Good Beer; Bad Movie — Cartel Imperial, 'Samurai Cop' Edition

An $8 Cartel Growler full of Cartel Imperial IPA. (Photo by Zane Jennings) An $8 Cartel Growler full of Cartel Imperial IPA. (Photo by Zane Jennings)

THE GOOD BEER: Cartel Imperial IPA

As in all things, balance is an essential part of a happy existence. Fortunately for me, I achieved that balance by purchasing some local Tempe coffee shop Cartel’s in-house brewed Imperial IPA. Mm.

With any IPA, I’ve learned that bitterness is a most important taste to be on the lookout for. Some beers have strong, bitter flavors that work in their favor, while others have some that work against them. The Cartel IPA would fall into the former category. Although you get to enjoy the strong taste of an IPA, nothing is overpowering and it allows for a smooth gulp.

As far as flavoring goes, aside from bitterness, the beer seemed to have a nice spice to it. Served cold, this spice is the icing on the cake and what I think is the real selling point behind the beverage.

The one thing about the beer that could go either way for some drinkers is the strength. At 9.6 percent alcohol, this beer is a strong one. I felt that the beer had this going for it. Anything weaker would likely have tasted flat, or simply not as full.

Thus, be warned: if you are not looking for a strong beer, then the Cartel Imperial IPA is probably not the one for you, but if you are then there is no need to look any further than this local Tempe establishment.

THE BAD MOVIE: "Samurai Cop" (1991)

"Samurai Cop" is one of those movies that you wonder how it got made (QUICK, JASON MANTZOUKAS!), but you are glued to the screen for every moment it’s playing.

A blatant attempt to capitalize on the buddy-cop lethal weapon success, "Samurai Cop" is the tale of two policemen trying to take down the Yakuza mob. There’s love, friendship and loss — this movie has all of the usual elements for a normal B-movie. It’s the characters, however, that make the movie so hard to watch, but just as hard to walk away from.

The buddy-cop dynamic is strong between hotshot San Diego PD transfer and department Casanova Joe Marshall (Matt Hannon) and goofy friend who always his Marshall’s back, Frank Washington (Mark Frazer). The relationship between the characters is deep, as Marshall consistently gets the department in trouble and Washington has to beg the chief of police to let him stay on the force.

The highlight of the rapport is when Marshall tries to flirt with a nurse at the hospital. Some of the most uncomfortable dialogue ever recorded for the silver screen ensues, as Marshall tries to justify his… manliness. What really makes the scene are frequent, and awkward, cuts to Washington’s facial expressions as the exchange is happening. With almost no continuity, the screen cuts to Washington’s face to show his hilariously exaggerated responses to Marshall’s exchange.

These awkward cuts are not specific to Marshall and Washington’s scene in the hospital — they are dispersed throughout the movie! There is one particular scene near the end of the movie where a high-speed car chase going is tearing through the city. Before the chase is resolved, the story hard cuts to a sex scene between the chief Yakuza henchman and his lady. The scene serves almost no purpose.

Lastly, at the end of the movie the audience is finally greeted with the epic fight scene. Marshall, who is quite jacked, takes on the large Samurai lieutenant, Yamashita (Robert D'Zar). Throughout the fight scene it seems the two are teleporting though location and time. Yes, time itself. The sun is ostensibly in different places in the in almost every angle cut in the scene.

This laziness is so profound, that it could almost pass as a genius form of post-modern disregard for how films are supposed to be made.

With the explosions, the friendships, the unnecessary graphic sex scenes, the guns, and the beautiful women that don’t really do anything, Samurai Cop almost works as an unfiltered examination into the male id.

Stay tuned for more Good Beer and Bad Movies in the upcoming semester.


Send your recommendations for good beer/bad movies to or follow him on Twitter @humanzane

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