Written by: Michael Den Boer on August 1st, 2005
Approximate running time: 90 mins
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen
Director: Kinji Fukasaku
Writers: Buronson, Kôji Takada
Cinematography: Toru Nakajima
Cast: Sonny Chiba, Hiroki Matsukata, Janet Yata, Eiko Matsuda, Seizo Fukumoto
Joji Kano (Sonny Chiba) is a small town detective from Okinawa who has been hired by a woman who wants him to find her daughter Yuna who disappeared five years ago. When a prostitute’s body is burned beyond recognition in an apparent arson the police links up this body as the missing girl named Yuna who Jiro has been looking for. Unconvinced that this is the girl Jiro starts to investigate on his own.
One day fate would intervene as the police need Jiro’s helps when a madman is keeping a pop star named Miki prisoner in an apartment on the fortieth floor. This girl named Miki looks mysteriously like the missing girl Yuna and when Jiro presses her about her identity the Yakuza who are in charge of her career put up obstacles in his way to convince him other wise. Is this the girl who Jiro has been looking for and has he put his life in danger by crossing the Yakuza?
Doberman Cop is yet another classic collaboration between Sonny Chiba and director Kinji Fukasaku. Chiba’s character Jiro is like a fish out of water as his rural upbringings clashes with the way big city folks do things. Early on it is apparent that this is not your typical Yakuza films as Chiba’s character carries around in a sack a pig. The pig seems to pop up through out the film at the most opportune time like when Jiro goes to a strip and when the pig won’t stop squealing the stripper dancing on the stage asks Jiro to let the pig loose on the stage. What follows in even more bizarre as the crowd helps rip off his clothes as the stripper mounts Jiro as she performs a live sex act for her audience.
The action is more in the style of bar brawler then that of a expert martial artists. It is the rawness of the fighting choreography that helps sell the ruff and simple character of Jiro. Chiba’s character is given in one scene a 44 Magnum which is a gun that is a trademark of another renegade cop who doesn’t play by the rules named Dirty Harry. Like many of Fukasaku films from this period Doberman Cop deals with abuse of power this time in the form of police brutality.
To make the action feel more authentic during action sequences often employs the use of a hand held camera giving the film a documentary look and feel. Another major theme that runs through out is the loss of innocence as Miki has gone to far that she can never return to past she left behind and the how the big city has forever changed Jiro’s view of the world.
Overall Doberman Cop is one of Chiba and Fukasaku’s most unusual and compelling collaborations.