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Ultra-moody cop fiction.
CuriosityKilledShawn24 February 2007
I saw this film on crappy pan and scan VHS when I was about 12 and I didn't really understand it and I wasn't really up on Ridley Scott's work. As a result, the impact of the film was somewhat lost on me. I was expecting an action film instead of a character drama with lots of police procedure. But now, older and wiser and with a brand new Blu Ray of the movie, I am finally able to appreciate how clever the film is.

The story unfortunately IS riddled with 80s Cop Movie clichés and goes through quite a lot of familiar motions. But if you see past that you'll appreciate the immense atmosphere and mood that Ridley Scott piles on. Simply put, Michael Douglas is Nick Conklin, a bad cop (pretty much the exact same character in Basic Instinct) who drag races on his superbike to pay alimony and pinches drug money instead of turning it in for evidence. Enjoying lunch with partner Charlie (Andy Garcia) in a steakhouse in New York's meat-packing district, they just happen to witness a Yakuza execution by wanted Japanese criminal Sato (Yusaku Matsuda, who was dying of cancer during filming and didn't tell anyone). After a quick punch-up and shoot-out they find themselves chaperoning Sato back to Osaka. But when they arrive there he manages to escape, leaving them embarrassed with lots of questions to answer.

Nick and Charlie find themselves in a very foreign and intolerant world and recapturing Sato proves to be difficult in many ways. Not the least of which is Japan's alienating culture (from an NYPD point of view) and rigid rules. Nonetheless, Nick is determined to catch Sato and restore his honor.

Like I said, the atmosphere of the film is overwhelming, which is really all the film needs. The clichés and stereotypes don't matter so much when you are involved this much. Hans Zimmer (his first film with Ridley Scott) provides a deeply emotional and very melodic score that'll be rattling around in your head for days. It's a shame it's never had a comprehensive CD release, as it's one of Zimmer's most impressive efforts.

You could call it a pretty 80s movies, but I still do feel that it holds up pretty well today. As one of Ridley Scott's more forgotten works, it's well worth checking out.
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Moving and thrilling action movie in cool visual style by great filmmaker Ridley Scott
ma-cortes1 December 2008
This solid thriller deals with a down-home cop (Michael Douglas) accused of corruption and his young partner (Andy Garcia). They witness a grisly killing by a Japonese murderer named Sato (Matsuda). They pursuit him and barely escape with their life , but get detain him . They're assigned to protect him but with painful results when the mobster is transported to Osaka . Then they are assigned to upright Inspector (Ken Takatura) and forced into action against Yakuza . Thus starts a clash of culture and a cobweb of intrigue which keep the spectators on the edge of their seats. An American Cop in Japan. Their country. Their laws. Their game. His rules. Osaka, Japan. A cop on the edge. A conspiracy on the rise. A killer on the loose. A cop on the edge, a conspiracy in the rise, a killer on the loose.

A Ridley Scott Film From The Producers of "Fatal Attraction", this is a superb, though predictable at times, blending of tough American police genre and Japanese gangsters by means of a mobster organization called Yakuza, a kind of oriental Mafia . Michael Douglas as down-and-out police and Ken Takatura as honorable Inspector are very fine . Good secondary actors , such as : Andy Garcia and Kate Capshaw , Spileberg's wife . Appearing uncredited John Spencer as the chief official and Luis Guzman . This first-rate suspenseful action pic benefits from intelligent screenplay and visual dynamics ; however, being overlong , two hours and some. This special buddy-movie is full of neon lights from Osaka in videoclip and advertisement spots style . The motion picture was glamorously directed by Ridley Scott as stylish as ever , similar his previous film (Someone to watch over me) and others (Blade runner , Duelists , Legend) in which the visual style is impressive .
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Ridley Scott's Most Underrated Film
dee.reid18 July 2001
Black Rain (1989) Starring Michael Douglas and Andy Garcia.

Running Time: 125 min. Rated R

Black Rain stars Michael Douglas(Wall Street, Falling Down) and Andy Garcia(The Untouchables, Desperate Measures) as Detectives Nick Conklin and Charlie Vincent. One day while eating lunch at a local diner, they witness a horrific mob killing. The twist is that the killer is a dangerous gangster named Sato(Yusaku Matsuda) from Japan who is also wanted their for various other crimes. Soon after, a chase ensues and Sato is captured. The police tell Nick and Charlie that he must be returned to Japan in order to be prosecuted. When they finally get to Japan, the police there are very generous in accepting Sato, only they're not the police, they're Sato's thugs in disguise. So Nick and Charlie must go after him, but because they are foreigners, no one will help them in their investigation and they must also accept a new partner (Ken Takakura).

