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Doberuman Deka

Detective Doberman
Doberman Cop

Japan 1977
produced by
directed by Kinji Fukasaku
starring Sonny Chiba, Hiroki Matsukata, Janet Hatta, Eiko Matsuda, Hideo Murota, Seizo Fukumoto
screenplay by Kinji Fukasaku, based on the manga by Buronson (writer) and Shinji Hiramatsu (artist), music by Kenjiro Hirose

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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A prostitute is strangled and then burned, and local police soon blame the whole thing on a serialkiller due to the modus operandi. Enter country bumpkin Kano (Sonny Chiba), a cop from the deceased girl's hometown, who for some reason always carries a piglet around and is therefore not taken entirely seriously. He though suspects that the dead girl is not who she's thought to be, and she wasn't killed by the serialkiller, neither.

Eventually, Kano proves himself a hero when he selflessly saves singer Miki (Janet Hatta) from a hostage situation, but even this doesn't get him much respect fro the local cops, so he hooks up with a biker, who was the original suspect in the murder, and his gang to investigate. Soon, Kano's investigations lead him back to Miki, an up-and-coming singing sensation who's groomed for stardom by her manager HIdemori (Hiroki Matsukata), a former yakuza who's seriously in love with her and has thus quit gangsterdom to exclusively take care of her - but he hasn't forgotten his bullying ways, either, and he will literally kill to crown her the winner of a TV talent competition. Thing is, Miki has once been a prostitute, and what's more, she is the girl that was originally believed to be murdered in the murder under investigation ...

Kano obviously comes too close to the truth, so Hidemori has both him and his biker friend taken captive and tied up to soon be murdered, but Kano manages to break them both free. Eventually, and rather by chance, Kano's biker friend stumbles upon a clue leading to the serialkiller - which costs him his own life, but with his help, Kano manages to track down, fight and eventually kill the villain, who turns out to be a high-ranking officer (Hideo Murota) in the local police ... which of course explains why the local authorities refused to give Kano any support.

But even with the serialkiller gone, that leaves the murdercase that started this whole story wide open, so Kano pays Hidemori a visit - and tells him he has found out that Miki herself killed that other girl who tried to blackmail her, and she used her death to fake the death of her own self. Hidemori is so in love with Mike that he wants to keep Kano from spilling the beans at any cost, but Kano kills him in the final shootout.

Kano confronts Miki with what he has found out during the talent competition she has been preparing for all that time, right before the judges' final verdict. He asks her though to return to their hometown with him, leave her present life behind and start all over - but she turns him down, wins the competition and sings her winning song on stage - but during this, one already sees her slowly breaking down, fighting to hold back her tears and already strung out by drugs, and it will only be a matter of time before she becomes a washed up wreck ...


A playful blend of light comedy and violent cop thriller (with many deliberate Dirty Harry-quotes), this film has many a great moment, the image of Japanese tough man carrying a piglet through the city just being one of them. But that said, Detective Doberman is decidedly less than perfect, it's based on a convoluted plot that has its story all over the place, throws in subplot after subplot one could have done without, and lacks decent overall pacing. Furthermore the characters remain rather flat, too flat for identification, which is not only bad in itself but also hurts suspense and tension. This all does not make this one a bad movie as such, it's still entertaining enough, but by no means one of director Kinji Fukasaku's better movies.


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD