Ultracop 2000 (1992)
Reviewed by: ewaffle on 2007-07-26
Comedy is difficult and it doesn't travel well--puns in one language never translate as well into another and humor based on words with similar sounds but different meanings are hopeless in translation. Physical comedy, slapstick or gross out type humor--a visitor to a hospitalized friend mistakenly using a portable urinal for a drinking glass, for example--isn't dependent on language and is as funny as the director and writer makes it which, in the case of "Ultracop 2000" isn't very. One attempt that just doesn’t work is when the police captain and all of his officers don surgical masks, plastic gloves and transparent rain coats when Yukari and Tony return to the station, having dealt with a person with AIDS. One that does is is a quick double take by Tony when he realizes that she is having trouble activating the weapon to use against Zorbac.

The special effects are cheap looking. They are mainly optical although there is also a lot of probably unintentional lens flare so some of the effects aren't that special. The armorer must have had a large supply of weapons--Yukari and her partner switch from big, shiny "Dirty Harry" type revolvers to big, shiny semi-automatic pistols from scene to scene although they are both crack shots with either.

Now that laptop computers have become ubiquitous in the hands of every sales rep, traveling executive and college student, I wonder if there is a shortage of the large briefcases that are traditionally used in movie drug deals. We all know how it works, of course--one case full of money equals one case full of drugs. The exchange that takes place in "Ultracop 2000" begins like all the others. The principals, each attended by armed men, eye each other across a table. First the valise with the money is produced, then the bag with the drugs. Often at this point something goes wrong--which it does this time since the buyers are undercover police officers whose cover has been compromised. Enter the intergalactic criminal and the future cop who is chasing him.

It ends with one of the hoariest conventions in all martial arts movies, the discovery of a secret book—in this case of sword stances and forms that can be learned on the fly in order to defeat the villain.

In between there is one well choreographed, shot and edited gunfight that occurs when a pickup truck full of gunmen attack Yukari, her partner and the gay man who is being released from the hospital. The bad guys do what bad guys often do in circumstances like this, ignore the original target when police reinforcements arrive to shoot it out with the cops. Phillip Ko stayed with this for much too long, though, and it became just a dull two-car car chase with a lot of explosions along the way.

Yukari and her partner travel around in a in a low slung "police" car with gull wing doors and a high shine that could only come from multiple coats of hand rubbed lacquer. It looks like a cross between a Duesenberg roadster and the Batmobile and gives the police force a touch of neo-retro glamour. Their uniform of the day—every day—is all black with pegged pants, a collarless, tight fitting tunic and an integral bulletproof vest until the final confrontation with Zorbac when they and the rest of the squad is outfitted in pastel sports clothes and straw hats.

“Ultracop 2000 isn’t very funny although the actors are obviously (too obviously) giving their best efforts. At the end of the movie when the Professor—who was last seen dead with his spine snatched by Zorbac—not only comes up with the secret manual but also an even more secret weapon in the battle against the apparently unsure of his masculinity alien.

Oshima Yukari looks quite fetching in her uniform although it was probably too confining for the last scenes when she battled Zorbac using the intergalactic cop’s sword and her own always excellent martial arts skills, thus the change to a lemon yellow safari jacket and loose fitting slacks. She even gives holstering a sidearm just a bit of an erotic edge. She shows more than a flash of humor while questioning a gay guy who was going to kill himself and who was at the time the only person who had seen the evil alien.

Not recommended for any reason other than those who want to see all of Oshima’s work, including when she is billed as the necessary for the Philippines Cynthia Luster.

Reviewer Score: 2