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An overlooked gem of a thriller
NewEnglandPat2 July 2005
This picture that seems to have escaped the notice of the movie-going public is a stylish, murky thriller that has interesting twists and turns and good performances by Ed Harris and Madeleine Stowe. The premise of the story has been done before in several noir films of the past but Harris brings credibility to his role as a smitten cop. A crack detective who solves crimes with the best of them, Harris is a lonely man who is ripe for the picking by Stowe who is not all as she seems. The sexy brunette ranks right up there with Phyllis Deitrichson and Matty Tyler Walker as the genre's classic femme fatales. The supporting cast is good, among them are Benecio del Toro and Charles Dance in key roles. The music score is soft and sultry, very similar to John Barry's theme in "Body Heat".
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Proof that not all straight to video thrillers are rubbish
bob the moo4 July 2002
When homicide detective Kyle Brodine starts seeing the wife of businessman Rupert Monro he finds himself falling in love with her. When her relationship gets violent with her husband he begs her to leave him, however she doesn't but when she accidentally kills him with an illegal gun she turns to him for help. Unable to go to the police he helps her cover it up. However later the police suspect foul play and Kyle and his partner are put on the case. As they investigate more evidence begins to point to Kyle and it appears that Rachel has not been totally honest with him.

Proof that good noir still exists. This film never saw the inside of an UK cinema – it went straight to video on release. However the plot is a good tangled web of murder, mystery and deceit. It manages to be twisty despite the fact that this sort of thing has been done many times before. The plot unfolds late and very quickly, managing to be believable and gripping.

The main reason for this is a great performance from Ed Harris. The feeling of him being sucking into something is written all over his face – and the way he goes from cop in control of all the details into a hunted animal is really good. Stowe is also really good and the support cast also has quality – whether it be Charles Dance or a young looking Del Toro.

Overall this may not break box office records but as a thriller it is twisty, contains plenty of good lines and has a great lead performance from Harris.
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Ah, film noir...
jadesliver3 May 2002
I've rented a few movies lately that have been alright but have failed to really catch my attention. This, however, was different. First of all, it's film noir, and you gotta love film noir. "Palmetto", "Body Heat", "Double Indemnity", "The Big Sleep". A good guy gets screwed by a beautiful temptress. Only, in "China Moon" it's different. I won't tell the ending or any details. But this was a very well executed film, very suspenseful. It doesn't follow any cliches and it always has new tricks and twists. Like a lot of film noir, this film features heat, wetness, the night, and cops. A lot of movies attempt film noir but don't always achieve its true spark. This film achieves it.
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Nice noir
blanche-223 July 2008
Ed Harris and Madeleine Stowe are underneath the temperamental "China Moon" in this 1994 film also starring Benicio del Toro. Harris and del Toro are Kyle Bodine and Lamar Dickey partner detectives with a Florida police department. One night at a bar, Kyle meets Rachel Munro (Stowe) and falls for her immediately. She's unhappily married and has photos of her husband (Charles Dance) with another woman. He doesn't know this at the time, and tracks her down. They start seeing one another. When her husband winds up dead, Kyle helps her to cover it up.

Though the plot is derivative, this is a classily done film with terrific acting, sensual love scenes between the two leads, an easy pace and beautiful photography. It reminded me a little of "Body Heat." The plot won't be hard to figure out, but be prepared for a couple of twists.

Ed Harris gives a forceful performance as Kyle, and del Toro is understated as Lamar. When the camera rests on Stowe, she's flawlessly beautiful, and what clothes! She gives an effective performance and has a nice chemistry with Harris.

"China Moon" is a small, meticulously done movie with loads of talent behind it. The story has been told many times, but somehow, if it's done well, it's always good for another encore.
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Cult Movies 41
Carlos Xavier9 November 1998
41. CHINA MOON (thriller, 1994) Homicide Det. Bodine (Ed Harris) is a veteran of the force who knows the ins and outs of every crime scene. He meets Rachel (Madeline Stowe), a beautiful woman whose sensual charms he falls under. They begin a steamy relationship. But then he finds out she's married to an abusive and powerful man. Sensing her infidelity he confronts her, and in an act of self-defense she kills him. She seeks Bodines' help. But will he bring her to justice or help the woman he loves?

