Black Rain; Thriller, USA/ Japan, 1989; D: Ridley Scott, S: Michael Douglas, Ken Takakura, Andy Garcia, Kate Capshaw, Yusaku Matsuda
New York. Police officer Nick likes to drive on the motorcycle and win in the race. He is divorced, has to pay for child support while an additional burden is that he is suspected of corruption. When he catches a Japanese mobster, he gets the assignment to bring him to Tokyo together with his colleagues Charlie. But once in Japan, Nick mistakenly hands over the mobster over to Yakuzas who disguised themselves as cops, realizing his mistake too late. Nick and Charlie decide to stay in Japan and catch him again, while they are joined by Inspector Masahiro. The Yakuzas kill Charlie while Nick gets recommended to go back to the US, yet he stays. He manages to capture the mobster in a trap and leaves to Masahiro the plates for money counterfeiting.
Made with an unhidden sympathy towards Japanese culture, following the occasional trend of US-Japanese joint films like "Babel", "Sayonara" and "Lost in Translation", thriller "Black Rain" grossed 46 million $ at the US box office (almost twice as much as "Blade Runner") and was nominated for an Oscar for best sound editing and special effects. Ridley Scott directs "Rain" with an fine aesthetic, just like most of films in his opus, but somehow distanced from the characters and the story. Alas, up to 20 minutes pass and nothing happens, the camera is wondering around Japan whereas untypical violence appears in the story, like when the Yakuza decapitates Andy Garcia's character's head or when a Yakuza chops his own finger because he wasn't obedient towards the mafia. Michael Douglas plays a police officer that's a rather ephemera character, but the authors gave him a few sharp dialogues ("Are you sure?" - "Well...Definitely maybe.") and observations (he puts the money on fire to see if it's counterfeit), and the rest is interesting, but standard piece of movie making.Grade:++