Review: Films Set In Japan – ‘Black Rain’ (1989)

This was directed by Ridley Scott (of ‘Blade Runner’ and ‘Gladiator’ fame) and filmed mostly on location in Osaka but due to the typical amount of red tape involved in doing things in this country he got disillusioned with it all and ended up finishing the movie back in California.

Black Rain stars Michael Douglas and Andy Garcia and this film certainly uses stereotypes when portraying the difference between American cops and Japanese police as well as looking at the Yakuza. Our two heroes capture Sato; a member of this Japanese mafia and have to escort him back to the land of the rising sun (the film predictably starts with a typical sun/red circle image) on Northwest Airlines which is a blatant example of product placement in the film. The film shows its age as Douglas’ character is able to smoke whilst on board. Anyway, this Yakuza guy escapes when they get to Japan and they then embark on getting him back amid some gang war over counterfeit money or something like that.

I’m no big fan of Douglas but I do think he portrays a good cop in this and ‘Basic Instinct’. In fact, his characters in both films are pretty much identical! Ken Takakura plays the typical Japanese police officer who does the job by the book which inevitably ruffles the feathers of the two NYPD cops. Over time they learn something from each others cultures blah blah blah (I think I said exactly the same in ‘The Last Samurai’ review!). Its cliché-ridden of course but as I’ve said before I like this in my films!

I had hoped to visit Hankyu Umeda Mall when I was in Osaka back in May and I did but the place, where the naive, fresh-faced youngster Garcia unwisely responds to a biker snatching his jacket, has changed completely over the last couple of decades.

Yet another film which is longer than it needs to be. I did get a bit bored at times during the film but overall its an 80’s film which I think holds up quite well in the present era.

 

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