Critique: Nifty little thriller borrows from the film-noir tradition. The solid screenplay by Roy Karlson introduces many elements of the genre. There's the honest cop who falls for the habitual 'femme-fetal', and the violent husband as 'middle-man' who ends up dead. But just when you think things are headed into conventional plotting, there's a twist.

Good direction by first-timer John Bailey elicits excellent acting all around. Ed Harris gives another powerhouse performance, Madeline Stowe plays the would-be 'femme fatale' role beautifully, as well as an array of solid supporting actors including Benicio del Toro (who reminded me of James Dean in his younger days). Great ending too.

QUOTE: Kyle: "You were just fV@*!ng me weren't you?! I was loving you and you were fV#!ing me!"
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A Visually Strong Thriller With A Twist
seymourblack-111 August 2010
Warning: Spoilers
"China Moon" is a steamy thriller that begins modestly with a number of typical film noir components which lead the audience into believing that they know what's going to follow. The reality, however, is that the plot departs from the conventional "Double Indemnity" template and ultimately leads to a twist which is both original and unexpected. There's a great deal to enjoy in this story of passion, treachery and murder including a superb performance by Ed Harris, some beautiful visual moments and even some great blues music by the excellent Anson Funderburgh and The Rockets.

Kyle Bodine (Ed Harris) is an ace detective who's extremely adept at examining murder scenes, deducing how the crime was committed and then identifying clues about the nature of the perpetrator. He's a decent man who's well respected by his colleagues but he's also lonely and sometimes arrogant. His powers of observation are normally exceptionally strong but he doesn't see what's coming when he meets and then gets seduced by the beautiful and mysterious Rachel Munro (Madeleine Stowe).

Rachel is married to a rich banker called Rupert (Charles Dance) who's a serial adulterer and wife beater. During a particularly heated confrontation with her husband, Rachel shoots and kills him in self defence and then persuades Kyle to assist her in disposing of the body and covering up the evidence of what has happened. Kyle carries out these tasks with his usual efficiency but problems arise when the body is discovered and his rookie partner Lamar Dickey (Benicio del Toro) discovers some clues which lead to the finger of suspicion being pointed at Kyle.

Ed Harris looks perfectly comfortable in his portrayal of Kyle's unassuming demeanour and is totally believable as he becomes passionate about Rachel and then increasingly desperate as he tries to prove his innocence. Madeleine Stowe shows the despondency which has overtaken Rachel as a consequence of suffering years of abuse in a loveless marriage but at other times it seems that her depression has made her unresponsive and difficult to read. This type of inscrutability is a classic trait of the femme fatale but Rachel doesn't fall unequivocally into that category as she is clearly a more sympathetic character than the conventional noir archetype.

Charles Dance is good at conveying just how violent and despicable Rupert is but his attempt at a southern accent is lamentable. Benicio del Toro gives an interesting performance as a detective who initially shows a number of significant deficiencies in his range of abilities but then later in the story surprisingly seems to acquire a much better grasp of the skills needed to investigate a homicide.

The visual style of this movie with its beautiful settings and wonderful shots of the lake at night contributes strongly to the overall mood and is a great credit to the work of cinematographer Willy Kurant.
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A good way to spend two hours
gastonm4 March 2001
China Moon was unexpectedly good. Whodunits usually aren't my favorites, but this one held my interest. The story has enough going for it to make for a solid mystery. Even though you know who killed whom, you're left second-guessing yourself as to motives and alliances until the very end.

There are enough twists and turns to keep you off-balance, but without the story confusion that often accompanies that kind of plot complexity. A surprise final scene provides a satisfying closure. The murder and resulting forensics are on the bloody side, but it's not out of place in the story line. Harris and Stowe turn in believable performances, making for an overall rating of 7 out of 10 stars.
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The proof is in the bullet!
jotix1006 January 2005
John Bailey probably knew what he was getting into, when he read Roy Carlson's screen play, otherwise it doesn't make much sense to go ahead with a film that has been done better before. That said, "China Moon" is not a total disappointment.

If you haven't seen the movie, please stop reading here.

There are a few things that indicate that Rachel wanted to use Kyle from the beginning. There are also hints that Lamar, Kyle's detective partner, is into something. How could a good detective like Kyle fall prey to the exchange of the the bullet that is extracted from Rupert Monro's body? The filmmakers take a chance in presenting a half baked pie to the viewers, many of whom are into mysteries, and think the plot will be taken at face value, when in reality, our minds are going in different directions. The fans of this genre solve the puzzle before the movie's conclusion.

