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.
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 ...
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.