Filmed on location in Tokyo, Japan, Ridley Scott, who also directed Alien(1979), Blade Runner(1982) and Gladiator(2000) sets up a really dark tone for, much as he does in most of his films.

It's also surprising how low the rating is for this movie. It's a classic like so many other of Scott's films.

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If you pull it-you better use it.
hitchcockthelegend31 December 2012
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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kosmasp21 June 2020
Americans - quite arrogant are they not? Well not all of course, but Michael Douglas or rather the character he's portraying is quite the prime example of an arrogant specimen. Some may argue that he has the qualities to be like that, but showing off some respect wouldn't hurt him or his colleagues.

Having said that, the culture clash is quite apparent. But also how both sides come together. The movie may be a bit too long for some, but saying Ridley Scott is not technically sound or doesn't know what he's doing, would be a mistake. And having a cast that delivers like that is quite something. Andy Garcia having the time of his life, playing the "sane" one. The karaoke sequence is quite mesmerizing ... which is important for other inevitable character building stuff.

Tension is holding from start to finish too. Which isn't an easy feet ... and the end sequence is quite nicely made. Predictable, but very well done indeed
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Black Rain
Scarecrow-8814 August 2011
Warning: Spoilers
"I usually get kissed before I get f**ked."

Veteran, highly commendated (but under investigation by the Internal Revenue Service for skimming drug money) NYC detective Michael Douglas collars a Yakuza gangster after he slits the throat of a Japanese mobster in an Italian restaurant and, along with partner Andy Garcia, must take the murderer back to Osaka, Japan thanks to the Japan Embassy's negotiations with the State Department. Once they arrive by plane to Osaka, Douglas and Garcia accidentally release their prisoner to his own Yakuza who are dressed as police and must remain in Japan, trying to track him down, but on his own turf this will not be easy. The cultural divide, the language barrier, two New York cops, forced to be classified civilians, without their guns, attempting to catch a killer, how in the world will they make it on foreign soil, out of their element?

The Yakuza killer is named Sato, quite a reputation as a dangerous individual waging war with an "Old time boss" named Sugai, with Douglas and Garcia embroiled in the middle as they continue to investigate even in Osaka, much to the chagrin of the Japanese police who want them to stay out of their business. Matsumoto ( a police detective who takes a lot of s**t from Douglas and doesn't deserve to be treated so harshly) is to work as a sort of console for Douglas and Garcia, while his superior Ohashi wants the Yank cops to "know their place".

80s urban noir, photographed by Jan De Bont (director of "Speed"), Osaka looks a lot like the futuristic city in Ridley Scott's other film, "Blade Runner"—what I found fascinating was how Osaka looks practically identical to the New York presented in "Black Rain", the traffic and congestion of heavily populated streets, steam and people, through De Bont's lens the city is dark even during the day. Douglas, wearing a trench coat and shades, looks a lot like Harrison Ford in "Blade Runner", has plenty of aggression, is hard-nosed and tough, and dogged in his pursuit of the man who got away. He's on the hunt and when he's motivated further by the murder of Garcia, there's nothing going to stop him from getting Sato, but he needs help navigating through a foreign terrain and that is where Mas comes into play. Sato is ambitious, wants to be a Yakuza boss, and have his own territory to run. Good part for Ken Takakura as Mas, an honorable cop who, to his credit, swallows a lot of Douglas' wise-ass remarks and tolerates his snarky attitude.

"Black Rain" has the fish-out-of-water theme along with the unlikely partnership angle: the film is as dead serious in tone as the lead character it follows. One thing about Douglas' character, he doesn't scare easy, the man has brass balls to actually confront a top Yakuza boss just so he can get closer to Sato, revenge firmly his only motivation it seems. Kate Capshaw is a high-price call girl in Osaka who provides Douglas with assistance, although she wishes he would just go home to America and leave her out of his feud with Sato (she's pretty smokin', too). Yûsaku Matsuda's Sato is a Yakuza hood right out of a Takashi Miike film, hotheaded, gutsy, sociopathic, and volatile, but not directionless as he seems to have a strategic plan for the more traditional Japanese mob bosses who want him out of the picture. Ultimately, what is desired by the Yakuza is engraving plates, one of which is in the possession of Sato, giving him an edge. Douglas is the wild card who stands in Sato's way. Garcia is a nice addition to the movie, a good cop who has the misfortune of being aligned with a partner who has stirred the nest, so to speak.
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A clash-of-cultures story.
barnabyrudge16 January 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Ridley Scott tends to give his films a very potent visual energy (see "Alien" and "Blade Runner" for further evidence), and here he takes a story that's been around since films began and dresses it up with his customary pictorial trimmings. Black Rain is another fish-out-of-water yarn in which a cop leaves his usual patch to track down a criminal in an unfamiliar place (see also Brannigan, French Connection II, No Mercy, Beverly Hills Cop, etc. for other versions of what is virtually the same story). The unoriginality of it all is a bit disappointing in all honesty, but Black Rain compensates for its over-familiarity by excelling in other areas.

