Rug Cop ought to have been funnier, but it feels too much like a test run. It’s a spoof of hard-boiled Japanese detective movies and TV shows, courtesy of Minoru Kawasaki (he of Executive Koala infamy), and while some of the spoofing is witty and wacky, a lot of it is just a bunch of skit concepts looking for a better home.
The concept’s giggle-worthy, anyway. Veteran detective Genda (Fuyuki Moto) is one of the best cops around, but he’s not taken very seriously due to his ill-fitting and immensely ugly hairpiece. Criminals that mess with him don’t get shot—they get his toupee flung at them, which hits with the power of a bullet and returns boomerang-style to its owner. He’s paired up with a cadre of other, equally oddball detectives—like, say, the fat one who can attack bad guys with rivers of his sweat—and they go after a terrorist who’s threatening to unleash an atomic bomb somewhere in Tokyo.
The sporadic laughs of Rug Cop don't quite click over the course of a whole movie.
I didn’t expect the plot to be anything but a way to string together the gags, but it barely even manages to do that. Too many of the bits just introduce an idea instead of developing on it, or go through the motions of parody without actually being a parody, or even all that funny. At one point there’s an enka number about a cop’s lonely life, complete with shots of Genda walking down dark lonely streets, and while the idea is amusing in the abstract (the cop shows in question were indeed littered with stuff like this), it’s just dropped in as-is and not actually used to build a real joke.
Sadly, all the best bits in a movie like this tend to be the throwaways. Random examples: the bit where Genda’s toupee spontaneously turns into an Afro (there’s an explanation for this that comes later on and it’s hilarious). Or a bit involving a balding gangster that actually turns into a cute critique of the hyper-macho yakuza mentality. I tried to imagine a whole movie built like that, but this one kept getting in the way.