Black Rain (1989) Poster


User Reviews

Review this title
123 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
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.
67 out of 75 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A clash-of-cultures story.
barnabyrudge16 January 2005
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.
41 out of 53 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Moving and thrilling action movie with cool visual style by Ridley Scott
ma-cortes1 December 2008
This solid thriller deals about 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 Yazuka. Thus starts a clash of culture and a cobweb of intrigue which keep the spectators on the edge of their seats.

This is a superb, though predictable at times, blending of tough American police genre and Japanese gangsters by means an organization called Yazuka, a kind of oriental Mafia .Michael Douglas as down-and-out police and Ken Takatura are honorable Inspector are very fine . Good secondaries actors such as Andy Garcia and Kate Capshaw, Spileberg's wife. Appear uncredited John Spencer as the chief official and Luis Guzman. This first rate suspenseful action pic benefits from intelligent screenplay and visual dynamics, however is overlong, two hours and some. This special buddy-movie is full of neon lights from Osaka with a videoclip and advertisement spots style . The motion picture is glamorously directed by Ridley Scott as stylish as ever , similarly his previous film(Someone to watch over me) and others(Blade runner,Duelists , Legend) in which his visual style is impressive.
22 out of 28 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
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!
51 out of 71 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
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.
65 out of 94 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
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.
41 out of 57 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
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.

40 out of 57 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
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 ****
19 out of 27 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
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.
14 out of 20 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
If you pull it-you better use it.
Spikeopath31 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
7 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Uneven and clichéd
ctomvelu-16 December 2008
I have never been able to warm up to BLACK RAIN, a cliché-ridden 80s cop thriller. Michael Douglas, who by 1989 was a big Hollywood star with a mullet, plays a crooked cop who escorts a Yakuza home to Japan after witnessing the guy kill two people. His partner Andy Garcia is along for the ride. As soon as they touch down in Tokyo, they lose the killer and the chase is on. Soon enough, they are teamed up with a by-the-book Japanese detective, played by the doleful Ken Takakura. The problem with the movie is, it is shot MTV-style and we are all over the place with this one, rarely sitting still long enough to catch our collective breath. You'd think Tony, not Ridley, shot this one. Douglas is fine and basically carries the movie, and Garcia is believable as a naive, fresh-faced youngster who lacks Douglas' street smarts. The bad guys are stock characters and just not that interesting. In the end, too much chasing around without much of a payoff will have worn most viewers out long before the final scene.
19 out of 34 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
This is typical Hollywood claptrap
pocaree28 June 2000
Black Rain is your typical Hollywood movie...shallow. This movie contains so many stereotypes about Japan and the Japanese people it is almost insulting. The audience is led to believe that an American cop with a chip on his shoulder is able to infiltrate the Yakuza, Police system less than 24 hours. Haven't we seen enough 'America saves the world' type movies? Perhaps the only good thing about this movie is that for a change they actually have Japanese actors playing Japanese people and not an Asian looking face. Save your time and watch Sidney Polack's 'The Yakuza' which at least digs deeper into the Japanese mindset.
23 out of 43 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Douglas and Garcia go to Tokyo to take on mob
goya-42 September 2000
Douglas, as a tough american detective and his partner played superbly by Andy Garcia chase down a murder suspect on his home turf- Tokyo An excellent movie that explores the culture shock felt by Douglas on his chase and the bureaucracy that tries to stop him..this violent tension filled film is not for the young ones but provides loads of action from the director of Blade Runner.. on a scale of one to ten... a 7
13 out of 22 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
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.
5 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Average cop thriller.
poolandrews3 November 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Black Rain starts in New York where cynical cop Nick (Michael Douglas) is under investigation by internal affairs after $10,000 of seized drugs money goes missing. While out eating lunch with his partner Charlie (Andy Garcia) a mob hit takes place as Japanese Yakuza gangster Sato (Yusaku Matsuda) slits the throat of a rival boss, Nick & Charlie give chase & Sato is arrested after a fight. Nick is told by his boss that the Japanese authorities want Sato deported to stand trial in his home country & that Nick & Charlie are to escort Sato back & hand him over to the Japanese police, however Nick releases Sato to his men who are dressed up as police & he goes free. Nick is determined to get Sato back while Sato himself is determined to have his revenge on Nick, together with glamorous American bar owner Joyce (Kate Chapshaw) & Japanese cop Masahiro (Ken Takakura) Nick finds himself in the middle of a gang war between Yakuza over counterfeit money...

