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Re: SHOWDOWN IN LITTLE TOKYO (Mark L. Lester, 1991)

PostPosted: 12 Jan 2019, 20:01
by Jox
Call sheet for Tuesday January 15, 1991, Day 2 out of 40,
"Mamma Yamagushi's restaurant" sequence
https://www.instagram.com/p/BshpRC-liwI/

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Re: SHOWDOWN IN LITTLE TOKYO (Mark L. Lester, 1991)

PostPosted: 15 Jan 2019, 21:09
by Jox
Rare E Entertainment TV report with behind the scenes footage and interviews with Dolph and Mark Lester! 8)
https://www.instagram.com/p/BsqD5VPF29X/

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More to come...

Re: SHOWDOWN IN LITTLE TOKYO (Mark L. Lester, 1991)

PostPosted: 28 Jan 2019, 23:56
by Gunner
I have a question regarding the earlier scripts for the film. I'm trying to figure out exact timeline of when was which script written. Based on what i know so far;


Mark L. Lester comes up with the story, probably writes a treatment or something, possibly sometime around 1990 or earlier, and Martin Caan also works on it.

Steven Glantz and Caliope Brattlestreet write the first version of the script titled Sgt. K, based on Lester's story.

After them, Gary DeVore and Dennis Hackin each write their own versions, also titled Sgt. K. This is interesting, because i read that they were involved in some uncredited work on Dolph's other films or wrote some unproduced scripts in which he was going to be involved in.

Steve Sharon writes his version in either May or June of 1990, which is re-titled into Yakuza, and it gets some attention to the project, and i can see why, because his script is very good. It reads more like serious version of the same story from the film, with some differences. I can even see how it could have been slightly re-worked and turned into the sequel if the first film wasn't messed with and was more successful.

Jonathan Lemkin is brought in to write the final shooting script during production of the film in January-March of 1991, and the movie is re-titled again into Showdown In Little Tokyo.


That's it. Am i correct about this or did i make some mistakes?


Fun facts;

In early 2000's Steven Seagal was involved to star in an action movie titled Yakuza, and the plot was slightly similar to Showdown In Little Tokyo, however it was cancelled very soon into pre-production. I'm mentioning this just because i thought it was interesting, considering how SILT had the same title at one point.

Jonathan Lemkin wrote an unproduced spec titled $$$$$$ around the same time that SILT was in pre-production. It is very over the top, tongue in cheek action script about team of mercenaries who attack Los Angeles, and it has some fun dialogue and insane action sequences, and it got me thinking, maybe the people who were involved in SILT read that script and hired him based on his work in it. It has similar style like SILT, and the story is really not very serious, so i wouldn't be surprised.

Re: SHOWDOWN IN LITTLE TOKYO (Mark L. Lester, 1991)

PostPosted: 25 Mar 2019, 13:59
by Jox

Re: SHOWDOWN IN LITTLE TOKYO (Mark L. Lester, 1991)

PostPosted: 31 Mar 2019, 12:42
by Guile
Hey everyone.. I've been hoping for Showdown to get a release outside of the U.S for a while now in hopes that it might get the Unrated/extended special edition treatment.
I'm surprised that there hasn't even been a German release yet since Germany usually gets there hands on these sort of films much sooner than other regions.

I remember the DVD version released across all regions and was cut differently for each.

I was just wondering is there anything holding it back from getting a release outside of the US on bluray?

Re: SHOWDOWN IN LITTLE TOKYO (Mark L. Lester, 1991)

PostPosted: 02 Apr 2019, 13:04
by Jox
I'm not sure what's holding back Warner from releasing it outside the US except their own agenda. Since the US edition was under the limited label "Warner Archive", I wonder if any of those titles make it abroad...

As for a special edition I wouldn't keep any hopes up.

Re: SHOWDOWN IN LITTLE TOKYO (Mark L. Lester, 1991)

PostPosted: 02 Apr 2019, 17:11
by alex.sp89
hello !!!i am new to this awesome fansite of almighty Dolph Lundgren!!! Showdown is my favourite buddy cop movie, even if it has so many goofs after massive re-editings during post production !!! Action,directing, humor , wardrobe of actors, music of David Michael Frank !!! Only issue i think is editing in some places , but this is because of re-editing I guess !! Some Angles are not right or someone used them to alternate violence and stuff because of MPAA !!!

Basically this was a Dolph Lundgren movie, and they reedited to make it also Brandon Lee movie, cutting 10-111 minutes from it !!! to my understanding THIS WAS A 90 MINUTES ACTION MOVIE - according to what I read and final script from Jonathan Lemkin (if u exclude omitted car chase and fight at he sporting store)- with this scenes could be around 96 minutes)

The reason why they cut those scenes out was the budget I guess, and too similar to Steven Seagal's movie Marked for Death released one year earlier - there we can see a car chase scene and fight at he mall in the middle of the movie !!! Basically the concept of SILT and Marked for Death is similar - cops fighting drug lords (jamaicans in MFD, japanese in SILT) They even used the same location for shooting !!! Do u remember the Bansai club ? This is the same location used in Marked for death (1990) where Screwface and gang use to party and final action scene was filmed there

Comparison - different angles and decoration

Re: SHOWDOWN IN LITTLE TOKYO (Mark L. Lester, 1991)

PostPosted: 02 Apr 2019, 17:33
by alex.sp89
MKD.jpg
Marked for Death (1990)
MKD.jpg (15.13 KiB) Viewed 770 times

Re: SHOWDOWN IN LITTLE TOKYO (Mark L. Lester, 1991)

PostPosted: 02 Apr 2019, 18:14
by alex.sp89
Admin why do u think we will never get the special edition or director's cut of this one ?

Warner already allowed Shout Factory to release a special edition of cult classic Cobra (1986) with Stallone, and I consider this one and SILT are the same level movies from that era !!!

Another example could be Payback (1999) starring Mel Gibson, it was a Warner production too !!!! After 8 years they allowed director Brian Helgeland to release his director's cut of this movie !!! this movie had a lot of problems during post-production with director like Warner had with Mark Lester !!! re-shoots re-editings and stuff...

River Phoenix last unfinished movie called Dark Blood have been released by his director George Sluizer after almost 20 years!

A 30th Years Anniversary of Showdown is coming and I think is a right time to give the fans whet they waited for years !!! it is the right time... Many movies of Mark L lester are cult classic got a special edition in recent years - Commando, Class of 1984 AND 1999, Firestarter ... now is the time for this action flick !!! This is Lester's Joker card...

Re: SHOWDOWN IN LITTLE TOKYO (Mark L. Lester, 1991)

PostPosted: 04 Apr 2019, 11:29
by Jox
Gunner wrote:Mark L. Lester comes up with the story, probably writes a treatment or something, possibly sometime around 1990 or earlier, and Martin Caan also works on it.

Steven Glantz and Caliope Brattlestreet write the first version of the script titled Sgt. K, based on Lester's story.

After them, Gary DeVore and Dennis Hackin each write their own versions, also titled Sgt. K. This is interesting, because i read that they were involved in some uncredited work on Dolph's other films or wrote some unproduced scripts in which he was going to be involved in.

Steve Sharon writes his version in either May or June of 1990, which is re-titled into Yakuza, and it gets some attention to the project, and i can see why, because his script is very good. It reads more like serious version of the same story from the film, with some differences. I can even see how it could have been slightly re-worked and turned into the sequel if the first film wasn't messed with and was more successful.

Jonathan Lemkin is brought in to write the final shooting script during production of the film in January-March of 1991, and the movie is re-titled again into Showdown In Little Tokyo.

That's it. Am i correct about this or did i make some mistakes?

Lester came up with the story based on a news article about Yakuza bodies found dead in the L.A. river. Not sure how much Caan really contributed to the story.
Glantz and Battle street were hired to pen the screenplay by Martin Caan since they're friends.

Steve Sharon was hired for a rewrite right after that, and it's his retitled "Yakuza" draft that got the movie going (with also excellent word of mouth in the industry). Warner then changed the title to SHOWDOWN IN LITTLE TOKYO and put it on the cover of some of the copies sent of Sharon's script. That was in the summer of 1990.

Steven Seagal passed and Dolph Lundgren was signed in September '90 with Brandon Lee probably soon after.

I'm not sure when Gary Devore (also a friend of Caan's with whom they also did PENTATHLON with Dolph) and Dennis Hackin came in but I guess later in the process, and until Jonathan Lemkin did work on the production script (prior to and during shooting I guess) since the idea was to make it more tongue-in-cheek and "action comedy".

All this happened in a very short period of time by industry standards since cameras rolled by January 1991 (not to mention the short turnaround from March to August before the US release).

Fun facts;

In early 2000's Steven Seagal was involved to star in an action movie titled Yakuza, and the plot was slightly similar to Showdown In Little Tokyo, however it was cancelled very soon into pre-production. I'm mentioning this just because i thought it was interesting, considering how SILT had the same title at one point.

Yeah, and he did INTO THE SUN instead!

maybe the people who were involved in SILT read that script and hired him based on his work in it. It has similar style like SILT, and the story is really not very serious, so i wouldn't be surprised.

I don't know perhaps, but he was a hot commodity for uncredited rewites and polishes at the time and did quite a few for Warner I believe...



alex.sp89 wrote:hello !!!i am new to this awesome fansite of almighty Dolph Lundgren!!!

Welcome and thank you!!

alex.sp89 wrote:Do u remember the Bansai club ? This is the same location used in Marked for death (1990) where Screwface and gang use to party and final action scene was filmed there

Comparison - different angles and decoration

This is great, thank you for pointing out and posting the screenshot!

The reason why they cut those scenes out was the budget I guess, and too similar to Steven Seagal's movie Marked for Death released one year earlier

Cutting the film down had nothing to do with the budget or the MARKED FOR DEATH similarities. SILT was aimed to be like a Seagal movie (actually they offered the movie to him before going to Dolph). It's one of those paradoxal studio behaviour where they supported the movie 100% until they changed their mentality or an executive got replaced it was decided to cut the movie again and again (notably by their "go to" slasher guy Stuart Baird) and not give it a proprer wide release theatrically... Will cover the whole story on my long gestating career book on Dolph's movies and their behind the scenes.

alex.sp89 wrote:Admin why do u think we will never get the special edition or director's cut of this one ?

I'm rather pessimistic when it comes to this rather than getting my hopes up, and until recently, Warner wouldn't do it and wouldn't give their titles to any other label.

But you're right, they've been finally sub-licensing some of their titles to niche labels such as Shout! Factory and I had almost forgotten because it's fairly new and all those years library titles like this or even more prestigious would never be given the special edition treatment.

When I interviewed Mark Lester a year or two before the US Blu-ray release, he told me he knew one of the Warner execs and was gonna make them do a special edition of SILT. Obviously that did not happen, just like Warner scraped a MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE special edition at the last minute whereas extras were ready for delivery.

But ieven though SILT has grown to be a cult movie, does it have the fan base that COBRA or the early Seagal movies do for Shout to believe in a release? The Warner catalogue probably isn't as cheap as other independent library titles so that must play into their criteria as well.

We'll see, if it happens, then I couldn't be more thrilled!

Re: SHOWDOWN IN LITTLE TOKYO (Mark L. Lester, 1991)

PostPosted: 04 Apr 2019, 18:35
by alex.sp89
Of course Steven Seagal refused to star in a clone movie that he already did half a year ago !!! Anyway it is evident that he supposed to star in it !!! Steven was Warner Bros actor at that time, David Michael Frank was the composer in all his movies at that time (even if Marked for Death (1990) credited James Newton Howard as a composer, David Michael Frank was involved there too uncredited - I saw some pics where Seagal dressed like in film , Jimmy Cliff and David Michael Frank are in music studio recording something - Jimmy the Crow song from the movie i think!!!) If Seagal would had star in SILT we wouldn't get the movie we know today with Dolph !!! Obviously he would reduce the screen time of Brandon Lee character, leaving him more like a background (few lines of dialogue, less action, fights from him) like he did with Keith David character in Marked for Death (1990), Jerry Orbach in Out for Justice (1991) deleting many parts in post production - leaving them more like furniture !!! That was Steven ego at that time - only i deliver the action here !!!

