Doberman Cop (1977) Review

After the insane and immensely entertaining Wolf Guy Arrow bring another Sonny Chiba 70’s movie to the masses and this time it’s Doberman Cop. Sadly Chiba does not play a half man half dog police officer but a small town cop called Joji Kano taking a trip to Tokyo to solve a crime he is personally involved in.

The murder is of a young woman identified as being from Kano’s home town who is found strangled and burned alive in the rough Kabuki-cho nightlife district and the police believe it to be the work of a serial killer however county bumpkin cop Kano thinks something else is going on.

Proving far more savvy and savage then the city police every imagined Kano takes matters into his own hands tearing through the towns yakuza owned clubs, anarchic biker gangs and sleazy talent agencies in search of the truth anyway he can.

Combining cop thriller with gangster killer action Doberman Cop, adapted from a hard boiled manage series of the same name, is directed by Kinji Fukasaku better known for war movies like Tora! Tora! Tora! and the outstanding unrivaled Battle Royale.

Those looking for the same heavy weight content from Fukasaku may be disappointed here seeing that Doberman Cop plays more to the lower levels with excessive violence, sex and saucy laughs some of which works and some of which does not.

What is great about the film is Chiba who plays the part of a fighting fish out of water perfectly coming across as a combination of Dirty Harry and hillbilly hick complete with a straw hat, strange supernatural beliefs and live pig as a present for the police chiefs to cook.

Oozing charisma as always and performing all his own stunts, including swinging through a high rise tower window to stop a hostage situation, Chiba’s interpretation of Kano is superbly studied never allowing the character to become too ridiculous or comedic and fleshing out the tough nut cop seeking out the true emotion especially in the cathartic climax.

Packed with the clichés of Japanese’s movies of the time including gratuitous gun play, martial arts, musical interludes, strippers and gore Doberman Cop is an uneven cinematic oddity that has its moments for sure but is probably best saved for fans of 70’s Asian cinema and Sonny Chiba only.

Movie Rating: ★★½☆☆ 

Trailer:

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