Reckless New York cop Nick Conklin (Michael Douglas - looking more like his father Kirk than ever) and his partner Charlie Vincent (Andy Garcia) catch a Japanese gangster named Sato (Yasuka Matsuda) in their city. They are assigned to escort Sato back to Japan and hand him over to the Japanese police. However, almost immediately upon their arrival Sato escapes with the aid of some of his underworld friends, cunningly disguised as cops. Nick and Charlie are left with egg on their face, and endeavour to help the Japanese police to recapture their man. They join Japanese cop Masahiro (Ken Takakura), but police methods in Japan prove very different to what the Americans are accustomed to, and soon differences in approach boil over into frustration and violence.

Scott paints the night-time streets of Osaka as some kind of neon-lit, nightmarish maze. It becomes easy to relate to Nick and Charlie's bewilderment, and the viewer is left glad NOT to be sharing their experiences in the seedy, dangerous environment of this seemingly hostile city. There are some attempts to explore the different codes of honour by which the American and Japanese law enforcers measure their success. Also, the film establishes and sustains an edgy atmosphere (one scene, in which a key character is lured into a trap and beheaded, is especially tense).

Black Rain is a mix of effective and not-so-effective elements. The visuals, the atmosphere and the cultural alienation of the main character are very interesting, while the plotting and dialogue are disappointingly familiar. It's definitely a film worth catching, though it probably won't be remembered as fondly fifty years from now as some of the director's other films.
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Justice Falls Like Black Rain
arthurclay21 October 2003
Black Rain is hands down the best cop movie ever made! And I'm not saying that just because I like it. The cinematography and even the costumes were phenomenal and couldn't have been any better. Whoever did the casting for this movie earned their pay and then some. You couldn't have found better actors anywhere in the world. This is Michael Douglas at his best as New York Detective Nick Conklin, a macho yet streetwise cop after a coldblooded Yakuza killer all the way from the back alleys of Manhattan to the streets of Japan. Andy Garcia also gives a tour-de-force performance as Douglas's partner Charley Vincent and gives the movie some extra humor. There some great one liners here. I even like Kate Capshaw as Conklin's friend and love interest. Sato Kogei, the bad guy, is played brilliantly and almost effortlessly by Yusako Matsuda. Why haven't I ever seen this guy in anything else? Definitely one of my top ten best villains to grace the silver screen. Also look for Ken Takakura as Masahiro Matsamodo the stubborn and by the book police officer who befriends Douglas and Garcia and helps them chase Matsuda (Takakura was also in Mr. Baseball). Sato's rival Sugai Kenyo gives a stunningly great performance as well as the old time crime boss. Anyways if you haven't seen this film go out and get it like I did and make it part of your collection. Its great viewing, timeless and worth every penny. You won't regret it.
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A tour-de-force
jdkraus23 March 2011
I grew up watching many crime action flicks. Heat, The Untouchables, The Lethal Weapons, Die Hard, you name it. Black Rain is among them. There are so many levels about this film that I love: the story, the acting, the action sequences, the cinematography, the music—to name a few.

The story is simple; Nick Conklin (Michael Douglas) is a New York cop who is under investigation by Internal Affairs for corruption. When eating lunch, Nick and his partner (Andy Garcia) witness a bloody double homicide. They catch the perpetrator, but because he is Japanese and a wanted criminal in Japan, he must be taken back to his home country for trial. Reluctantly, Nick and his partner take him home but lose him in their custody. They then team up with the Japanese law enforcement to catch the criminal.

The film really explores the different styles of cop work from New York and Japan. Nick is a hardass who breaks the rules to get the job done. In contrast, the Japanese law enforcement does everything by the book, which provides no help, particularly with the Japanese cop (named Masa) Nick and his partner are assigned to (played wonderfully by Ken Takakura). Not only do the two cops buttheads, but when the film's plot takes a dark turn, Nick and Masa learn to tolerant their differences and work together. As a result, both also learn some important lessons from each other.