But according to what I heard in one interview with Steven, he knew Brandon Lee very good, when Brandon got shot he got a call from someone when he was still alive at the hospital !!! Steven Seagal was in good relationship with Dan Inosanto- who was the martial arts teacher of Brandon Lee !!! Inosanto starred with Seagal in Out for Justice (1991) (where he played small role of Sticks in the famous bar fight scene) couple months before SILT started to be shot in January of 1991 !!!I think when Steven refused on making SILT he and some other people from Warner wanted to promote Brandon career in Hollywood - a hand of help, and the rumor that no one know who was Brandon during audition of SILT is a typical Hollywood Story when the guy come from nowhere and then BOOM become a star the next day !
Even Mark L Lester said in an interview :

"Luke: "Tell me about working with the late Brandon Lee in Showdown in Little Tokyo."

Mark: "This was his first [American] movie. He'd done a couple of pictures in Hong Kong. I wanted a little sidekick to Dolph Lundgren. Brandon was so good in the movie that when Warner Brothers saw him in the movie, we've got to cut this into a Brandon Lee movie."

This remark explain the re-editing of SILT, giving Brandon the same screen time as Dolph or close to it !!! Because basically according to what I read in the script they deleted mainly only Dolph Lundgren scenes from it !!! I feel bad for late Rodney Kageyama who's role of Eddie Yosuto has been cut almost entirely leaving just some frames at he police station saying he is sorry for Murata becoming Kenner's new partner !!! He supposed to be in the opening underground boxing match with Kenner (just some frames of his back (his suit)) left by Stuart Baird on Co in released version !!! Another myth that i read on this site that "prologue was maybe 10 minutes longer" is simply untruth - it was deleted only 2-4 minutes ( 1,5-2 minutes with dialogue between Kenner and Eddie and Eddie's involvement during first shout out scene (box match) and another 1,5-2 minutes of deleted scene between Kenner, Nelson (played by Ernie Lively who also has only 2 sentences in the movie saying ' U arrest the nicest people") and Eddie who refuse to be Lundgren's partner anymore, followed by the training scene with flashbacks which was placed before the final showdown.

Stuart Baird and Co hand fells everywhere during re-editing !!! It affects more the action sequences - this quick cuts using as many angles as u can characteristic for Baird and Warner at that time (This is a trade mark characteristic for A Grade movies from B grade movies basically) !!! But non action scenes don't have this style of editing (angels, quick cuts) that is very evident during the movie sometimes - 2 different styles of editing !!! For example scenes when Kenner, Murata and Minako are in the Japanese House needed more quick cuts angles between the takes, doesn't have the right pace and looks long - 7 minutes do not happen anything on the screen !!!

But the most evident are the goofs created by re-editing team.

1. The Guy who broke his own neck at the police station, appears 2 scenes later in decapitation scene of Angel Muller !!! We even see him in close up few times - that was the influence why he broke his own neck !!! Certainly the decapitation scene took place earlier before Mama Yamaguchi Restaurant scene and police station scene !!!! As scripted decapitation scene was after the training scene at the beginning of the movie !!! I understand Baird and Co switched the order of many scenes but delete the guy from decapitation scene, zoom some background footage like he is not present there...
2.The scene where the guy cuts his own finger and got killed by Yoshida afterwords - this scene shouldn't be replaced after Saving Minako Scene !!! As scripted this scene took place after the japanese bath scene - Yoshida gets angry when he found out from Kenner in the bath scene that Minako escaped and he has the tape of Angel's murder(which was just bluffing) !!! putting the the finger cutting scenes before the bath house scene doesn't make any sense !!! If u watch the remark of Lundgren's character saying - that he got the tape - editing change quickly (looks chopped) doesn't allow the viewers to see Yoshida's unexpected angry face - instead of that they put another footage ( reaction of Yoshida that occurs after that, making us to believe that he doesn't care)

