Review: Films Set In Japan – ‘Rain Fall’ (2009)

In April last year I wrote an entry about the release of Rain Fall; a film I wanted to see in Japanese but couldn’t due to the language barrier. The boot was well and truly on the other foot for once given that its usually Japanese who suffer because of the time it seemingly takes to put subtitles on films or American TV shows here. Anyway, thanks to Ethan, who sent me a link, I was able to watch it recently and how disappointed I was. I have only just finished reading the sixth (and final?) Barry Eisler book to follow the life of anti-hero John Rain (a half-Japanese, half-American former soldier turned freelance assassin) and really enjoyed that as well as the previous two which I read back-to-back over the last couple of months. All gripping stuff but as is often the case the film version was not up to scratch in my opinion.
It starts off OK and is very Bourne-esque in the filming and story-line but it went downhill completely in the second half of the movie with plot holes and unconvincing fight scenes which just didn’t live up to what was described by Barry Eisler in the book. Gary Oldman is in the film and put in a good performance and while the Japanese actors gave it their best I found it to be a bit wooden especially when they had to speak English which is not too often as the movie is predominantly in Japanese. By the time Rain Fall reached its cliché ending I was quite despondent that an exciting novel about a hit man with issues had been transformed into a fairly dull and boring movie.
You can watch ‘Rain Fall’ movie here.
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Rain Fall

To be frank I have very little interest in Japanese films. I’ve seen a few notable ones and they’re OK but most just don’t quite cut the mustard with me. However, there is one exception and that is ‘Rain Fall’ which is based on Barry Eisler’s series of books which I have very much enjoyed reading. They revolve around one principle character; John Rain, a Japanese-American cynical, conscientious assassin with a liking for whisky and jazz music. The first two books (there are six in total) are set in Tokyo which was obviously appealing to me and though not as likeable or exciting as the Bourne series they were thrillers which kept me hooked and wanting more including a film adaptation. That has now happened and features Gary Oldman but sadly for me the film is predominantly in Japanese and so there is no need to provide English subtitles. I guess I’ll just have to wait and see if it gets released overseas at a later date. I now know how those Japanese people with a strong interest in Hollywood films and American TV shows feel when they can’t watch them until they finally get subtitled.