Review: Doberman Cop

Blu-ray and DVD: Doberman Cop (1977)

Based on a popular Manga, Doberman Cop follows police officer Joji Kano (Sonny Chiba) as he arrives in Tokyo (accompanied by a pig that he carries around in a bag for a good part of the movie) to investigate the murder of a girl who has been working as a prostitute. As the plot twists and turns with influences from prostitution, corruption and the mob, Kano must use his wits and his fists to not only try to solve the case, but also to stay alive.

Doberman Cop is a strange movie in so much as it mixes action and comedy in a rather jarring way. One moment you have Kano sat front row at a strip club with his pig, which attracts the attention of the stripper who drags him onto the stage to shag him in front of everyone…Kano…NOT the pig…that would be an entirely different movie! Then you see Kano abseiling down the side of a tower block, before smashing through the window and taking down the assailant inside with his bare hands. This is one of the many stunts that Sonny Chiba did himself and my heart was in my mouth when he suddenly drops down a few feet before managing to stop his fall.

Despite arriving in Tokyo wearing a straw hat and clutching his beloved pig, Kano soon drops the image of a country bumpkin and becomes more of a Japanese Dirty Harry as the movie progresses. This is especially so with the appearance of Harry Callahan’s iconic weapon of choice; a .44 Magnum. Probably with Harry’s words of “…the most powerful handgun in the world, and could blow your head clean off” ringing in his ears, Kano proves that point by literally blowing off a mans head with one shot from his gun. Having said that, Doberman Cop isn’t particularly blood soaked, despite many people being shot with the aforementioned .44 Magnum, and it is left to Sonny’s martial arts skills to despatch a lot of the unwitting bad guys who get in his way.

Director Kinji Fukasaku does a good job of keeping the story flowing and showcasing the fighting skills that Chiba brings to the majority of his movies. There is also a palpable sense of dread in the Tokyo backstreets and nightclubs as the story unfolds and also a surprising amount of naked female flesh too.

Doberman Cop is a quirky, funny, action filled romp that never outstays its welcome during its 90 minute running time. It has a protagonist that is both likeable and relatable (hell, we’ve all carried a pig around at some point haven’t we?) with comedy and action scenes that will definitely raise a smile.

Doberman Cop will be available to buy from 26th June, 2017.

SPECIAL EDITION CONTENTS:

  • High Definition digital transfer 
  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations 
  • Original uncompressed mono audio • New optional English subtitle translation 
  • Beyond the Film: Doberman Cop, a new video appreciation by Fukasaku biographer Sadao Yamane 
  • New video interview with actor Shinichi “Sonny” Chiba 
  • New video interview with screenwriter Koji Takada 
  • Original theatrical trailer 
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Chris Malbon

FIRST PRESSING ONLY:

  • Illustrated collector’s book featuring new writing on the new films by Patrick Macias and Tom Mes. 

Review by Dave (host of 60 Minutes With) from a disc kindly supplied by Fetch Publicity from Arrow Films.