There are other short scenes that are not in correct order and even frames that don't match to each other (ex. one guy get killed in first frame shot, the next frame shot he is still alive in the background(wrong order of frames, the guy with the extinguisher in his hands is visible in early prints of the movie, when Kenner shot the last 2 Hardboys there are some shots where u can see Yoshida and Minako present there too - you can see their legs on steps but editors shortened it and it looks like they vanished and are not present there) but i don't have time to describe all...

More remarks from Murata and Kenner are noticeable placed during post-production - DNR voice problems, Last remark :' WE KILL THE SUSPECTS AND JOIN THE LOCAL PARADE" wasn't there at all
It should ended like that:

" Minako- Are u going to the hospital, Kenner ?
Kenner- Women. Rescue them from certain death, and they think they own u
Mama Yamaguchi- Bow ?
Son (of Mama Yamaguchi) - Why ?
Mama Yamaguchi - A man of honour is passing "

And at the last Minako's dialogue has been reduced to minimum by re-editing especially in the last act !!! Giving more time for the late Brandon Lee !!!

BUT I STILL CONSIDER SHOWDOWN IN LITTLE TOKYO A CULT CLASSIC MOVIE !!!! ALWAYS WAITED FOR MORE MOVIES LIKE THIS FROM DOLPH !!! CRITICS DIDN'T LIKE IT BUT AFTER SO MANY YEARS AUDIENCE AND TIME PROVED HOW WRONG THEY WERE AT THAT POINT OF VIEW

Re: SHOWDOWN IN LITTLE TOKYO (Mark L. Lester, 1991)

PostPosted: 05 Apr 2019, 13:37
by Guile
Thank you for getting back to me.

Now that you mentioned it I can't think of any Warner Archive titles that have made it outside of the U.S, it must be a Warner Archive issue that it hasn't had a release since many other titles like Stallone's and Seagal's that where standard Warner releases have had a worldwide release.

I have read some mixed reviews regarding the picture quality on Warner Archive releases. Is the transfer on the Blu a good upgrade compared to the Australian DVD upscaled?

Re: SHOWDOWN IN LITTLE TOKYO (Mark L. Lester, 1991)

PostPosted: 06 Apr 2019, 01:39
by Gunner
Thanks Jox! Always good to know more info about films like SILT, since they don't have any special features or anything similar included on DVD/Blu-Ray releases.

First time i hear that this was almost Steven Seagal film. Honestly, i'm glad that instead of him they got Lundgren and Lee. Not to mention that if he did agreed to star in the film, they would probably go with more serious version of the story. Steve Sharon's script was very good and the movie would still work if they kept serious tone, but i think that making it more of a tongue in cheek was better decision.

Yeah, Jonathan Lemkin did do a lot of credited and uncredited work for Warner Bros. in 90's, just like some other screenwriters/script doctors, like Robert Mark Kamen for example. I read few of Lemkin's scripts (produced and unproduced) and he was a damn good writer, no doubt about it, so it's no wonder that they would always bring him in to fix some script.


Fun fact; He was the first screenwriter who wrote version of Lethal Weapon 4 script back in 1993, at the same time some other writer was working on another version. You see, at the time the plan was for one to be used for fourth film, and other for fifth film. What's interesting is, 20th Century Fox were doing the almost exact same thing at the same time with Die Hard 3. They hired two writers, Doug Richardson and John Fasano, and had them writing two different scripts for the film, and they would choose the better of the two. But that plan went to shit since Bruce Willis didn't like either of the two scripts.