Critics have always said that Michael Douglas's best role is his 1988 Oscar winner for Gordon Gekko in Wall Street. I beg to differ. Douglas as Nick Conklin is his best performance. Why? Unlike Gordon, Nick goes on a journey that ultimately changes his character. There is a strong sense of ambivalence in his character as he teams up with the Japanese law enforcement to catch the Yakuza boss. As mentioned above, Nick is a jerk at first, but as the film progresses, he learns some important lessons in Japan and likewise with the Japanese cop. This is what I love about Douglas's performance. He should have received a nomination for this film.

Andy Garcia is perfect as Nick's partner; he supplies the comic relief—fulfilling as the good cop. Ken Yakuza as Masa is another great addition to the film. I wish I had seen him in more movies. The actor who plays the villain (I can't remember his name) is perfect. He carries both the demeanor and facial expressions of a natural-born psycho. It is sad that he was dying of bladder cancer when he was filming this movie—he would have had quite a career. Another aspect worth noting is Jan De Bont's cinematography. He captures a very Blade Runner look: dim lighting; smoke filled rooms and streets, and skyscraper vistas. His work is truly breathtaking—capturing Tokyo at the rise of its peak in the late 1980s. Hans Zimmer's score is flawless. He incorporates oriental instruments to accommodate the Japanese atmosphere, as well as includes synthesis, brooding drums, and electric guitar to reflect the two Americans in Japan—a West meets East feeling, I love it!

People do not talk much about this film, perhaps because it has fallen under as just another crime action flick. Yes, there is plenty of action, including a big shootout at the end, following a sweet motorcycle chase, and a brutal hand-to-hand fight between the good guy and bad guy. However, there are so many levels to this film that I feel most people overlook. It has action, but there is more than it. Black Rain has it all: drama, some light humor, brilliant performances, an interesting plot, and a tour-de-force in the filmmaking aspects, specifically in direction, cinematography, and music.

My rating (obvious) **** out of ****
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"But sometimes you have to go for it."
classicsoncall9 July 2019
Warning: Spoilers
If I take myself back three decades in time, this film was probably hot stuff for 1989. Today, not so much. There's not much originality here other than the American/Japanese cop team-up, and a lot of it comes off as not very credible. Like Nick Conklin (Michael Douglas) running amok as the Japanese Prefectural Police attempt to reign him in as he goes off on a personal salvage mission at first, and then a revenge quest following the murder of his partner (Andy Garcia). On the Japanese side, top shelf Oyabun, Sugai Kunio (Tomisaburô Wakayama) is at odds with an underling who used to be an ally, but now former henchman Sato (Yûsaku Matsuda) demands a piece of the action and a territory to call his own. It doesn't work this way for the Mafia, and predictably won't work like this for the Yakuza. You have to admit, Yakuza sounds a whole lot cooler than Mafia, but in mobster land, they rhyme pretty well.

Where it got really dumb at one point was when Nick was hot on the trail of Sato with Assistant Inspector Matsumoto Masahiro (Ken Takakura) backing him up, and when the bad guys are about to make a break for it, Nick yells "Hold it"! Really!!?? Like that was going to do the trick? I kind of let my expectations for the story dwindle from there, and with a few minor high spots yet to come, it all ended quite predictably. I'll give Sato some credit for cutting off his pinky to make amends with the Oyabuns, but it turned out he really didn't have to because he was laying in wait for the big double cross. In hindsight, he could have just whipped out his artillery right then and there instead of wasting a finger. Yet another dumb move, making it America, -1, and Japan, -1.

I probably should mention there was a full bore counterfeiting scam going on as a backdrop to the Yakuza festivities, which sets up a good cop/bad cop scenario that Nick Conklin uses to his advantage when he shows up Superintendent Ohashi (Shigeru Kôyama) with some phony bills he palms. Witnessed by Masahiro, the Japanese inspector bemoans the fact that Nick disgraced himself and his profession by stealing, along with Nick's admission that he took advantage back home when no one was looking. The finale suggests that Masahiro will turn into a dirty cop himself with Nick's going away present, which was kind of a disappointment for this viewer. I'd like to think that maybe Mas would treat the counterfeiting plates as souvenirs.
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great at its time
SnoopyStyle26 January 2016
NYPD detective Nick Conklin (Michael Douglas) is under internal affairs investigation. He and his partner Charlie Vincent (Andy Garcia) are monitoring the local mob when Yakuza members crash in. They arrest the Yakuza thug and transfer him back to Japan. They get tricked and the prisoner escape. They hunt for him with the help of local cop Masahiro (Ken Takakura) and American ex-pat Joyce (Kate Capshaw).

