August 2017


Arrow Films/MVD
Blu-Ray Review By: Jaime Pina

Based on the popular gekiga series, Doberman Cop was produced in 1977 and stars Shin’ichi “Sonny” Chiba as a bumpkin policeman from Okinawa who heads to Tokyo cradling an adorable black pig to learn more about the murder of a woman from his hometown. Since the killer strangled the victim and then sets the room on fire, they are not 100% sure if the victim is the same woman who lived in the room and Chiba, through a local divination ritual, assumes she is still alive and that the victim is someone else. As the Tokyo cops butt heads with Chiba, he saves a popular singer who is competing in an American Idol type televised talent show from a psycho killer by swinging from a rope 40 stories up Shaft-style and saving her. As the film progresses the tale takes many right and left turns as a motorcycle gang, the Yakuza and a suspect street cop become entangled in the drama.

Doberman Cop is a very hard hitting crime drama with Chiba turning in another perfect performance, this time as an everyman from the sticks who turns out be slightly smarter than his big city partners. As he roams the city looking for clues he is made fun of by locals but always manages to win their confidence since he is a straight shooter. The scene in the strip club is hilarious with the pig getting in on some of the action. The direction is pretty tight considering the twists and turns and the shots of Shinjuku by night are fantastic.

Included in the extras is an interview with Sadao Yamane, a biographer of director Kinji Fukasaku, an interview with screenwriter Koji Takada, part two of Sonny Chiba: A Life In Action and the theatrical trailer. Also of note is the film score by Kenjiro Hirose who uses some funky 70’s themes along with hard-hitting music for the action scenes and tender pieces for the scenes involving Janet Hata as the singer Miki Haruno.


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