That said, the movie is easy to watch. Ed Harris, makes a credible Kyle. This actor is one of the best working in movies today, and even if it's not a good picture, Mr. Harris can be counted to give an excellent performance. His detective offers a good character study of a professional man that makes a fatal judgment when he gets involved with Rachel.

Madeleine Stowe is a beautiful woman. In this movie she plays Rachel with conviction; her scenes with Ed Harris shows clearly she can hold her own against anyone. Benicio Del Toro's Lamar, as Lamar, offers an interesting performance, something we expect from him as a matter of course. Charles Dance, as the rich husband who likes to fool around, is only seen too short.

This is a movie to watch when the weather is bad outside. It will please anyone who doesn't expect too much.
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Suspenseful Thriller
mh_yan17 August 2002
Happened to catch this thriller on cable yesterday night. I am not a fan of Ed Harris but I can say that he is a good actor putting up a decent performance in this show.

It also goes to show that you do not necessary need to have awesome special effects, elaborate sets or costumes to make a movie captivating. Just a good story plot (keeping in mind that the audience are not morons or idiots) and a few good actors/actress is just enough to keep people glued to their seats.

It is really rare to find such movies lately. Really hope to see such movies that will keep people thinking what will come next, as the saying goes, its the story that counts and not blow-your-mind-but-forgot-about-it special effects or actors/actress or is that cardboards walking down the aisle with pretty clothes trying to act etc, etc.

Just intelligent story telling which people will still talked about it when they leave the threaters.
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Body Moon and China Heat
pnay75-125 February 2003
Warning: Spoilers
Several comments on John Bailey's 'China Moon ' ( Ed Harris, Madeleine Stowe, Charles Dance, Benicio del Toro ) make a reference to Lawrence Kasdan's 'Body Heat ' ( William Hurt, Kathleen Turner, Richard Crenna ). ******SPOILERS AHEAD As a matter of fact, both movies depict a woman planning the murder of her husband, and managing to set up her lover as the scapegoat; but where William Hurt is a shady attorney willingly murdering the villainous but rich Richard Crenna, Ed Harris is the upright cop, agreeing against his better judgement to become an accomplice after the murder of the even more villainous but rich too Charles Dance. And the similarity ends there: the Kasdan film is a masterpiece, where " China Moon " has not the halting sultriness of the 'Body Heat ' atmosphere, nor its wonderful photography and haunting musical score, and has indeed for sole asset its very good ( but not better than 'Body Heat's ) cast.

