Two New York cops get involved in a gang war between members of the Yakuza, the Japanese Mafia. They arrest one of their killers and are ordered to escort him back to Japan. In Japan, however, he manages to escape. As they try to track him down, they get deeper and deeper into the Japanese Mafia scene and they have to learn that they can only win by playing the game the Japanese way. Written by
Harald Mayr <email@example.com>
The paper signed on the airplane in Japanese is a real estate agreement. When they meet at the police station they are told they signed an insurance form. This however could be explained by the Japanese police captain's mixing up the English terms "real estate" and "insurance". See more »
If you want a narrative review, skip this, I am going to give you a philosophical review. I love the movie because it is honest about the flaws of both cultures; the Japanese collectivist society above the individual and the American individualism who cares how it effects anyone else. Each one learns from the other. Each sheds a bit of his indigenous culture. My favorite scene is when Masa explains to Nick that he shames himself and his group by stealing. The way he does it is very gentle and understanding. Yet, Nick teaches Mas to stand up for himself against the suits and go it alone when there is no other choice. Ridley always has great depth in his movies. Charlie's murder pushes Nick over the edge and there is no coming back. The movie was made when the Japanese economy was really booming and there was great anxiety in America that they were going to buy us out. The hostility is realistically depicted coming both directions. The only scene I disliked was the Hiroshima lecture which forgot to mention that tiny historical fact of Pearl Harbor; they attacked us first. We could talk about the 200 men that took days to suffocate trapped in the bottom of the Arizona in Pearl Harbor. That scene, the lecture about Hiroshima, was undoubtedly the price paid for the Japenese locations and actors participation. It reminded me of that awful revisionist Midway where we have Japanese Naval Officers weeping over shooting our pilots down, please.
The movie works well as a straight crime drama. There is a counterfeit ring going on being run by a Japanese nationalist who wants to bankrupt our country. I know, young people, it sounds so silly now, back then the Japanese were buying up tons of our stuff every day there was this great anxiety in the country. Garcia gets killed early; he is the comic relief and once he goes the film darkens. Capshaw is gorgeous to look at, unfortunately if you saw Indy and The Temple Of Doom, you already know she cannot act one scene. The movie changes from just a crime drama into more of a revenge picture after Sato murders Charlie right in front of Nick who is trapped behind a chain link fence. I love the movie because on the whole it has real depth of studying two antithetical cultures and modeling a great piece of wisdom.
Nick and Masahiro each take something from the other. Each emerges a stronger, wiser individual by being together and absorbing the other's culture. Believe me, a film that teaches people that each culture has elements that are good and bad. The wise individual sheds his religious devotion to his indigenous culture, which always contains negative elements, and takes the cultural treasure from each culture he meets. I love the above scene that highlights the beauty of Japanese culture but I also love when Nick snaps at Mas and says,"And yes, if one of you guys had an original idea, you couldn't pull it out of you tight A's." This is the balance of the movie, except for the Hiroshima lecture, there is a fair equilibrium of both cultures looking, unabashedly, at each other. The movie opens to a great song that contains Conklin's being: I'll be holding on. A ruthless individualist on the take cop who is tough, cold and mean.
By the end of the movie, watch for the existential changes in both men. Mas goes it alone with Conklin, risking everything to bring Sato into custody. Nick's lone wolf individualism rubs off on Mas. Nick returns the counterfeit plates to Mas in a funny way but the point is made. Nick teases Mas into thinking he is going to make off with them and sell them for money. Look at the relief on Mas' face when they are under a goodbye shirt. A great little movie. Not Ridley's Best But Not Prometheus Either.
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