Images on this page are copyrighted to their original copyright holders. No infringement intended, they are used here to pay homage to this wonderful actor. Concept, page design and text copyright Valkyrie Grant.
|Lt. A.J. Shimamura (NASH BRIDGES)|
|SURVIVAL IN THE MOVIES:
(in chronological order)
|BABYLON 5 (Season 3 episode "Convictions," 1994): This time round, instead of getting blown up, Cary actually gets to play a security guard who's an explosives expert (an almost comical twist in light of all the blow-ups the man has suffered :-). But although he saves the station from being blown to smithereens, we never get to see him in action. Too bad!
SPACE RANGERS (1993), my introduction to Cary, where he actually gets to
showcase his talents as a full-fledged member of an ensemble cast. What a
shame the network didn't bother to give this show a chance and the series was
cancelled after only six episodes. On the other hand, had this show been
allowed to go on, one might wonder how long "Zylyn" might have survived ...
STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION (pilot movie, "Encounter at Farpoint," 1987):
Interesting, but ultimately a total waste of Cary's talents. Nuff said.
MacGyver (Season 2 episode, "Dalton, Jack of Spies," 1987): Just a few mins of Cary
as a foreign agent out to buy a top secret decoder from a CIA agent gone bad.
Gets casually knocked aside and stays down. The writers missed a great
opportunity for a jolly good knock-down drag-out fight here. Oh well, never
could get into that show anyway.
CYBIL (Season 3 episode "Cybill and Maryann Go to Japan," 1996): No fighting here,
but if memory serves me correctly, he kinda smirks a lot, very subtly, I mean, his demeanor seems one of quiet bemusement, even superiority, really "above it all". A look which definitely suits him! Actually, it's a look I've seen him use before and of which he's the absolute master; it can range from the afore-mentioned quiet bemusement all the way to utter and devestating contempt.
SABRINA THE TEENAGE WITCH (Season 1 episode, "Sweet and Sour Victory," 1996):
For once, we can believe that a little blondie can kick his butt 'cause she's put herself under a spell. Very very funny before it deteriorates as our Sabrina, no longer under the influence of her spell, turns a bit too clumsy and inept. But so what, it's a sitcom and played for laughs.
BAYWATCH (Season 2 episode, "War of Nerves," 1989): The humiliation is complete: Mr. Tagawa got beat up and lost a fight to David Hasselhoff. OK, so it was mostly underwater and DH's character is supposed to be good in that element. But still, it's absolutely and totally laughable. Truth to tell, my stomach was churning just a little at the idea of sitting down to an episode of "Baywatch" but I was soon glued to the TV screen: What this episode has going for it is that Cary walks around a lot in a pair of black bathers. Can't think of anyone looking more delicious in this "outfit". Please ... someone hand me the drool cup ...
|Every so often, Cary actually gets to live through the end of a show. Sometimes he just
fades away, but at other times it's rather ignominious, as illustrated in our first two examples
(in no particular chronological order, includes only shows I've actually seen)
THIS PAGE CONTAINS SPOILERS -- FOR MINIMAL SPOILERS, CLICK HERE
(Movie/TV Show, and Good Guy/Bad Guy tally only)
SURVIVAL ON TELLY:
|THUNDER IN PARADISE III (TV Series, 1994): This definitely falls into the category of "If you believe this, you'll believe just about
anything!!!" (Pssst...wanna buy the Brooklyn Bridge?)
OK, so Chris Lemmon, Jack's lil boy, is a believable
good guy, but when he gets to beat up on vicious
drug dealer Cary and win... well folks, that's taking
it further than even my usually quite "stretchy"
imagination is willing to go! At least Cary got to
lose the ridiculous get-up the costuming depart-
ment stuck him with in the beginning of the movie
(right) and soon was back to his usual gorgeous
self (left). Needless to say, he's the only reason to
watch this piece of dreck in the first place (full of Hulkie
goodness, exacerbated by precocious kiddies...Ugh!!!). Honestly... would YOU watch a made-for-Hulk-Hogan-TV-thing of your own free will without a damned good reason? Ohhhhhhh how I suffer for my obsessions .... LOL.
|STARGATE SG 1 (Season 1 episode "Emancipation", 1997): This is a good one (yeah, sure): Vicious, savage and totally chauvinistic alien Warlord (think Ghengis Khan with an attitude and perma-scowl) left in the dust by Blondie! Oh the humanity! LOL (I still love this series though, it did get a lot better!), and Cary seems quite in his [acting] element.|
|Overall though, it seems TV has been kinder to Cary than the movies, but I probably haven't seen enough of his TV work to make an informed judgment. Here's a rundown on a few of these appearances, ones I've been lucky enough to catch (there's something to be said for re-runs):|
|NASH BRIDGES (1996, Season 1 and 2): I'm still wondering why they even bothered to hire a gifted actor/martial artist such as C.-H.T. So sorely underused, his part is often nothing more than a walk-on, he's not even in every episode. His all-too-rare action scenes are cut to practically nothing. They keep the best Cary-episode for last ("Zodiac"). At the end, "Lt. Shimamura" accepts a transfer to Hawaii. And who can blame him!