Director Ridley Scott injects this with great energy and intensity. Douglas plays up the fish-out-of-water angle. It's great to get the Japanese flavor no matter how hard it was for Scott. It did come at a time of high fascination with Japan before their financial crash and that added a lot to the intensity. The present Japan no longer holds the same fascination and that does diminish the movie. However it was great at its time.
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An under-rated gem of a movie
Tweekums6 May 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I recently watched this for the first time in many years and was surprised that it didn't seem that dated. The film is very atmospheric and neon lit, rain drenched Osaka feels totally alien and claustrophobic. With the exception of one scene none of the Japanese is subtitled so those viewers who don't speak the language feel the confusion and sense of isolation felt by our New York protagonists.

Michael Douglas plays New York cop Nick Conklin who is under investigation for the possible theft of some money seized in a drug raid, this isn't the story followed in the film but merely creates moral ambiguity with his character. He is partnered with Andy Garcia, a young detective. Early on they arrest a Japanese gangster they witness murdering other Yakuza members but much to their annoyance are told he is to be extradited to Japan rather than face trial in New York.

When they get to Osaka they are met on the plane by a group of local police and hand the prisoner over. Minutes later they learn that they had in fact handed him back to his own people dressed as police; not reading Japanese they had no idea that the paperwork wasn't real. The end up working with local cop Masahiro (played by Ken Takakura) who is less than impressed by Conklin's boorish behaviour.

What follows is a tale of strangers in a strange land searching for the man they lost while having no understanding of the language, culture or customs.

If you don't have this film already it would be a worthwhile addition to the DVD collection of anybody who likes exciting police thrillers, if like me you own it but haven't watched it many years then dust of the video and watch it again.
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lukem-5276014 April 2020
First off ive always loved this cracking cop thriller since owning it on video way back in the day & it's a film I've watched countless times over the years. I've always loved Cop films & it's a Genre itself with flicks like the Robocop films, Lethal Weapon films, Die Hard films, Beverley Hills Cop films, Bad Boys films, Dirty Harry films & many more great flicks in it's genre. But Ridley Scott's fantastic gritty Cop Thriller stands out as absolutely one of the best of the whole Genre. Here the legendary Hollywood movie star Michael Douglas, gives an incredible & intense performance as tough play-by-his-own-rules Detective Nick Conklin from the NYPD, it's a real rugged & gritty piece of acting from a grizzled legend who is a master of suspense Thriller films & who was top of his game already with massive hits like Fatal Attraction & Wall Street. This is definitely one of Mikes best roles & is definitely my favourite of character of his filmographie & my favourite "Douglas" movie, he's also helped out by the always great Andy Garcia (Things to do in denver when you're dead) as his partner Charlie, another solid performance from another great of Hollywood. Both actors work well together & their cop-partner relationship works perfectly. Douglas as Nick is more grizzled, angry & with a darker story & Garcia's Charlie is more of a fun-loving gentleman, a great duo. Now this movie first takes place in the very grimy & gritty New York City of the then 1980's & moves to the almost futuristic Neon soaked, dark & dangerous streets of Japan as our two tough cops hunt a killer.

Legendary director Ridley Scott (Blade Runner) directs the hell out of this Thriller with so much style & beautiful imagery & cinematography, it's an incredible piece of filmmaking that is unusual for a typical Cop Thriller flick. There's a massive level of care & detail put into this movie that it's scenes suck you into the beautiful setting & often feels almost Blade Runner in its stylish look & dark atmosphere feel. Black Rain is a cracking Cop film with an excellent cast & some fantastic action scenes & some unforgettable brutal moments like the decapitation scene!!! The dark, wet & murky underworld of Japan's criminal gangs is scary & merciless & Nick is on a quest of vengeance & redemption, it's a journey for Nick!!! If you love Cops films like i do, then you will definitely love Black Rain!!!
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Dirty Harry Goes to Japan
view_and_review15 February 2020
Warning: Spoilers
In this sloppy attempt at a cultural crossover you have an insufferable a-hole cop named Nick (Michael Douglas) who escorts a prisoner to Japan. He released the prisoner, Sato (Yusaku Matsuda), to a police imposter and now he's committed to catching him. In the meantime he goes through Japan like a bull in a China shop being a brash, arrogant, insulting, unbearable dick. I wouldn't care if he was the greatest cop on planet Earth, he didn't have sense enough to tone it down while in another country? He was behaving like he was still in New York where rude intolerable pricks are cherished.