And WB plans for LW 4 also went down the drain, and both of those scripts were rejected, along with several others by other writers between '93 and '97, including at least four scripts from Jeffrey Boam, another go-to screenwriter WB had working for them, and who worked on previous three LW films. Lemkin did get back on the project in 1997 and he wrote first version of the script and story for the '98 film, but then they had bunch of other writers who went and wrote their own or kept re-writing draft after draft during pre-production and filming.


alex.sp89 wrote:Obviously he would reduce the screen time of Brandon Lee character, leaving him more like a background (few lines of dialogue, less action, fights from him) like he did with Keith David character in Marked for Death (1990), Jerry Orbach in Out for Justice (1991) deleting many parts in post production - leaving them more like furniture !!! That was Steven ego at that time - only i deliver the action here !!!


Another guy WB had working on re-editing of SILT was Michael Eliot, who also re-edited Out For Justice, so there's something interesting. While it's pretty well known what happened to SILT when it comes to all the cuts and changes, it's difficult to tell just how much Out For Justice was changed in re-editing, and who did what with it. It's well known that Seagal removed some of William Forsythe scenes, that WB made their own cuts, then some violence was cut due to MPAA (just like what happened with Seagal's previous film Marked For Death)... I read that over 30 minutes was cut out of the film!

But it's no surprise really, specially when it comes to Seagal's films. It seems like every single one he did for WB was messed with by them in post. By the time Fire Down Below was made, they really went crazy, to the point that they removed some pretty big action sequences out of the film, which for some reason cost $60 million to make, a lot of which definitely went to those deleted scenes.

Re: SHOWDOWN IN LITTLE TOKYO (Mark L. Lester, 1991)

PostPosted: 06 Apr 2019, 16:37
by alex.sp89
Yes Gunner u are right !!! With Seagal this movie wouldn't be an action comedy - and this is the thing that I like in it !!! He would try to re-write the script again and again... !!! I can't imagine Steven in a love scene With Minako like Dolph did, jokes and homoerotic lines and at last walking around showing his ""muscles"" in his underwear !!! Joke aha, aha !!! Dolph was perfectly cast for this role - his style and best match !!! This is his movie, even if Brandon was good in it - he is a supportive actor and accent was made on Dolph !!! Too bad that this movie didn't worked as expected from begining !!! But even nowaday Dolph considers this role one of his best as I do !!!

Again about similarities with Marked for Death (1990) - same concept, cops fighting drug lords, revenge in the name of family, omitted car chase and fight at sporting store, last action scene is a fight on swords, I don't know who came first with this idea : Mark L Lester for Showdown in Little Tokyo or writers Michael Grais and Mark Victor for Marked for Death (titled Screwface in their Draft) !!! The only thing that I know, because I own, the initial script for Marked for Death titled Screwface in dated 3/5/1989, but it is far different than the final script - again the concept is the same but many details are different (names of characters, development sometimes) that is why Seagal tried to get credit on script saying he re-write 90% of it. settled a lawsuit but lost it 1990 according Writers Gui)d (don't know exactly the nam) standards. Filming of MFD took took place from 20 february- may of 1990 !!!

Production rewrite made by Jonathan Lemkin for Showdown in Little Tokyo (1991) is dated January 2, 1991 ! But also indicate previous writers participating - Stephen Glantz, Caliope Bratllestreet, Gary Devore, Steve Sharon and Dennis Hackin !!! Filming took place between January 14 - March 8 1991 !!!

Re: SHOWDOWN IN LITTLE TOKYO (Mark L. Lester, 1991)

PostPosted: 06 Apr 2019, 16:53
by alex.sp89
Does anyone has rare stills , lobby cards that are not presented in gallery section or net, behind the scenes footage (except the one posted by Jimmy Taenaka (who played the skinny Hardboy in the movie) recently on his youtube page and Hollywood Stunt Makers- Fantastic Fights ) ?
Admin I saw pic in Gallery Section (in pictures - movie stills, posters ... section) for SILT, there is one pic (exactly is a screenshot) with Dolph smiling with A Red Dragon Face on background ! Obviously it is behind the scenes footage - final fight at he parade !!! Where can we find this video ?