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Collision Course is a 1989 action-comedy film starring Jay Leno as a Detroit police officer and Pat Morita as a Japanese officer forced to work together to recover a Japanese turbocharger stolen by a thief played by Chris Sarandon. It was directed by Lewis Teague and unreleased in the U.S. until 1992, when it debuted on home video. (When Morita guest-starred on The Tonight Show in 1989, with Leno serving as guest host, they recalled that the movie had run out of money on the last day of filming, with key scenes yet to be shot and no budget left for editing and post-production.)

Collision Course
Collision Course 1989 Film Poster.jpg
The DVD artwork for Collision Course.
Directed byLewis Teague
Produced byTed Field
Robert W. Cort
Written byFrank Darius Namei
Robert Resnikoff
StarringJay Leno
Pat Morita
Chris Sarandon
Music byIra Newborn
CinematographyDonald E. Thorin
Distributed byDe Laurentiis Entertainment Group
Release date
  • April 27, 1989 (1989-04-27)
Running time
100 min.
CountryUnited States
Budget$13 million[1]

The story plays upon the culture clash between Detroit - whose economy is largely built on automobile manufacturing - and Japan - whose trade policies and export of cars were blamed for Detroit job losses in the 1980s.


The film opens with Oshima (Danny Kamekona) attempting to sell a revolutionary turbo charger to an auto maker headed by Derek Jarryd (Dennis Holahan). However, the deal is being brokered by two goons, Scully (Tom Noonan) and Kosnic (Randall "Tex" Cobb). When Oshima backs out at the last second, explaining he's hidden the turbo charger, he's tortured and hung upside down, where he has a fatal heart attack, dying before he can disclose the location of the turbo charger. The manage at the junkyard stumbles upon what is going on, and is shot with a rocket gun by Scully, killing him. Detective Tony Costas (Jay Leno) is called in to investigate, but is removed by his captain when they realize the junkyard manager is a former partner of Costas. Despite being told to back off the case, Costas enlist the help of his new partner, Shorty (Ernie Hudson). Arriving in America at this time is Fujitsuka Natsuo (Pat Morita), assigned by his boss, Kitao (Soon-Tek Oh). Soon, Natsuo and Costas begin their own investigation after Natso finally admits the real reason he's in America. After Natso poses as a reporter asking Jayyrd about the new Turbo Charger, Jarryd is escorted away by Scully, tasked with watching over Jarryd by a corrupt crime boss named Madras (Chris Sarandon). Jarryd had taken a loan from Madras, who now controls Jarryd in order to make sure he gets a solid return on his "investment"

After seeing Scully being rough with Jarryd, both Natsuo and Costas deem Scully as worth following. Thanks to police work by Shorty, they learn of Scully's address and Natsuo and Costas go to his home. They break in and find that Scully's home is an armed fortress. Scully arrives and notices Costas and Natsuo. After a quick phone call to Madras, it's determined both men are to be killed. As they are searching Scully's home, Natsuo notices Scully aiming a rocket launcher at his own home. Both men escape just before the house blows up. They engage Scully in a gun fight that ends when Natsuo, who'd accidentally stolen a grenade from Scully's home, gives the grenade to Costas, who tosses it out of the train car in which the men are hiding. Scully, being told it was directions to the Turbo Charger's location wrapped around a rock, is killed when the grenade goes off.

An angered Costas confronts Madras, and he is suspended from the force and Natsuo is requested to return home, in disgrace. However, both Costas and Natsuo outwit Dingman, (Al Waxman), who'd been assigned to see that Natsuo got on his plane back to Japan. Both men continue their investigation which leads them to an auto shop where Oshima placed it in the car he'd rented. After a brief gun battle with Kosnic and some goons, Costas and Natsuo make their way the rental company and locate Oshima's car. This time, they are chased by Madras and his goons, briefly interuptting an auto race taking place on Detroit's streets. After they crash the car, Costas and Natsuo steal a motorcycle, which they later crash as well. With his goons stripping the car, Madras drives off in pursuit. After locating Costas and Natsuo, he shoots Costas and attempts to run down Natsuo, who despite Costas' plea has begun to run towards the car. Natsuo deliver's a kamikaze attack on Madras, kicking through the windshield and hitting Madras so hard the force of the strike decapitates him. With the car going out of control, Costas rolls out of the way. He recovers in time to recuse Natsuo from the hood of the car, which has now crashed, right before the car explodes.

The next scene takes place in an airport, with Natsuo going home to Japan, with Oshima's body but no turbo charger. However, Costas has arranged for a police woman to deliver the part to him so he could in turn, help his partner save face with his boss in Japan. The film ends with both new found friends saying their good-byes.


Much of the principal photography for the film was shot on location in Detroit, Michigan. Numerous local landmarks are shown in various scenes, including the now-defunct Trapper's Alley in the city's Greektown Historic District neighborhood and the Garden Bowl within the Majestic Theatre Centre—the United States' oldest continuously operating bowling alley. Other parts of the movie were filmed in Wilmington, North Carolina.[2]



  1. ^ De Laurentiis PRODUCER'S PICTURE DARKENS: [Home Edition] KNOEDELSEDER, WILLIAM K, Jr. Los Angeles Times 30 Aug 1987: 1.
  2. ^

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