I was tempted to shut it off several times before I finally did. I wanted to turn it off when his suddenly stupid partner, Charlie (Andy Garcia), walked right into an obvious trap that got him killed. I was tempted to turn it off when Mas (Ken Takakura) gave Nick a gun though he wasn't supposed to have one in Japan. I finally turned it off when the convenient American girl that spoke Japanese was Johnny on the spot to help Nick find another gangster he was looking for.

So, as far as I know, Nick could've had a change of heart and decided to be less of an American ass. Maybe Nick realized the error of his ways and left policing in Japan to the Japanese. I doubt it and I didn't care to find out.
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One of the Top Cop thrillers of the last century, supremely underrated.
Joyyrider13 January 2007
Micheal Douglas has always been, at least for me, one of the better actors to portray a cop on screen. Very believable, very real, he just has a natural feel for this type of role. I think its due to the fact he starred as one on TV in "The Streets of San Francisco". Everything blends in this cop thriller. It oozes style and panache. It also has an underlying emotional core that I think gets underrated by critics. Douglas as Nick Conklin has some fine moments playing off the characters played by Andy Garcia, Kate Capshaw and especially Ken Takakura. This movie combines excellent acting, gorgeous cinematography, great atmosphere, along with some solid action set pieces...and gets it right. Director Ridley Scott brings all his cinematic guns to bear and spins these elements into a definitive police action thriller. I loved this flick when I saw it in 1989 and I still do. It may not be as audacious as when it premiered, time has seen to that(ex.action scenes have really gone virtual reality)but it's still a respectable addition to your DVD library. And of that fact there is no gray area!
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Osaka Runner
UACW13 October 2005
Warning: Spoilers
It's been said this is the movie Ridley thought he was going to make when he was given Blade Runner. Whether there's truth in that hardly matters: the movies share a lot, especially in terms of the stark thick imagery.

Word has it the DVD rendition is terrible, which is a shame as this movie offers so much visually.

But Black Rain is more than an aesthetic visual experience: it's a morality play, and what the morale is supposed to be might be difficult to articulate, but it's there.

The supporting cast is excellent, as is Douglas, but especially impressive are the Japanese stars Ken Takakura and the legendary Yusaku Matsuda. Takakura, a star in his home country, is eminently sympathetic, and Matsuda's way of playing his role - with a touch of smart aleck snooty adolescence - is nothing short of brilliant.

This was Douglas's project; perhaps he had something in mind. It's interesting with respect to the title, what that title means, and the fact that a documentary on the subject (and with the same name in Japanese) came out the same year.

Matsuda succumbed to bladder cancer a month after the premiere. He'd known about it for a year but didn't think it fatal. He'd been on his way to making a new film with Sean Connery. Matsuda is a legend in his home country, and was so before his illness.

The movie is largely about the Douglas and Takakura characters, but as always when Hans Zimmer has a hand in production, the music really takes off. Zimmer is perhaps the most effective film composer today if not of all time. He's done wonders with movies that might otherwise have not come to people's attention. And this is another great score. The title song with lyrics by Will Jennings is a knock-out.

And let's not forget Lady Kate Capshaw.

This one is bloody and violent, and that might not be your cup of tea and it certainly isn't mine, but just like with Leon there is a kind of quiet subtle poetry that emerges, gore or not.

Three days after seeing it again and the music and scenes are still playing in my mind. It's that strong.

And it's a definite keeper.
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gavin69421 September 2015
Two New York City cops arrest a Yakuza member and must escort him when he is extradited to Japan.

I got this movie on accident. I was looking for "Black Rain", a 1989 Japanese film. Instead I got "Black Rain", a 1989 American film that happens to have Japan as a big part of the plot. Strange, and I am sure I am not the first one to make this mistake. But you really cannot complain when you get to check another Ridley Scott film off your list.

This is a rather strong film for Michael Douglas. Not quite as strong as "Falling Down", but it does have some of his most vulgar and tough dialogue. The line "I usually get kissed before..." has become a small part of the popular culture.
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Not brilliant plot but great visually
bob the moo8 November 2001
Nick Conklin (Douglas) and Charlie Vincent (Garcia) are US cops who get involved in a Yakuza killing and capture a dangerous murderer Sato (Yasuka Matsuda). When delivering him to authorities in Japan, Sato escapes and Conklin and Vincent are forced to team up with Masahiro Matsumoto (Ken Takakura) in order to hunt him down. The clash in cultures creates tension as the investigation continues.

