Follow TV Tropes


Film / Showdown in Little Tokyo

Go To

Showdown in Little Tokyo is a 1991 action film. It features Brandon Lee in his first American film role, starring alongside Dolph Lundgren. In this film set in Los Angeles, two police officers (Johnny Murata and Sgt. Chris Kenner, respectively) attempt to take down a Yakuza drug operation. The tone of the movie follows the traditional buddy cop formula.

This film provides examples of:

  • And This Is for...: Kenner delivers it to Yoshida once he kills him:
    "This is for my parents."
  • An Arm and a Leg: A drug dealer who disagrees with Yoshida's pricing gets his hand cut off. Needless to say, he gets the message.
  • Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: Murata is this.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: Murata makes his first appearance in one and fights in it a few times as well.
  • Bathhouse Blitz: Kenner and Murata confront the Yakuza while the entire gang is taking time off to visit a private bathhouse, so a brawl with the heavily tattooed gangsters inevitably ensues.
  • Advertisement:
  • Big Bad: Yoshida, the leader of the Iron Claw yakuza clan and the murderer of Kenner's parents.
  • Bigger Is Better in Bed: According to Murata, Kenner has "the biggest dick I've ever seen," said with a complimentary tone.
  • Body Sushi: We see the yakuza enjoying this "meal" at one point. Murata promises Kenner that they'll do the same after they get revenge for his parents.
  • Bond One-Liner: From Murata, after Yoshida's death.
    "Nice slicing and dicing, partner!"
  • Buddy Cop Show
  • The Comically Serious: Kenner is built like a Greek statue, and just as likely to crack a smile - still, it only serves to make the film funnier.
  • Conveyor Belt of Doom: Kenner and Murata are trapped in Kenner's car when the bad guys place it in a car crusher. Deciding that this isn't enough, they only crush it halfway and place them on a conveyor belt to be ground up into bits.
  • Advertisement:
  • Cowboy Cop: After Kenner reveals to Murata that Yoshida was his parents' killer and it becomes a personal vendetta, Murata agrees to screw protocol and go after the Yakuza guns blazing. From there on they slaughter the bad guys en masse rather than arrest them and end up burning the bad guy alive in public. Lampshaded by Murata when he feels uneasy explaining what they did to the cops and he and Kenner run away and at the end wonders how they're going to explain everything in their report.
  • Create Your Own Hero: The current Yakuza boss killing the hero's parents as an assassin decades earlier is what drove him to become a cop in the first place.
  • Damsel in Distress: After Yoshida recaptures Minako he takes her with him as a hostage. He eventually ties her up covered in gasoline and tries to burn her alive in front of Kenner.
  • Defiled Forever: The Big Bad is strongly implied to have raped the lead singer of his new club. In the next scene the singer is about to commit Seppuku after Kenner notes that it's usually only done by women in cases of extreme dishonor.
  • The Dragon: Sato, Yoshida's second-in-command, the bald mustached Yakuza. Fittingly, he's defeated in a fight with Murata, The Lancer.
  • Electric Torture: After capturing the heroes, Yoshida orders Kenner and Murata to be tortured to death by electrocution. They try to piss him off by initially laughing it off until they increase the voltage to truly unbearable levels.
  • Fight Scene: Several.
  • Gag Penis: They actually halt an action scene just so Murata can tell Kenner "Just in case we get killed, I wanted to tell you, you have the biggest dick I've ever seen on a man." He also jokingly notes that its size scared him.
  • Give Me a Reason: When Murata and Kenner go to arrest Yoshida at a Japanese bath house, Kenner lists his various crimes and tells him to come with them to the station or give him a reason to blow his head off.
  • Good People Have Good Sex: Kenner is a muscular sexual dynamo whose penis size is literally complimented by his detective partner. Yoshida is a misogynistic rapist who is implied to not be able to get it up unless he physically beats women.
  • I Have You Now, My Pretty: Yoshida makes some unwanted advances to Minako, the lead singer at his recently 'acquired' club. He kidnaps her and drags her into his bedroom by her hair before he shows her how he killed her friend Angel and warns that the same will happen to her if she disobeys him.
  • Improvised Weapon: During Murata's fight with The Dragon, they both break off metal bars in the refinery they're fighting in to use as weapons.
  • Interrupted Suicide: When Kenner and Murata notice that the kidnapped Minako is about to commit suicide in the bad guy's mansion, Kenner bursts into the place shooting up mooks and stops her in time.
  • Kick the Dog: Yoshida's early murder of Angel after she tries to bribe her way out of being killed for warning one of his victims by screwing him in front of his own men. The coroner later notes that they already got her so high on methamphetamines that she would have been dead in 20 minutes anyway, decapitating her mid-coitus was redundant and done purely out of cruelty (and possible as a warning).
