Starring Michael Douglas, Andy Garcia, Ken Takukura, Yūsaku Matsuda, Kate Capshaw, John Spencer, Luis Guzman, Stephen Root
(7-Very Good Film)
Stylish. Hard-boiled. Atmospheric.
Nick Conklin: Sometimes, you just got to go for it.
Nick Conklin (Douglas) is a loose cannon of a New York City cop. He might even be on the take; Internal Affairs certainly think so. Enjoying a drink at a local bar, Nick and his young partner, Charlie (Garcia), witness the violent killing of two Japanese men in what turns out to be a Yakuza hit. Catching the assailant, Sato, Nick and Charlie are charged with escorting the criminal back to Japan and handing him over to the local authorities. Once in Japan, Sato escapes and the two American cops, despite not being wanted, take it upon themselves to get him back. Black Rain has its flaws. I’ve never had the sense that Scott cared much about romance (see A Good Year, his one attempt at a romantic comedy) and here the female characters fall flat, but much of the criticism it received from contemporary reviews seem unfair to me. It’s not racist just because its hero is ignorant and the Japanese characters aren’t stereotypical. I especially don’t understand complaining about Michael Douglas’ likability. He’s an antihero in the mold of a lot of 1940s noir characters. How sympathetic is Sam Spade? Black Rain has a fairly straightforward story that gives way to an interesting antihero as played by Douglas and awesome visuals designed by Ridley Scott and his crew. A worthwhile action flick.
-Walter Tyrone Howard-