On the surface this is a mismatched partner movie that thinks it's more than that because it addresses issues of honour between culture. It is more than a buddy cop movie and manages to be a tense thriller and look at the clash of East & West. I'm not a Douglas fan but he does play the darker characters quite well and is pretty good here. Garcia is good but is really only a plot device when you look at his character. Takakura is strong in his role as the cop trying to hold to the ways of honour of his bosses but torn by the action methods of the West and Douglas. It is him who has to carry much of the moral weight of the film. Matsuda carries off Sato well and makes him more that a gangster character.

The real star of this is Scott's direction. He makes his city-scapes a present day version of Blade Runner - Japan is darkly dangerous and lit in neon. The direction is very stylish but can sometimes take away from the quality of the product and make it seem all style and no substance. Hans Zimmer score is as haunting as ever and fits the mood perfectly.

The story is perhaps a tad hackneyed and is not anything that different. Some of the East/West clash stuff doesn't work but it is still interesting to see the characters change to take elements of the other's cultures. The style and action carries the film well - any insight into culture differences is a nice bonus, overall an unoriginal idea is turned into a good film by good actors and a good director.
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Good, but not that good.
ChrisC.24 August 1999
Black Rain is an absolutely gorgeous movie to look at. And for the most part it's highly entertaining and well acted - the guy playing Sato is brilliantly menacing. But occasionally, very occasionally, it descends into either complete predictability or downright cheesiness. A motorbike chase, well, that's a surprise! And that award ceremony right near the end - why? It's totally irrelevant, feel good factor nonsense - the sort of stuff you get with bog standard action movies. And this is not bog standard, and not really an action movie. Certainly underrated and deserving of a better audience than it has received, but ultimately let down by a few lapses in quality.
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Michael Douglas Put His Heart & Soul in this FILM !
whpratt12 May 2004
Greatly enjoyed the performance of Michael Douglas(Nick),"Traffic",2000, who was a cop that got deeply involved with the under world crime families of Japan and had some very close calls nearly being killed along with a fellow cop from Japan, Ken Takakura,(Masshiro), who acted as his partner unofficially and was kicked off the police force because of his friendship with Nick. Kate Capshaw(Joyce),"The Love Letter",'99, played a very sexy role and tried to help Nick stay alive and well, which was a very hard thing to accomplish with gangsters going after him on bikes. Andy Garcia (Charlie), gave a great supporting role as an American partner with Nick who ran into big problems that had Nick going crazy through the dark streets and even a fish market. There is plenty of action in this film and it will keep your eyes glued to the screen.
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Ridley Scott makes good use of American and Japanese actors in a film about international criminals !!!!
FilmCriticLalitRao26 May 2015
In year 1989, two different films titled 'Black Rain' were made to depict Japanese realities. The first film was directed by acclaimed Japanese director Shohei Imamura. His film discussed the consequences of Hiroshima bombing on Japanese people. The credit for making second 'Black Rain' goes to American filmmaker Ridley Scott whose film makes good use of both American as well as Japanese actors to portray lives of criminals whose influence goes beyond the national borders of two highly advanced countries Japan and USA. It is fun to watch how American cops Andy Garcia and Michael Douglas get some major morality lessons from their Japanese counterpart Takakura Ken. American film 'Black Rain' features a lot of cops who are determined to catch tough criminals but it does not portray itself as a buddy movie. At times, it appears as a tale of cultural differences as American as well as Japanese police use all their best policing methods to catch hoodlums who have wreaked havoc in both countries. Action scenes are this film's major highlight. However, they do nothing to weaken viewers' interest in appreciating the dramatic elements of this film. Lastly, if exploring Osaka city without leaving your house is on your mind then 'Black Rain' is the ideal film for you.
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Ogami Itto as a Yakuza Boss
Witchfinder-General-66628 February 2009
Quite frankly, my main reason to watch Ridley Scott's "Black Rain" was the fact that it features the great Tomisaburo Wakayama in one of his last roles, as a Yakuza Boss. Wakayama is best known for playing Ogami Itto in six "Lone Wolf and Cub" ("Kozure Okami") films, all of which are personal favorites of mine, from 1972 to 1974. Wakayama, who died in 1992 (the film is from 1989), is always a very convincing reason for me to watch a film. Otherwise I did not expect too much. I am not the biggest fan of Michael Douglas, but he was a good choice to the role of the burned-out cop with an anger issue he plays here. Andy Garcia is good as usual, and the film furthermore stars prolific Japanese character actor Ken Takakura, who very good as a Japanes cop. And everybody knows that Ridley "Alien" Scott is a more than capable director. The film is entertaining, and yet I cannot say I was satisfied with it. Douglas plays Nick Conklin, a scruffy American Cop who goes to Japan in order to bring a Yakuza assassin to justice. He is accompanied by his younger friend and fellow cop Charlie (Andy Garcia). The two did not expect to get caught in a war between Yakuza gangs however... That's all fine, and so is the action, but the film maintains to provide an aspect that I hate: "Black Rain" is simply so damn stereotypical that it hurts. The two American cops, Nick a rough-and-ready tough guy, Charlie a womanizing young fellow, are both really 'coool', whereas the Japanese characters are entirely stereotypical, duteous but pedantic and exaggeratedly submissive to bureaucratic rules. The constant stereotypes that are yelled at the viewer at every opportunity are really annoying and lessened my enjoyment of the film quite a bit. Otherwise, the story is decent enough (though by no means original) and the action entertains. Tomisaburo Wakayama, is, of course, great as always. My advice: In case you wanna watch films about the Yakuza, watch Japanese ones.
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A clever movie
BenAordure1 February 2011
I was searching a review from a Japanese reviewer and found one, very tough with the film. It made me react here.

