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"Hawaii Five-O" Samurai (1968)

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8 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Ruined by ludicrous casting

4/10
Author: wwgrayii
1 February 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

In retrospect, one of the more glaring faults of Hawaii Five-O is its continual use of non-Asians in Asian featured parts. Sometimes, it kind of works: Keigh Deigh wasn't Chinese - or Asian at all - but he was sufficiently "exotic" that he could pull off Chinese spy Wo Fat. Most of the time, however, it doesn't, and this episode features perhaps the worst of the lot; Ricardo Montalban as Japanese crime lord Tokura.

Montalban was a very charismatic actor and was always worth watching, but the very idea of the very Mexican Montalban as a former Japanese submarine crewman turned organized crime kingpin is unbelievable to the point of being surreal, and pretty much ruins the episode.

The actual story is pretty interesting, though, particularly the climax, where McGarrett tricks Tokura into confessing by convincing him that he's going to be assassinated by Bushido.

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Misfire Casting With Montalban; Danno and McGarrett

Author: homefrontgale from United States
30 August 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I'm watching a marathon of episodes on SPIKE TV. Hawaii- 50 is not a show I religiously watched and only caught a few episodes of it during the latter part of it's initial run as a kid. I saw a little more in rerun form and thought that the show was typical of the sort of detective show I grew up on.. Mannix, Cannon, Barnaby Jones, Rockford Files and on and on up through Magnum P.I. etc. It was an iconic show by the time I was aware of it. Seeing these first few episodes I too was shocked by the lapse of quality in this one. Of ALL actors to play a Japanese character.... though then again... perhaps Montalban violates the stereotype of the reserved Asian character and that is to the good.. but then a Japanese actor, free to play a Japanese-American a la "Harold" Sakata in his appearances in MASH or the Odd Couple, would have done this much better.

Curious to me is that Montalban's makeup here makes him strongly resemble Joseph Wiseman who played Dr. No... the James Bond film in which Jack Lord plays Felix Leiter so it must have been familiar territory for him!!! Also.. Montalban's character refers to escaping from or avoiding being rounded up by the authorities to be sent to an internment camp. Was it not the case that there was no mass roundup of Japanese in Hawaii. They made up 1/3 of the island population... their labor was considered too crucial to the island to have disrupted their lives thusly... and a large portion of young Japanese men on Hawaii enlisted in the military and fought heroically, some, like Senator Dan Inouye, becoming the most decorated American troops during the Italian campaign. Oh well.. can't win them all fact check wise.

I like the interplay between Danno and McGarrett early on too... McGarrett really jumps down Danno's throat in a way that is REALLY tough and probably a lot sharper than you'd see in a show today between characters who are supposed to like each other. Something I'd never noticed, but I think is one of the things we'll find different between the old show and the new one. More hierarchy back then and less of the all encompassing team we see today.

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5 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Entertaining, but also sloppy and dumb...

4/10
Author: planktonrules from Bradenton, Florida
30 September 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This might just rank as the worst episode of the first season of "Hawaii Five-O"--mostly due to terrible casting as well as a lack of research by the writing staff. However, despite being pretty dumb, it is entertaining.

Ricardo Montalban stars as a man who is supposedly of pure Japanese descent!!!! Gary Coleman might have been about as believable as this and it is a strange carryover from the silly Hollywood tradition of having Caucasians star in films like those from the Charlie Chan and Fu Manchu series. This is dumb...and rather racist...and Montalban really couldn't carry it off convincingly.

The plot involves men who have come from Japan in order to kill Tokura (Montalban). Why is unknown, though Tokura has a lot of enemies because he is a mob boss. However, this isn't just some gang-related affair and it's up to McGarrett and his staff to figure out why two men (so far) have been shot or blown themselves up trying to kill Tokura. As for Tokura, he's silent about the matter.

There are two subplots that are also tossed in which tend to cloud the plot. The first is a killing Tokura arranges of a woman testifying against him in court. The second, and boy did it have holes in it, involves Tokura pretending to be murdered to throw off the assassins. The problem is that although the men who supposedly killed Tokura in this fake attempt actually killed some innocent guy--and how could they make it look like Tokura?! Well, they shoot him in the face--making dental and facial identification difficult if not impossible. BUT, no one--not one person mentioned that the corpse DID have fingerprints!! Just checking the prints (standard procedure when identification is a problem) would have told them it was NOT Tokura. No one seemed to notice this problem!

Another problem that I noticed is that the writers knew little about Japanese culture. McGarrett and his men kept referring to how "the Bushido" were the guys trying to kill Tokura. In reality, there is no organization or entity called Bushido. Bushido is not a tangible thing but a philosophy roughly translated to "the way of the warrior"--a code by which samurai lived (kind of like the concept of chivalry for the knights in Europe). Now McGarrett could have said the assassination attempts were MOTIVATED by the code--but otherwise this just didn't make sense to blame "the Bushido".

So, aside from lots of action and plot twists, this is truly a dumb outing for the series. Thank goodness it was the exception to the rule--as otherwise "Hawaii Five-O" was a terrific show.

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Ricardo Montalban's Guest Performance

9/10
Author: (sylviastel@aol.com) from United States
30 August 2017

Ricardo Montalban, a Mexican American actor, did a terrific job in playing a Japanese World War Two man who was on trial for crimes when the Star witness dies on the stand. Yes, he is miscast in the role but he played it beautifully. Macgarrett and Danny had to get him to confess to the murder because there is no evidence or witnesses. So they need to get him to confess. He would have a choice to face life in prison in Hawaii or be subjected to Japanese punishment. The last final moments of the episode were the best.

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6 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

Great Mid-Century house, but awful casting....

5/10
Author: tatz32000 from Hawaii
1 February 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I am a huge fan of "Hawaii 5-0", but thank heaven the episodes started to improve as this silly episode could have cancelled the series all by itself.

Mainly, we have laughable casting. I challenge you to watch this episode without laughing at the figure of Mexican born Actor Ricardo Montalban playing a Japanese character. Even with the Charlie Chan ---style makeup attempting to give him sorta Asian eyes, he's still a major joke. Personally, I even think it's an insult to Asians, as we were long past the 1930's thing of hiring WASP actors to portray Asian characters (Chan, for example).

But, insult or not, the casting is laughable indeed and makes it impossible to take the script seriously. I suspect Ricardo did the role for a free vacation in Hawaii, and the producers only had this script ready for shooting.....I mean, I can't imagine Mr. Freeman reading the script and saying, "Wow, what a great part for Ricardo Montalban!"

The one really wonderful part of the episode is the use of Henry Kaiser's Estate Home in the beautiful Portlock area of the island of Oahu (East/past Waikiki). Thank you, Hank, for letting them use your house, as the house is an absolute masterpiece of Mid- Century Modern Design. This house is thankfully still standing, and remains one of the most special--and most valuable--homes on the entire Island. (Mr. Kaiser has since died and I believe the house is now owned by a local Asian-American billionaire).

If you cant remember Montalban--unlikely.....yes, he is the guy who went on to make "Corinthian Leather" famous in his commercials for the Chrysler Cordoba. Of course, he didn't use the Asian makeup in those ads.....thankfully.

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