Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Ridley Scott Week: Black Rain

So begins the Ridley Scott week.  Who is Ridley Scott you may ask?   From TV directing, movie director and production he has been in TV and Movie since 1967 from the ground up and into main feature length films.  So kick your shoes off and sit a spell.  This is Black Rain.

Spoilers are everywhere!!!

Diving into a thriller starring Michael Douglas (The Chyna Syndrome, Running, Romancing the Stone, Falling Down, Basic Instinct, The Game and Wonder Boys) as Nick Conklin, a hardnosed, rough and tumble cop that breaks the rules to get the job done.  He and his partner Charlie Vincent (Andy Garcia of The Untouchables, The Godfather: Part III, When a Man Loves a Woman, Things to Do in Denver When You’re Dead, Desperate Measures and Ocean’s Eleven) are under investigation by Internal Affairs based on theft charges occurring in their department when they witness a high ranking Yakuza get blown away by Sato (Yusaku Matsuda of The Detective Story, Home Sweet Home, And Then and The Rage of Love) and Conklin busts him. 

This little feather under his cap allows Nick and Charlie to travel to Japan to extradite to their authorities only to be jumped by Sato’s men and freeing their leader.  Given the less than stellar standing on handling of prisoner transfer, the Japanese police department allows Conklin and Vincent to stay in Japan and assist finding Sato but they are not allowed to carry their sidearms and they get a chaperone with Masahiro (Ken Takakura of The Yellow Handkerchief, Never Give Up, Station, Antarctica and Yasha) a by the book, dots every I and crosses every T cop and the animosity ensues.  Charlie has to be a buffer between Conklin and Masahiro to calm the waters. 

Delving into the underground our heroes find out that Sato should end up taking over the main Yakuza families due to flooding the market with counterfeit his own money.  The main appeal to this film is the clash between cultures from anything of on the fallout of WWII to how Masahiro and Conklin view each others’ level perceived decadence.  Honor of course has a great precedence in the movie representing Japanese culture and the title itself is described survivors in the aftermath of Hiroshima and Nagasaki .   The film is clearly Scott due to lots of smoke filled rooms, men roaming around in trenchcoats, scenes feeling very claustrophobic streetscapes, lots of steam rising from the streets for reason and of course neon lights.  

The karaoke scene with Mas and Charlie is actually amusing and apt and didn’t feel inappropriate.  This film got a lax standing on from the audience, there was not a lot of love for this movie and I felt it got past over.  Far too many sub-characters and incoherent subplots like the nightclub owner Joyce (Kate Capshaw of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, SpaceCamp and Just Cause) as the love interest of Douglas’s Conklin.  I personally do not view this as Scott’s best work but I truly believe this is worthy to but put up with the likes of 48 Hours, Lethal Weapon, The Hidden with a dash of The Lost Boy Scout.   This is a worthwhile film, folks.  Give it the once over.