'China Moon's main defect is its full-of-holes plot: with the photos of her philandering husband taken by del Toro, and the testimony of two cops against Dance for attacking his wife, Stowe could have got a very very juicy divorce.. O.K. she wants all the money. But setting-up Ed Harris as the fall guy is an unusually tricky business : among others, it demands first that del Toro steals from Harris his .38 police gun and replace it by an other .38; it requires later that del Toro has in hand the 9mm murder bullet before Ed Harris does, and exchange it UNNOTICED against a .38 one fired previously from the Harris gun and sand -ingrained ( ! ), which cannot but rouse Harris's suspicion ( and he is a very good cop ); Harris could also have agreed to come clean when so offered. The plot does not explain that anonymous phones calls attract attention on Harris as the 'guilty' person because the corpse must be found in order that Stowe gets her money. And at the very end,when Harris exposes del Toro, the police is called by a witness and arrives ten seconds later ( !! ), at the very time when Ed Harris goes out, a gun in hand, and is killed without warning shots.***** but if you do not look too closely at such errors and holes, you can enjoy the acting of the four above-mentioned players,... and Madeleine Stowe's extraordinary beauty.
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They say people do strange things underneath a China Moon
tbills24 July 2013
Warning: Spoilers
China Moon is a sleeker noir with confidence. Its elements of noir are not forced upon you in the forefront making it the most optimal way to execute noirs whereas the technique is not stealing away from the show. The relationship between Detective Kyle Bodine and Rachel Munro is the main focus of the movie. In China Moon, Detective Bodine has his life in relative order until he's caught up in a steamy love affair with the provocative Rachel Munro which soon takes a turn for the worse when one night Rachel shoots and kills her violent husband. Kyle helps Rachel hide the body assisting her cover up the crime. They wish to get away with it but Bodine's partner, Lamar Dickey, is more clever than one might suspect and he's closing in on the case. Very strong actors Madeleine Stowe and Ed Harris make this movie with very strong performances. Ed Harris is all-around great as Kyle Bodine. Harris is about one of the fifteen best male actors of all-time which is good enough for second best in this film. Madeleine Stowe is infinitely desirable as Munro. Stowe communicates effectively poignant emotions acting so effortlessly, and smooth. Madeleine's definitely one of my most favorite actresses. She's to die for. Benicio Del Toro is Dickey and unassuming as a good cop just doing his job. Del Toro plays third wheel in China Moon with just as an extraordinarily acting ability as Stowe and Harris. Harris and Stowe share great chemistry, although they do not appear compatible, more a forbidden passion attraction which is more suitably appropriate for the film. China Moon is a seductive suspense, romantic thriller. It's not an action movie. The story unravels terrifically. China Moon is an easy viewing, easily attachable. I recommend getting lost in China Moon for more than an hour, an hour and thirty nine minutes if you've got the time.
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Moderately intelligent, more like "Columbo" than "Body Heat."
TxMike25 June 2002
Warning: Spoilers
Ever wonder how much "marketing" goes into choosing the name of a film? Many make sense, in regard to the storyline. Recent examples -- "The Majestic", "Life As A House", "Monsters Ball." But the title of this film came from a comment made at night, during a full moon, "My mama called that a China Moon, because it looks like a big china plate." Catching title, but has absolutely nothing to do with the story.

SPOILERS -- Ed Harris is a by-the-book detective, a homicide investigator. Early on we know he will be sucked into a plot by Madeline Stowe to get rid of her husband (we learn near the end she stands to gain $12million), so we spend most of the film trying to figure out her tricks. We see early that her husband is having an affair. We finally find out that Harris's sidekick, played by Benicio DelToro, is in on the plot. He switches guns, fires bullets into the sand to get slugs, plants Harris' bullets to make him look guilty.

There are a few inventive items. After Stowe shoots her husband in self defense, and she asks Harris to help conceal the incident by getting rid of his body in a lake, he throws her 9mm gun onto the top of a big rig truck so it will end up some where distant and not be found. DelToro figures out which lake the body is in by noting the odometer reading and finding a lake half that distance away. But the shoot-out at the end didn't seem to fit, but was I guess a convenient way to bring closure to the characters. However, since Stowe shoots DelToro as she watches Harris die, are we to suppose she was sent to jail for a long time? Probably not, she could afford a good lawyer and probably get probation based on mental anguish.

Not a waste of time, but Ed Harris must do some incredibly stupid things in the name of "love" to get this movie to come to its intended conclusion. "China Moon" will not go down in movie history as one of the better films.
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Clever, if familiar.
gridoon8 May 2001
Warning: Spoilers
All the others have already mentioned "Body Heat" as one of the key influences on the makers of this film, so I'd like to point out that the story line also bears a strong resemblance to "No Way Out": the man who is supposed to be investigating a case also has to hide the fact that he is the mystery figure everybody is looking for! The story is smartly written and well-planned, and when you watch this for the first time, you'll be genuinely surprised by some of the plot developments. The film is, unfortunately, too derivative and familiar to be outstanding, but it IS boosted by some great performances; watch for a young Benicio Del Toro, already showing a unique screen presence. (**)
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Stowe's talent wasted
niohc7 March 2006
Caught this on late night TV recently, and only watched because I admired Stowe's work in "Playing by Hearts." The constant use of lighting to make everyone's eyes look luminescent, apparently intended to add to the film noir mood, just made you wonder if there was some kind of "aliens are among us" subplot coming up, and disguised Stowe so thoroughly that she was virtually unrecognizable through whole sections of the film. Others have commented on the plot holes, and there are many, not the least of which occur in the climactic scene, where some fine work by Stowe is ruined by the extreme unlikelihood that things could have gone down that way.
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Derivative but enjoyable thriller
lorenellroy27 December 2001
There are elements of Body Heat and No Way Out in this tale of"l'amour fou".Florida cop ,played by the ever reliable Ed Harris,is skilled at his job and dismissive of criminals who he feels usually foul up somewhere along the line He crosses paths with femme fatale Rachel(Madelaine Stowe) ,married to the abusive and philandering Rupert Munro(Charles Dance)and a relationship develops He finds himself drawn into covering up when she kills her husband but he soon becomes the prime suspect in the case.There is a twist ending I openly acknowledge I did not see coming