MIAMI VICE (Season 4 episode "Rising Sun of Death," 1987): Good guy on a rampage to stomp out the bad guy. But even he realises in the end that letting a bad guy live in dishonour is better revenge that granting him an honourable death. And as the Number One Baddie lies dead, a suicide, he gets to walk away a hero. Btw, being filmed in blue light really suits him!
MIAMI VICE (Season 5 episode "Asian Cut," 1989): A kinky artist who mixes nude models and sharp implements ... no wonder he's the number one suspect when young women are found ritually murdered, with strange Japanese symbols carved into their flesh. I thought that greying hair was devastatingly gorgeous ... *wooof*
|El Japo, American Me|
|MURDER IN PARADISE (1990, made for TV): Again, he plays a cop, but what little martial
arts action there is falls to Yuji Okumoto. The star of this show is definitely the beautiful
Hawaiian landscape. Forgettable movie, worth watching only for the few yummy shots
VESTIGE OF HONOR (1990): Playing the hard-nosed commander of a camp for dis-
placed Cambodians in Thailand, you'd almost wish somebody'd knock some humanity
into his character ...
AMERICAN ME (1992): Not really my kind of movie; gang violence in the Barrio
(had enough of that in my own neighourhood thank you very much), and in prison.
Hate prison movies. But it's a Cary movie and he is one of the few guys still
standing at the end ...
PICTURE BRIDE (1995): to come
DOUBLE EDGE (a.k.a. American Dragons, 1997): Finally got to re-watch this movie
and was a little disappointed with Cary's part. Don't get me wrong, I love this movie,
but even though Cary's got third billing in the credits, he has preciously little to do as the head of the New York arm of the Yakuza (who's got other guys doing his fighting for him ... damn!!!). What one can only imagine to be a very funny encounter happens off-screen as he and the head of a Mafia family, sworn enemies, end up together in protective custody whilst our heroes (Michael Biehn of "Terminator" fame and that terminally cute Korean dude, Joong-Hoon Park) sort out the rest of the mess. I'm still wondering though, what the heck was up with that hip-hoppy haircut on Cary??? Yikes!
|ARMED RESPONSE (1986): There's only a few moments of Cary here; his hands play a greater part than he does. As well they might, they're busy torturing a good guy with acupuncture needles. But oh, does he look delicious for the few moments we see his face, all long hair and headband and silence, totally absorbed in what he's doing. Now there's really no telling whether he dies in the end or not because the good guys do wreak havoc on the bad guys. But we don't see him in the bunch. Maybe he was too valuable to risk in combat and was kept well away from the mayhem.
THE LAST EMPEROR (1987): He gets to live, but the last we see of him, he walks out of the door and out of the movie, his naughty bits in a jar .... OUCH!
SPELLBINDER (1988): Just two or three appearances on screen, and no action at all for our guy as he plays a cop who knows something of what's going but has a hard time convincing others. Alas, the whole thing really is too too silly and is pretty much a waste of the moviewatcher's time. For die-hard Cary fans only!
|BULLETPROOF (1988): I'm just not so sure about this one, someone mentioned that Cary was in the movie, in a teensy bitsy part, uncredited. Gary Busey (the good guy) is having a flashback to a night when it's him and
another guy against a couple of bad guys, and the lead-baddie's muscle could be Cary. But it's a dark alley and
the movie doesn't throw any light on either the subject nor into the alley. What made me
unsure is that while the features are right and facial expressions glimpsed through the
shadows are pure Cary, the hair is all wrong. Decided to take another look at "Spellbinder"
from the same year and it's quite different (the guy in the alley has an extreme buzz going,
but in Spellbinder Cary's hair is much much longer). Oh well, the world loves a mystery.
At any rate, there's two dead men in the alley, but Gary and what might be Cary
KICKBOXER II: THE ROAD BACK (1989): Again, we have a martial arts picture
but nobody bothered to let Cary in on the action. Rather, he plays a fight pro-
moter (what the hell is going on in the casting directors' minds???????). Anyway,
the viewer is to think of him as bad because we're supposed to be on the other
side but hey... he's doing for his side what someone else is doing for the other
side and he's the best thing in the movie. So there :-)
|TOP OF THE WORLD (1998 according to the movie box, IMDb has it listed as 1997): There don't seem to be any good guys in this movie, with all the backstabbing and double-crossing going on, with poor Peter Weller an ex-con caught in the middle and set up as patsy. Quite a bit of good Cary footage playing what looks like the Captain of a SWAT team who's trying to sort it all out. The studio sure got to save on the clothes budget since the action takes place all over the course of a few hours. Did I mention Cary in uniform is just one great big yummy turn-on???? *g*
SNOW FALLING ON CEDARS (1999): to come
JOHNNY TSUNAMI (1999): A rather saccharine, made-for-TV kiddie movie (The Disney Channel). But Cary is worth the risk of hyperglycemia: A totally buff grandpa on a surfboard. Whoa!