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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The "Yakuza" are the Japanese mafia. This is one of first American and Hollywood feature films to feature them, others being Armed Response (1986), The Challenge (1982) and The Yakuza (1974). In Japanese cinema, there is an entire genre of "Yakuza Film" which are very popular with audiences. See more »
In the police station, Masahiro holds the telephone receiver in his left hand. In the next shot, in the background, he is holding it in his right hand. See more »
"Perhaps you should think less of yourself and more of your group, try to work like in Japanese. I grew up with your soldiers; you were wise then. Now - music and movies are all America is good for. We make the machines, we build the future, we won the peace.
"And if there was ONE of you guys who had an original idea, you'd be so tight that you couldn't even pull it out of your ass!"
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The end credits begin with a Japanese kanji, which can be translated as "complete" or "end" and is sometimes used at the end of Japanese films. See more »
OGI NO MATO (THE FOLDING FAN AS A TARGET)
Performed by Ensemble Nipponia
From the album "Japanese Traditional Vocal & Instrumental Music"
Produced by David Lewiston
Courtesy of Nonesuch Records
By Arrangement with Warner Special Products See more »
Black Rain is directed by Ridley Scott and written by Craig Bolotin and Warren Lewis. It stars Michael Douglas, Andy Garcia, Ken Takakura, Kate Capshaw, Yusaku Matsuda and Tomisaburo Wakayama. Music is by Hans Zimmer and cinematography by Jan de Bont.
After New York cops Nick Conklin (Douglas) and Charlie Vincent (Garcia) arrest a sword wielding psychopath named Sato Koji (Matsuda), they are tasked with escorting him back to Osaka in Japan. From here they are plunged into a war that is brewing in the Japanese underworld.
You see there's a war going on here and they don't take no prisoners.
Welcome to Blade Runner's younger brother, Black Rain, a Ridley Scott film I feel has never received the credit it deserves. Viewing from the outside it looked like one of those 1980s cop movies, one where the main cop is washed up and perched on the edge of oblivion, his partner his sanity and voice of reason. However, Scott (brought in late to direct when Paul Verhoeven bailed) wasn't interested in the normalities of the cop drama, he saw the potential for cross continent culture clash and the chance to bring his visual skills to the fore.
Yep, it's the big neon glitter of Osaka and the grime and dime of New York that is the big draw here, but characterisations are still rich for the drama, with Scott taking plenty of time to set up the lead protagonist. We know Conklin's troubles, we know how tight his friendship is with Charlie, and by the time things go grim and dour in Osaka we understand just why Conklin plunges head first into a do or die situation.
Visually Scott infuses the picture with cramped locales, steamy streets, industrial wastelands and blood red suns, while his lead character is an unshaven trench coat wearer who still manages to look devilishly cool. It's perhaps the drawing of Osaka that is the most impressive, for it's an alien creation to us as much as it obviously is to Conklin, the ignorance gap between America and Japan still wide apart in 1989.
Complaints? At just over two hours in running time the film does have periods of flatness, where some better editing wouldn't have gone amiss; though Scott's original cut was considerably longer, begging the question on if more could have been done to enhance the seething culture clash between cops Conklin and Matsumoto (Takakura)?
Another problem is that Capshaw's character is under written, a crime when it's the sole female part of note in a two hour movie. Did more of the character hit the cutting room floor? Likely, because now it's a token eye candy offering, which is a shame since what little we do get hints at a savvy performance from Capshaw.
Ridley Scott lifts Black Rain from merely being a fish out of water thriller to something more layered. True to say there is more style than substance (what style though), but there is still very much interesting juxtapositioning of countries and human interactions of credible worth as well. 8/10
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