On the plus side are a clutch of strong performances,although Dance is quite dreadful,with an American accent that strays all over the place and goes missing altogether at times.I still shudder at the memory of his sheer woodenness as "Coriolanus "at Stratford some while back,and he should not be allowed within a country mile of a movie camera ever again.Harris subtly conveys the gradual coming apart of a cool,and proficient pro when in thrall to lust,and Stowe is never less than compelling even when as here the dialogue is a little cliche ridden.Del Toro shows why he has since gone on to better things The movie sat on the shelf a while and I guess was disinterred following Stowe's higher profile after The Last of the Mohicans and Blink I am glad they revived it since it is watchable and intriguing but Dance and a slight flatness in direction by John Bailey,whose work as cinematographer I admire plus the egregious Mr Dance see it marked down a tad in my estimation
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Not too bad....
pyenme6 September 2008
A nice little thriller with a twist. Charles Dance wasted again, this time with the most ridiculous Southern accent. I like Ed Harris in just about anything, so he got me through this one. Stowe is good; I have also liked her in other movies where you have to pay attention to the dialog. I have lately discovered that del Toro has been around much longer than I realized - it is nice to see his early work as an indication of the presence he has on-screen. The comparisons to "Body Heat" are understandable - but I think this one stands on its own as one way to spend an evening with a movie that you actually watch to see what happens.
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Watched a Really good movie spoiled by a silly ending.
inyathi539 May 2015
I watched this film today. Really liked it except in the last nine minutes where the whole effort unravels and becomes saccharine, syrupy and quite frankly not noir! When Rachel sees Bodine being shot she cries out, runs out and then shoots Lamarre. That scene simply reduced the film to the ranks of the ordinary when it could so easily have been great. It spoiled the noir effect. If that last scene was to be true to her character, she would not have cared. That scene to my mind spoiled the whole picture. If it were me, I would have her smile quietly, to herself, and then turn quickly and slip out of scene to enjoy her millions with whomsoever she wanted to. That last scene was not at all good, right, and should have been left on the cutting floor.

Spoiled what was a good good movie!

Body Heat did it right.
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Mostly Predicable, yet still fun neo-noir
Mikel35 June 2015
Warning: Spoilers
This is a mostly predictable neo-noir film worth seeing for the fine acting. There's at least one surprise twist in the story to spice it up. I have some issues with the Ed Harris character making some rather dumb moves. I wanted to yell at the screen. I suppose that was needed or they'd have no movie, as my wife pointed out. And besides stupid moves are often the case in films where a femme fatale has some poor guy blinded by love and lust. Often an otherwise intelligent law abiding man throws it all away for the love of an attractive woman in trouble. The movie was visually impressive at times and the ending will stick with you. I rate it 6 out of 10 stars.
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Good performances by Ed Harris and Madeleine Stowe make 'China Moon' a good cinema experience !!!!
FilmCriticLalitRao6 April 2015
China Moon had a limited run when it was released in 1994.It was resurrected when television channels started to show it on regular basis in 1995.The success of this film proves that television can always be considered as a viable alternative to cinema for certain films.This gave a new lease of life to this film about an experienced cop who is destroyed due to overconfidence in trusting a rich girl friend and a junior colleague at office.There are plenty of good moments in this film which can interest viewers.It is with great interest viewers can watch how actor Benicio Del Toro's character is developed.He gets trained by working under a nice boss but his outsmarting his boss is a complete shock to viewers.Ed Harris is cool in his role as a cop who doesn't know much about imminent dangers when he is part of a romantic relationship with a rich woman.Actors Charles Dance and Madeleine Stowe provide good support to the story as the couple whose marriage has crumbled due to differences of ideas.
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It makes him feel alive to see someone dead
sol12184 July 2009
Warning: Spoilers
**SPOILERS** Going to the JJ Lounge to let off some steam after a hard day's work at his job Tampa police detective Kyle Bodine, Ed Harris, notices this sexy woman sitting at the bar by herself and decides to make his move before-knowing that she wound't be alone for too long-someone else does. The woman turns out to be Rachel Munro, Madeleine Stowe, wife of the president of the Munro Bank Rupert, Charles Dance.