Directed by Ridley Scott I finally managed to see Black Rain in a very nice looking 2:35:1 widescreen ratio version that a cable TV channel played over here at something like 2 O'clock in the morning (thank God for recordable set top boxes...) after meaning to catch up with it ever since it came out twenty years ago & while the wait wasn't exactly worth it Black Rain isn't a bad thriller with a bit of action thrown in there to appeal to the mainstream & look good in the trailer. The script for Black Rain is actually pretty clichéd & amounts to nothing more than a revenge thriller as some hard nosed cop sets out to take down some bad guy after things get personal, the partner is killed, there are fights, near misses & I suppose the thing that Black Rain has going for it to set it apart from the crowd is the setting where a lot of it takes place in Japan as Nick is teamed up with a Japanese cop & the whole clichéd 'fish out of water' scenario takes place. Just think Rush Hour 2 (2001) without as much action or personality or humour & your almost there. Black Rain takes itself extremely seriously which is at odds with action films of the period, if Black Rain had been a Stallone or Schwarzenegger film there would most likely have been one-liners all over the place & a lot more action. Despite it's overlong two hour duration not that much actually happens in Black Rain, it's a fairly basic revenge thriller with a simple plot although exposition scenes can drag on & there are loads of long establishing shots which get boring after a while & slow things down even more. There's the expected attempts to highlight the differences in culture & the way they are between America & Japan (honour, loyalty, etc) but it doesn't amount to much other than a token gesture to a country that provides a pretty backdrop.

It is said that Howard Atherton was cinematographer on the majority of Black Rain but resigned & Jan de Bont (who gets final credit) was brought in & he finished it & one thing that Black Rain definitely does have going for it is some very nice cinematography be it Atherton's or de Bont's, the use of colour & movement is great & it seems every shot is grandiose in scale & packed with things to see & little details & I am sure a lot of time went into the look & feel of the film from the streets of New York to the clubs of Japan to the vineyard where the unsatisfying climax takes place. The makers should have spent a bit more time on the script rather than the look of Black Rain & maybe it would have been a better film. The violence is tame with a couple of slit throats, a severed finger & a stabbed hand. There is no sex or nudity although there is some profanity. Apparently Dutch director Paul Verhoeven signed up to make this but dropped out & Scott stepped in.

With a supposed budget of about $30,000,000 this looks great but doesn't have that much action it it apart from an OK shoot-out at the end, Black Rain was actually nominated for two Oscars for Best Sound & Sound Effects although won neither. The acting is good, Michael Douglas is fine as is Andy Garcia, Kate Chapshaw provides the glamour while Jackie Chan apparently turned a role down in this. Main bad guy Sato was played by Yusaku Matsuda who had bladder cancer at the time of filming & died just seven weeks after it's US premiere.

Black Rain is actually quite a basic & clichéd cop thriller that probably doesn't have enough action for mainstream audiences & is too simple for the cerebral crowd. It's not the worst film ever but it's not the best & as far as cop thrillers go there's much better out there & I can see why it wasn't a crowd pleaser or much of a success.
6 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
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.
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Doesn't disappoint
davideo-228 January 2003
STAR RATING:*****Unmissable****Very Good***Okay**You Could Go Out For A Meal Instead*Avoid At All Costs

Ridley Scott scored again with Black Rain,a stylish and engaging thriller.The movie has an absorbing visual feel to it,as well as an involving story to move things move along nicely.On the performances front,Michael Douglas makes for an even more convincing action man than I would have given him credit for and Andy Garcia brings his usual searing intensity in his screen presence to the role of the sidekick,but the real star of the show is Yusaku Matsuda,who sadly died shortly after the film was released,as the villain,bringing a creepy and sadistic undertone to his role.***
10 out of 19 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A hugely underrated movie masterpiece
wiseguygabriel27 September 2014
Some may think that this is just another cop action movie but nothing could be father from the truth.

It is a story of good,evil,love,friendship and deep loyalty.

A clash of two different culture creates a unbreakable bond between them.

The music that was made specifically for this movie is what makes a part of the greatness of this movie.

The rest is just great acting.

I watched this movie a very long time ago(like 20 something years ago)but i never forgot it and the feeling i had when i watched it.

