To reiterate what I've said in the past, TV movies are an interesting breed. They tend to be completely budget starved and as a result they are often forced to be creative in the screenwriting department. Also, name actors who are past their prime tend to show up regularly and sometimes they are willing to take more risks in the story. Stuff that might not have much of a fighting chance in cinemas could do good business on TV, particularly due to the fact that home video was not only far too expensive for the average person and the major studios at the time were so against the idea that it became a massive legal battle with the intent of preventing the public from even owning a VCR, much less licensing their movies out to a video format. So if you wanted to watch a movie at home, you couldn't make it a Blockbuster night.
In the Marina near Fisherman's Wharf, some no-goodniks are attempting to... well, it's not clear what they are attempting to do, but it's definitely no good! Fortunately for the cougars of the Marina district, an unmasked avenger shows up out of nowhere clad in a black karate gi and a red headband! He's going to attack them with the power of the mystical martial arts, or make sashimi out of them with the katana at his side, right? Nope. He's going to grab a fire hose and, this is true, spray them all into a fishing net and then drop them in the ocean. Marina bros can sleep easy tonight, Samurai-Man is on the job! Actually he isn't called "Samurai-Man", he actually has no super name, though his identity is somehow secret in spite of the fact that he doesn't wear a mask.
During the daylight hours our chinpira hosing hero is none other than county prosecutor Lee Toshido Cantrell (Joe Penny). Cantrell was born in Japan and is the son of a Japanese-American businessman and a proper Japanese mother, yet for some reason looks rather like an Italian. Anybody know what the milk man looked like?
Since he grew up in Japan and is of Asian descent he of course knows karate, kenpo and bushido. As his father tells him, bushido is the code of "a warrior who pledges undying loyalty to the defense of those unable to defend themselves." Uhhh, first off, by most accounts, bushido's main attributes are loyalty, honor, frugality and marital arts, and second, that is a really odd motto for a county prosecutor. His old man is clearly the life of the party and he goes around in his kimono intoning pearls of ancient Japanese wisdom like "every land has only two laws... right and wrong." Yeah, thanks for the talk pops, gotta go fight crime now.
The president of Horizon is one Amory Bryson (Charles Cioffi), an ice-cold exec who prefers to work in the shadows. Literally, as Bryson works at night with massive office lit by a solitary desklamp. To aid him in his nefarious doings is his right hand man, Harold Tigner (Geoffrey Lewis), who feels that the best way to run the indigent crumbsuckers out of town is to hire a group of disenfranchised ex-military commandos to make the most clumsy attacks possible. Instead of simply throwing a molotov or two in an old Jewish man's warehouse, they actually break in a second time, run detcord all around the inside of the building, completely oblivious to the street-smart 9 year old kid who is witnessing it.
Somehow Cantrell manages to win a case against Horizon to get the plans for the shopping center temporarily blocked. We never see how he achieves this Miracle on McAllister Street, but he does. This makes Bryson so mad, that he decides it is time to break out his super-secret weapon that he has been developing in the basement of his office building, a machine that will send out sonic waves that will cause an earthquake within a seven or eight block radius. Sell it to the military, oh no, no, no. Bryson has bigger plans! He's going to use it to clear a path for a mall. Uhhhh, yeah. Dare to dream my friend, dare to dream.