Kyle a Little too drunk for his own good ends up-against his better judgment- getting hooked by Rachel's looks and, even though he knows that she's married, starts up an extramarital affair with her. It's not long after that Rachel's tells the love-sick Kyle that her marriage with Rupert is on the rocks with her wanting to get out of it but can't. Rupert has all the dough, 12 million smackers, and she wont get a penny of it if he divorces her. As for Rupert he's having a little action on the side with his girlfriend Adele, Patricia Healy,which in fact his wife not only knows about but has very incriminating photos of Rupert & Adele, with their clothes off and in hot and heavy action, that she can use to blackmail him.

With all this evidence of infidelity on Rupert's part it seemed to make no sense to me why Rachel would try to hook in the innocent Kyle in a plan to off her husband in the first place. It's later when we find out who's really behind this whole dirty rotten scheme it becomes very apparent that the very naive and innocent Kyle who was just looking for a good time-that fateful evening at JJ's Lounge-and nothing else was set up right from the start before he ever laid eyes on Rachel.

Kyle despite his partners homicide detective Lamar Dickey, Benicio Del Toro, warnings gets deeply involved with Rachel's troubles with Rupert beyond his professionalism as a policeman. Kyle gets involved in a murder that was secretly staged and cold-bloodily executed to not only do in Rupert but end up framing him in having committed it! In not just the murder itself but the blotched, with all the evidence of the crime pointing to himself, cover-up that was to followed it!

***SPOILERS*** With the noose tightly closing around Kyle's neck he soon comes to realize that the only way out for him is to come clean in admitting-to his immediate boss on the police force- what a sucker he was in falling for Rachel's trap that has him now the prime suspect in her husband's murder. It's then by studying the candid photographs of the late Rupert and Adeles secret affair that Kyle realizes just who besides Rachel was involved in Rupert's murder! Still with him now an accessory after the fact, in covering up the crime, Kyle's life is in shambles with even Rachel, if she decides to confess to the crime, not being able to save him.
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Underrated film
concraig19 December 2000
Although I'm a film buff I had never heard of this film, but found it surprisingly good. The plot isn't particularly startling but there are some neat twists. Above all, there is a terrific performance from Ed Harris as Kyle. You can see from the way the other cops react to him just how good he is at his job, and how much they respect him, and his fall from grace is heart-rending. By the end of the film, he looks about ten years older than he did at the beginning. His romance with Rachel is totally convincing - just the way he looks at her says it all. All in all, an interesting film which didn't deserve to sink without trace.
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China Moon invented the 1990's in the realm of Film Noir.
Jeremy Shingles20 March 2012
Film Noir strikes again! This film is a great example of the classic Film Noir plot: Murder and conspiracy to defraud an insurance company. Not unlike the previous films Body Heat (Deluxe Edition) (1981) and The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946 and 1981) or even Double Indemnity(1944), China Moon never ceases to surprise us with plot twists. The difference is that Ed Harris is a murder detective but doesn't know what he's up against. He's put in the position to cover up a murder that he didn't commit but would ultimately implicate him. But the killer isn't telling him everything...

Stowe is a great femme Fatale in this early 90's film starring Benicio Del Toro and Wayne Shorter. In a city where the majority of city blocks are occupied by industrial sectors of DeDonde Inc., conspiracies are frequently started for various reasons. In a town where cops help criminals and criminals help cops, Ed Harris is up against a web of deceit and confusion. He's the best man for the job, but is the "job" designed to frame him for MURDER? Madeline Stowe isn't telling him everything, and his detective partner Del Toro may have some cards up his sleeve as well.

Shorter is a local bar owner who sees it all, trying to help Harris before it's too late without letting Del Toro know the score, not to mention Stowe. With the help of a local inventor-gone-mad, Shorter is given a device that will help Ed Harris freeze time and therefore understand why all evidence points to him as the killer. (The device was intended for DeDonde Inc.) But Shorter is also double-crossed when MICHAELmATICIAN uses the device against him at the bar (in an effort to win a game of pool). Will Harris beat the rap? Will Shorter prove that it was Stowe? China Moon is real, as is the Michrotron. MICHAELmATICIAN states that we must learn to see the Michrotron at once. China Moon is also recommended.