This movie contains all what makes a human being and the essence of life.
6 out of 10 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Fear and loathing in Japan
buzznzipp19959 September 2006
This film, a Ridley Scott 'well made story' of Japan's-underworld, was intriguing to me, from the beginning. Back before the eighties were even gone, this was a cutting story of the Asian mobs, the Japanese in particular, and how they ruthlessly do business. As I watched this from the starting in New York, the capture and travel overseas to transfer the suspect, I was already on the edge of my seat, but then seeing their world, sent me over the edge. I had never witnessed anything like it. Being that I was only 21 at the time of the film's release and yes there are many in the military, who can boast world travel, I had never been in the hottest parts of Japan, so for me it was both eye opening and hostile information all at once. From start to finish, this movie carried a 'Hard-Edged' blade of a story. Everyone in Japan,(practically) knowing the American, less than 'Perfect' cop's 'business' from the six O'clock news. It didn't help them, but it drove the two harder for their intended target! It was solid, front to back. I gave it an incredible, '10' rating because, it blasts through with fearless action and a stone-cold story, that burns white hot.

I was informed later on by law enforcement that the Asian gangs have taken over much of the Mafia's territory, since 1996. Interestingly scary, kind of like the movie. (****)
9 out of 17 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
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.
5 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Pedestrian output from a talented director
JuguAbraham26 April 2003
Ridley Scott has made at least two memorable films "The Duellists" and "Hannibal" that displayed immense potential of a director who could make intelligent cinema. Even "Aliens" was interesting to some extent. But "Black Rain" was a movie in which Scott showed his lack of knowledge of the Japanese culture--quite in contrast to the extensive research he put into "Hannibal" and "The Duellists."

Scott in "Black Rain" seems to be comfortable insulting the imagination of the viewers--top US cops signing an important government form all in Japanese, an US cop weighing 80-100 kgs getting inside a airplane food cart that had to be pushed at some point to make good his escape, two US cops who can't read Japanese walking down an empty Tokyo street at night when they hardly know the city, etc.

If any director wanted to make this movie, he/she should have a feeling for Japanese sensibilities--which was absent. The good moral Japanese policeman is made to look like he is outsmarted by an amoral US cop. Tch tch! Friendship overshadows morals? What is evident is that Scott made an US movie in Japan, recreating a Japan seen through Hollywoodian stereotypic Japanese situations that is ridiculous to an Oriental standpoint. Even Hans Zimmer's music is unusually lackluster. In fact there is no department where the movie inspires--unless you love motorcycles.
10 out of 21 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
SilkTork29 July 2004
After a stunning start in films, Ridley Scott staggered a bit before returning to form with Thelma and Louise. This is part of the staggering. Black Rain starts like a made for TV movie, then improves slightly by becoming another bland, boring cop movie. Water on the streets to give the shots "depth", and just about every other modern mainstream movie cliche. Plot trot while eating or drinking or just standing around trying to look interesting. OK - some of the shots have echoes of Blade Runner, but without the atmosphere and intelligence of that film those echoes just make this mess all the more painful to watch.

One for the money, two for the show, three to get ready and four to go home.
8 out of 16 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Cliché-ridden film which really hasn't aged gracefully
janhus29 January 2002
Warning: Spoilers
This film, made in the era of "Japan, Inc" has not aged well (neither has the idea that the Japanese "model" is the superior way of organizing an economy or society). I do not know any NYC Cops but I simply cannot believe that the scriptwriter could have intended for Michael Douglas' character to be so insultingly brash. He's not a complex character at all but a spiteful cynic tough guy who fires off insults right and left to anyone near enough to hear them. No cultural ambassadorship for Douglas' "Nick" by any stretch of the imagination. But this characteristic could have been displayed with a great deal more subtlety.

The ending is typical hollywood rubbish, which allows Douglas to "get the bad guy", show that he's been somehow "cleansed" by the experiences in the film and wind up with the girl in the end. Just far too unbelievable.

The cinematography is quite spectacular though (if a little bit reminiscent of Blade Runner in its styling, unsurprisingly), and the industrial city of Osaka (not Tokyo as another reviewer suggested) plays its grim role well.
9 out of 19 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
"Your Methods Are Crude And Disgraceful"
stryker-530 December 1999
If you have ever visited a US military base in Europe, the one thing that will have impressed you is the way in which Americans overseas build 'little America' around themselves. They seem unwilling to engage with the society in which they find themselves, sticking instead to familiar food, drinks and pastimes. "Black Rain" is another manifestation of the same phenomenon.

