for the the rest of it....sheesh. I don't know why directors working with poverty level budgets think they can get away with incorporating science fiction themes. Good SF requires a lot of time and talent and craft to get decent results. You have to engage in "world building" to make it work; you can't just dress the cast up in Salvation Army handouts and headbands and pretend that rubble strewn back alleys with graffiti on the walls are the shattered remains of a civilization. A fog machine is for dinner theaters - it isn't scene design.
"Death Machines" was an insult to me as a movie consumer. But for $1, I feel I got my money's worth from "Karate Cop". I can always use the DVD as a drinks coaster if I don't want to watch it again.
If you enjoy films like "Good Guys Wear Black" or watched "The A-Team"
then you might enjoy this little film. It's well worth the $1 you'll
likely pay for it at Wal-Mart. It is a cheaply made genre film with
no-name actors. The acting and special effects are not great. BUT...it
is still an entertaining film.
Karate Cop is definitely a "B movie" but if you enjoy low-budget films, this one is actually quite entertaining. The story is extremely derivative of Mad Max --but who cares? The actors really seem to be having a good time and although the acting quality is all over the map. Filmed on a very moderate (or low) budget, the filmmakers do their best to to deliver a cohesive genre film complete with special effects, action sequences, and even a token "name" actor (David Carradine) in a cameo. Filming was done in and around Stockton, California--mostly in industrial/warehouse areas.
For those who have seen Ron Marchini's film "Omega Cop" (also available for $1 in Wal-Mart) this film is a continuation of that character. In fact, the film's production quality is exactly the same. It wouldn't surprise me if they were filmed simultaneously. Personally I like Marchini. He's no great actor, but neither was Chuck Norris.
This is a real bad movie. I can live with bad movies, but when it's a
bad sequel to a bad original, than apparently the makers choose not to
learn. Even when it's your own movie and you're proud of it, you just
have to admit that the original was a bad film.
I gave this movie a 3, instead of a 1, but only because they got this movie made and released with practically no budget, which I respect. But this collection of bad acting, bad fighting, no story etc. on tape deserves no better point.
The only enjoyable thing is Michael M. Foley (Lincoln's champion) who seems to enjoy his part (bad as it is) and someone who enjoys his role is fun to watch.
But for fans of sci-fi, there is none. For fans of martial arts, there are no good fights. You may skip this.
This was a great martial arts film starring John Travis,(Ronald L. Marchini) who finds himself living in the world as the last cop on earth. John has a hat that reads: "Special Cop" who runs into all kinds of horrible looking men and women who want to kill the last cop on earth. John Travis meets up with a woman named Rachel, (Carrie Chambers) who is badly beaten up, Rachel tries to protect all the children in the various surrounding cities and they call them Free-Bees and she offers them a nice shelter to live in. Rachel is also a scientist who has knowledge of Teleportation which can transport people from one area in the country to another, something like a time machine. However, Rachel has a broken crystal which enables her to transport human beings into other places. Rachel asks John Travis to assist her in obtaining this crystal which she tells John he should have no problems in trying to secure this new crystal, which turns out to be very false statement to John. There is plenty of action in the B film with horrible acting, but lots of fun to just watch and enjoy.
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