2.342 (Jeremy Shingles)
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Eye for an Eye
Dusan Petrovic8 December 2017
I just love Madeleine Stowe ( Cora in Last of the Mohicans ). In this movie she is the Irish blind violin player from NY, who has been suddenly attacked by serial killer. Ed Harris is smooth Cop, trying to protect her and bring to justice the violator. But, the problem is that she's blind. in the end the justice is served. I don't believe in law, but the order. Twisted killers don't deserve to be in jails. All they deserve is six feet under. I was really happy when i've watched this movie until it's very end. Love between man and the woman is stronger than life as itself.
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The porcelain prince and princess.
Spikeopath22 October 2017
China Moon is directed by John Bailey and written by Roy Carlson. It stars Ed Harris, Madeleine Stowe, Benicio del Toro, Charles Dance and Patricia Healy. Music is by George Fenton and cinematography by Willy Kurant.

To be kind since China Moon is a very good film in its own right, that is for lovers of film noir and its off shoot neo-noir, it's a film where its only crime is not being as great as previous instalments of noirs classic era and neo. Story treads deliciously familiar ground, where Harris' intrepid cop falls deep for Stowe's sultry babe and before he can say " I would do anything for you", he's in it up to his neck.

In true noir fashion there's a twisty road to be navigated, nothing is as it at first seems, with hidden agendas, shifty shenanigans and emotional turmoil all playing a hand. The police procedural aspect intrigues greatly, with the devilish kicker of Harris investigating himself, while the intricacies of crime investigation - such as bullet science - is not given short shrift.

As a mood piece it scores high, the sweaty Florida settings ripe for Bailey (a cinematographer by trade) to mix a bit of poetic ambiance with misty shimmers, rainy bleakness and colour coded criminality that's not detrimental to true noir essence. Perfs are from the higher end of the scale, and the makers add enough original touches of their own so as to not let this become a pointless retread.

Closing superbly with a double whammy finale, China Moon is one that film noir lovers should sample. 7/10
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Madeleine's face
chaos-rampant17 May 2016
By no means something we haven't seen before, in olden Hollywood times this would have been the kind of studio quickie that fills a double program and starring a Victor Mature or Richard Widmark, here Ed Harris and a young Del Toro.

It's film noir, the most standard story in the repertoire; well meaning joe smitten by beautiful woman he chances to meet in a bar, someone's unhappy wife and pleads to him. We move through the customary points fairly quickly, we quickly establish them as in love, the husband as abusive cheat, and you don't even need me to tell you there's going to be a plot that backfires the day after. Ideally I would rather have this in a more spacious way, it's a bit constricted by the need to go through set motions.

Interesting is that we're not meant to know if she manipulated him that night or if there's another author in control of the narrative. We have only the enigmatic shot of her leaving the hotel and another woman going up to her room (to assume her place in the narrative).

The question is not just who done it here or will he get the rap. It's a question of if love that seemed so eager in her eyes was feigned after all. It's all the more devastating as we switch to his pov, that he wasn't just a dope tricked by sex, he was holding out for someone who was the promise of a life together.

It makes a real difference for me that we have these two people. In stuff like Romeo is Bleeding or Last Seduction, noir is turned into garish occasion, and I believe noir is enhanced all the more when we're able to see people who aren't cutouts truly struggle with how the world presents itself to them.

Harris is great in anchoring a fundamentally alert person who allows himself to stray for love. But it's the lovely Madeleine Stow who makes it, that we have at the center someone with a face as open as hers clouded by all these momentary flickers. She manages to anchor angst about her marriage, truthfulness in the love, from a soft distance that belies the inclination to reduce her to what we expect from familiarity with this type of story. It simply wouldn't be the same without her.

Look for example for the airport scene where she goes to pick up her husband, her steely-eyed look as she realizes the betrayal in plain sight might be a femme fatale's scheming of what we assume she is, or simply a woman's determination to end the charade. It's a more elusive view of noir machinations.

So I like that we have these two characters as we do, the wraparound into plot and eventual unmaskings less so.

Noir Meter: 3/4 | Neo-noir or post noir? Neo
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