In the late 1980's, two American cops travel to Tokyo to hand over a Yakuza killer into the custody of the Japanese authorities. Things go wrong, and so the Americans remain in Tokyo, determined to ensure that justice is done.

At the heart of this film is a deep American mistrust of foreigners. Only the New York cops are capable: if the Yakuza is to be fought, it's the Americans who will have to do it. Chopsticks are fiendish alien implements, and a regular guy like Michael Douglas won't learn how to use them. This refusal to meet the host culture on its own terms permeates the whole film. Not only do cliches of Japanese life proliferate: they are offered up for the (American) audience to snigger at. If there's a bar, there has to be a karaoke performance, with a Japanese singer giving a 'flied lice' rendition of an American song. Of course, when Charlie of the NYPD takes the stage, he rocks the joint - he's showing Japan what popular music is all about.

Concentrating as it does on banal examples of Japanese culture (for example, the removal of shoes on entering a home), the film profoundly misunderstands the Japanese mindset. We meet Sugai, the mighty oyebun ('godfather', to use the clumsy American parallel). He not only sits and chats with Nick (Michael Douglas's character) but discusses with him the behaviour of another Yakuza member, and even follows Nick's instructions concerning a forthcoming ambush. This is lunacy. In the real world, a man such as Sugai would disdain even to NOTICE a lowly American cop. Mas is dishonoured by his association with the New Yorkers. It is inconceivable that he would so much as mention his disgrace in Nick's presence, let alone undertake the course of action shown in the film.

The two Americans (and especially Nick) are offered to us as heroic figures, because they defy authority. They use unorthodox policing methods, including the physical abuse of prisoners and the destruction of evidence. By contrast, the film represents the Japanese police as rather 'square' because they follow procedures. This glorying in lax professional ethics is, quite frankly, insulting to the Japanese. Their cultural values embrace concepts such as correctness and scrupulous honesty, civilised virtues which this film sees fit to scoff at.

Apart from being a coarse affront to the Japanese whose hospitality the project enjoyed, "Black Rain" is simply a bad movie. The thing that happens to the police officer in the shopping mall would constitute a full-blown international incident in real life, but here it is lamely treated as a mere street crime. Charlie performs "What Did I Say?" flawlessy to perfect accompaniment, even though he and his Japanese backing-group have never met before and cannot communicate. The idea of Joyce, the high-class escort girl, having to walk home alone in the early hours through downtown Tokyo is utterly ridiculous. Even more preposterously than that, the Americans bluff their way onto a dangerous police raid, and are allowed into close unsupervised contact with arrested Yakuza members. Nick is able to move around the steelworks unchallenged, as if the intrusion of unauthorised westerners was a daily occurrence. Motor bikes and cars explode for no discernible reason, and Nick is able to escape from an airliner by simply climbing into a food cabinet. Though he is a stranger to Tokyo and cannot read Japanese characters, he has no trouble making his way to Mas's apartment in the suburbs.

All these things are sloppy and improbable, but they are as nothing in comparison with the preposterous goings-on at the film's climax. An American policeman runs around the Japanese countryside, weilding a pump-action shotgun. The Yakuza has entrusted its problem-solving to the lone foreigner. Professional gangsters with Uzis and martial arts know-how are brushed aside. A man is arrested without authority or legitimacy. The restoration of the shamed man is ludicrous, showing total ignorance of Confucian notions of disgrace.

Director Ridley Scott will always be associated with the 'Alien' films, and if he sought by the making of "Black Rain" to break that connection, he failed. With its coloured lights, spark showers, gouts of steam and cruets of molten metal, Tokyo is just another beleaguered spacecraft floating in nothingness. Nick is a masculine Ripley, pursued by The Unknown along the sinister passages of the labyrinth which is Spaceship Tokyo.

Nick is an oaf and a crook, and Joyce is a carelessly tacked-on token love interest. The 'black rain' of the title is a past horror, inflicted on the Japanese by the Americans. Plus ca change ...
7 out of 14 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
The best thing Michael Douglas has done.
Pixman19 August 2000
This has got to be just about the best thing Michael Douglas has ever done. The plot, the script, the photography and the music, let's not forget Hans Zimmer's music. A superior effort in every sense. All police action dramas should take note. This is the way a really good one is made.
7 out of 15 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews

Recently Viewed