First, I consider myself as neutral as nor American nor Japanese even if I know those two fascinating countries inhabitants a little. And I did not feel the same the Japanese reviewer did. In my sense the film does not mock Japan. It does not show Japan as 'inferior' but as different. And this is all the interest of this film whose purpose in my opinion is to show the opposite mentalities and culture. Both sides are presented. The bad and the good ones.

The Bad : Japoneses are showed as ridiculous with red tape and bureaucracy matters, with shy behaviors, weird violence (for occidental people). But Americans too. Those are presented as brutal stupid beasts, for example when Charlie Vincent run after a motorbike without understanding the trap is going into or when Nick Conklin does not manage to restrain himself from knocking everywhere. Or when Nick signs a stupid sheet of paper without distrust. The two Americans are also presented as arrogant as they don't even think that foreigners could speak English .. because they don't imagine it is even possible. Even the American/Japanese prostitute rejects their arrogance. Also American police is presented as corrupted and messy ... So no one wins here I guess.

The good : Japaneses are also presented as good. Cops are straight but cooperative and honor respectful, mainly instructed, efficient. Even if they lack of adaptiveness and are bad inspired to reject the American cops help. The mafia is well presented too. Franckly, they really are scary guys but gain respect with their honor code. Sato is impressive.

Here I agree with the Japanese reviewer : The Americans are glorified (music helps :). Nick manages on his own (yet with the help of Mas) to solve a difficult case in a country he obviously even doesn't know. This is clearly the weakness of the film.

Yet what I really appreciated was the oppositions between Mas and Nick. Wiseness and honor of Mas, for example when he feels insulted by Nicks thief behavior or when he learns from Nick. Humanity and pugnacity of Nick.

I also liked mafia's leader speech with Nick. Here we definitively can't say the film only runs for America, obviously.

One regret. We definitively see too little of Japan. Even if the film does much in presenting a country that we mainly bad know in occident, it could have done more. That said, I think this was not the purpose of the director who just wanted to focus on mindsets.

Another regret : the ridiculous sounds of the motorbikes especially in the beginning of the film and in the last scene.

The actors are all perfect. The soundtrack is really cool. Contrarily to the Japanese reviewer, I appreciated the way the director represents Japan, with subtlety, as Japan is all about. And USA with strength, as USA are all about too, sometimes too much :). If the oppositions between the two countries are exaggerated, it is in the purpose of showing them better and make understand, I guess. This is a 'must-be-watched' film for me. One of the best of Ridley Scott.
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too bad we've never gotten to hear Kate Capshaw speak more foreign languages onscreen
lee_eisenberg5 March 2022
I'm of two minds about Ridley Scott's Academy Award-nominated "Black Rain". On the one hand, it's got all the grittiness of Scott's earlier "Blade Runner" and presents a good look at the protagonist's culture shock upon arriving in Japan. On the other hand, the depiction of the Japanese is kind of unpleasant. Maybe that was my interpretation; Michael Douglas said in an interview that the Japanese liked the movie. Overall, I thought it was worth seeing. No shortage of intense scenes.

Seriously, it would've been interesting to see Kate Capshaw speak foreign languages in more of her roles.
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bevo-136781 April 2020
Great motorbike movie. I like the bit when he drags a sword on the ground and sparks fly up. Great soundtrack by Prince
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