Raised from birth by a Samurai Master, two stepbrothers are torn apart by jealousy and rage when the family's sacred Samurai sword is bestowed upon the adopted son. When the two are played by David Bradley and - in his dyn... more »amic movie debut - Mark Dacascos, only one result is possible: awesome action. Vowing revenge, Kenjiro (Dacascos) becomes a Yakuza gangster drawn to the dangerous world of "live blade" fighting. The other son Drew (Bradley) becomes a journalist and travels halfway around the world to investigate the bizarre death of a fellow reporter - a search leading him into the Yakuza underworld - and into the sights of his murderous brother. American Samurai is your ticket to razor-edged excitement!« less
"Since Cannon films pretty much ran the Ninja craze into the ground (especially after the rather dismal American Ninja 5), they decided to exploit another Asian icon, the Samurai. Here we get David Bradley (American Ninja 3-5) playing, oh my gosh, an American Samurai! When he was a baby his parents plane crashlands somewhere in Asia where he is found and raised by a Samurai and in turn is taught the Samurai fighting style. Sounds like American Ninja you say? You betcha! His 'addoptive' father is even the same actor that played Michael Dudikoff's 'addoptive' father in American Ninja! While growing up, his 'step-brother' gets jealous because his father gains more of a liking for Bradley and a blood feud occurs. Sounds like The Octagon you say? You betcha! When Bradley grows up and moves to L.A., a string of bizarre murders in Turkey garner his attention as they feature his brother's signature cut. He travels to turkey with an annoying "photographer" (who his very attractive) to hunt him down. He gets caught and is forced to join in a "fight to the death" tournament. Sounds like Bloodsport you say? You betcha!
As you can tell there isn't much originality in this movie but you shouldn't expect there to be. The story rips off countless other Cannon and Martial Arts pictures. Bradley gives his usual stiff performance and the love scene between him and the women photographer has to be one of the most "awkward" love scenes ever filmed with body doubles. Though the film is silly and cliche, director Sam Firstenberg (American Ninja 1 & 2) makes this an enjoyable Cannon outing that will sure to please fans of such films as American Ninja and Bloodsport.
The DVD, just like the other recent Cannon film releases by Warner Brothers, is as slim as they come. This means NO special features what-so-ever! Not even a chapter selection! The picture is full frame and rather grainy which makes this film hardly worth the $14 price tag. But us fans of cheesy action films such as this are happy to finally see get released!"
In its sort an excellent movie.
AJ | Delaware, USA | 02/22/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This sort of movie is always a bit difficult to review. I mean, the acting is hardly worthy of the word, the story is threadbare, and it is still very enjoyable. As martial arts movies go, this one is top of the bill. The fighting is spectacular, especially the way different fighting styles got mixed. There is even a bit of a plot even if the usual stepbrothers competing for championship has become a little rusty by now and the score is just great. Mark Dacascos as the villainous brother does quite a good job being evil. Fortunately his rediculous overacting doesn't really matter in this sort of movie. David Bradley as the good guy is less convincing, but once the fighting starts he is quite in his element. All in all this is a treat for fans of martial arts. Anybody else will probably wonder if he isn't accidentally watching some sort of Manga."
Derivative But Still Effective
Martin Asiner | jersey city, nj United States | 08/27/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"AMERICAN SAMURAI is one of those martial arts films that follow the formula of two brothers raised amidst jealousy and disharmony with one telling the other: 'Someday,I must kill you.' This plot has been done a tiresome number of times and is further muddied by odious comparisons to death duels announced by a slimy emcee, most recently in BEST OF THE BEST 2. Directer Sam Firstenberg updates this tale of sibling rivalry with David Bradley and Mark Dacascos as the two brothers who spend most of the movie preparing for their climactic meeting in the Arena of Death. The most pressing problem was the choice of Dacascos as the Japanese brother. Dacascos is not Japanese, yet he is supposed to be a full-blooded Japanese. Dacascos, as Kenjiro, has the requisite fighting skills, but his motivation to kill his brother based solely on jealousy has only the flimsiest basis for justification. One would think that a lifetime of illwill ought to be more clearly defined other than from not receiving the family sword. David Bradley as the adopted American son can fight but can't act. His ability to radiate emotion exceeds only that of Steven Seagal's. Another weak point is Bradley's relation with a female American photographer who accompanies him to Turkey to investigate the sword murder of a Saudi prince. They balk at each other's presence but predictably wind up in bed quickly enough. The real selling point of this movie is the fight sequences. Imagine the Ultimate Fighting Championship with bladed weapons and no referees. Very few viewers probably have seen or have participated in such edged encounters but it seems likely that such duels can not possibly be the ballet-like pirouetted gymnastic slug fests that marked each performance. Still, they are remarkable for their visual audacity. Rex Bryon, as the hulking bearded American competitor, is the good old country boy entrant with a Bowie knife. The movie points toward the final meeting between Bradley and Dacascos, which exits as overly brief and far less interesting than the preliminaries. As a martial arts sword movie, AMERICAN SAMURAI is interesting enough to hold your attention even if you withhold that willing suspension of disbelief at the cutting up of an otherwise honorable history of blade edged fighting."
Decent American martial arts movie
morgoth | omaha, NE | 04/07/2007
(2 out of 5 stars)
"When a plane crashes, a young boy is the only survivor and is raised by a samurai master. Marc Dacascos plays the samurai's real son and grows up always being jealous because his brother (David Bradley) trains harder and passes him in samurai skill. Dacascos becomes a crazy Yakuza gangster who holds death matches and forces his brother to fight.
While cheesy and not exactly a deep story, it's tolerable, but just barely. The overacting by Marc Dacoscas could not be laid on any more thick at the beginning, but the acting really does get a lot better for everyone after the opening scene. David Bradley is not too bad. He is OK at acting but above average in fighting. All of the fights are good and the tournament scenes are very fun. The extreme graphic violence was my favorite part of the movie. There is a guy that makes Mike Tyson look normal! All of the fights are really weird. One guy dresses like Conan, David Bradley fights a guy dressed as a viking or something, and in one match there is a pirate vs. a hillbilly. Seriously though, the fights are really good for the most part. The final fight is a bit of a letdown, but not bad. The story is really pointless and the ending couldn't have come any sooner, but this is a good movie to just fast forward through to see the fights.
The DVD from Cannon Video/Warner Brothers is full screen with good picture quality."
Intense fighting but only ok movie overall
dominion_ruler | Carolina, USA | 08/19/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"David Bradley (American Ninja series) stars in this film as Drew Collins, an American raised in the art of the Samurai. Drew heads to Turkey with a reporter, to uncover a murder mystery presumed to be done by a Samurai. Drew is caught and forced to fight in a tournament where he finds his step brother (Mark Dacascos) participating.
The first half of the movie is a bit slow, but fortunately picks up once the tournament action begins. The best thing about American Samurai is you won't find many martial art movies with a weapon filled tournament (Shootfighter 1 & 2 are the only others I know of). Although not quite as intense as Shootfighter, the tournament in American Samurai is fairly brutal, with lots of blood, deaths, and the occasional loss of a arm. There is not a large variety of fighters, but most are enjoyable to watch, varying in sizes and styles. The arena is actually a pretty decent looking locale too.
This is the first movie Mark Dacascos has starred in. He plays a good, convincing villain during the tournament, but overacts terribly throughout the beginning of the movie. David Bradley does an ok job, but nothing spectacular. As for the rest of the cast, everyone is pretty bland.
If you love martial art films with tournaments, this movie pleases. The best thing going for it is that it is rare to find a tournament movie with focus on weapons, American Samurai delivers there."