  • Like an Old Married Couple: Kenner and Murata are like this after mere hours of meeting each other.
  • Mexican Standoff: The heroes and the Yakuza end up in a standoff when they're taken to see the boss. The culture-savvy cop notes that they should make an effort to respect them if they are to be let off with a warning, but when he realizes that it's the same man who murdered his parents in Japan years before he immediately points his gun at the boss's head. The situation eventually defuses when he points out that too many people saw them come in, so they can't just make the two L.A. cops simply disappear.
  • Miranda Rights: Brandon Lee's character uses the Miranda rights as Trash Talk during a fight, capping it with the Pre-Mortem One-Liner: "you have the right to be dead".
  • Mighty Whitey: A blond, tall, muscular American cop raised in Japanese culture slaughters an army of Yakuza and is physically and martially superior to anyone, including his comic relief half-Asian partner. His sexual prowess is commented on while the Yakuza boss is implied to be impotent unless he beats women and he romances an Asian woman whom the boss had kidnapped and previously raped.
  • Neck Snap:
    • A yakuza thug captured by Kenner and Murata snaps his own neck to avoid being interrogated.
    • Kenner also breaks a mook's neck during Minako's rescue at the boss's mansion.
  • Odd Couple: Kenner is an American raised in Japan who has embraced Japanese culture and customs. Murata is of partial Japanese descent but identifies more closely with American culture.
  • Off With Her Head: Yoshida does this to Angel in a ruthless Kick the Dog moment for warning Tanaka, his previous victim, about him behind his back.
  • Past Victim Showcase: The bad guy cements one of his Kick the Dog moments by forcing himself onto the singer of his new club after showing her a videotape of him previously decapitating one of her friends.
  • Rape Discretion Shot: After Yoshida displays a sexual interest in Minako, he's seen dragging her into his bedroom and strips down. He shows her a tape depicting how he decapitated her friend Angel previously and warns her that the same will happen to her if she disobeys him. The actual rape isn't depicted, but it's strongly hinted that Minako is Driven to Suicide afterwards.
  • Rescue Romance: After Kenner saves Minako from captivity and sexual abuse by the villain, she becomes attracted to him and cuddles up to him in his home for safety before they have sex.
  • Reusable Lighter Toss: Murata throws his into a vat to kill an assailant, which also causes explosions all over the factory.
  • Ruthless Foreign Gangsters: The Yakuza are portrayed as this in a meeting they have in their drug refinery with several established American gangs, including Mexicans, African Americans and bikers. Yoshida cuts off one of the bikers' hands with his katana over a racial insult and cajoles the rest of the gangs to accept his leadership.
  • Satellite Love Interest: Poor Minako's personality isn't very developed, and it's mostly geared around the Rescue Romance with Kenner and the horrible treatment she got from Yoshida.
  • Seppuku: Minako attempts to commit this after the Big Bad is strongly implied to have raped her.
  • Sleeves Are for Wimps: Kenner takes off his jacket several times to walk around in a tank top and show off his arms.
  • Shoot the Fuel Tank: After Kenner flips a car on its side with his bare hands, he shoots the fuel tank as he escapes to make it explode.
  • Snuff Film: The Yakuza bad guy captured his decapitation by katana of a woman on camera, then later shows it to one of her friends as a threat of what he might do to her.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Kenner spends the gunfight at his home, the electric torture scene and the final sword fight with Yoshida continuously shirtless. Many of the Yakuza are also shirtless a lot of the time to show off their gang tattoos.
  • You Have Failed Me: Done by Yoshida more than once, the earliest by trapping someone in a car beneath a running compactor.
  • You Killed My Father: Before Yoshida became a Yakuza boss he was working as a lowly assassin for the gang when Kenner was growing up in Japan and murdered Kenner's parents in front of him before trying to kill the young boy. This makes the case exceptionally personal for Kenner and he almost blows the bad guy's head off in front of his whole gang when he recognizes him when they meet again. His partner Murata agrees to help him complete his vendetta after Kenner explains it to him.
  • Yubitsume: One of Yoshida's subordinates does this because he fails to prevent the heroes from rescuing the girl his boss had kidnapped and molested. Too pissed off, his master just drives his katana through the lackey's chest afterwards.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: