UK Release Date: 26th January 1990
Watched on Sky+ Sunday 12th August 2012.
PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.
I have never made a secret of the fact that I’m a bit of a fan of the work of Ridley Scott. To that end I’m on a mission to see all the films he’s directed (not necessarily in order)… and so we come to ‘Black Rain’. I did see this back in the nineties and I didn’t particularly enjoy it back then. It was interesting seeing it again and comparing my feelings about it. I have to admit I enjoyed it much more this time around, although it is far from being up there with Scott’s best. Here’s a very brief summary before I give you more of my thoughts.
When New York cops Nick Conklin and Charlie Vincent capture Japanese Yakuza member Sato, they are assigned to accompany him back to Osaka. On arrival they are duped into handing him over to the wrong people and now feel obliged to get him back into custody. They are assigned an officer, Matsumoto Masahiro, who is to be their guide, and also make sure they stay out of trouble. Their investigation takes them into the dark world of the Yakusa and they find themselves in the middle of a gangland power struggle. Can they find Sato and get out before he finds them?... Well, you probably guessed it, I’m not going to tell you here or the Spoiler Police (Osaka Division) will have me on traffic duty (again).
I noticed at the beginning of the credits there was a piece of text that said ‘In Association with Michael Douglas’; and boy can you tell! You are left under no illusion who the star of the show is and I have to admit I did take an instant disliking to his character at first. He had almost redeemed himself by the end, but there was a big chunk of cheese that came with it. Putting my personal feelings aside for a moment, Michael Douglas didn’t do a bad job as Nick Conklin, although I felt Andy Garcia put in a better performance as Charlie Vincent. I also thought Ken Takakura did a great job as Matsumoto Masahiro. Honourable mentions go to; Kate Capshaw as Joyce, Yûsaku Matsuda as Sato and Tomisaburô Wakayama as Sugai.
Back in the eighties (& early nineties for that matter), your heroes had to be tough and uncompromising. This is what you get here, although by now it’s all become a little cliché, back then it was what was expected. What you end up with is a film that looks great, thanks to Ridley Scott, but one that is also quite dated. Not to say it’s not a great drama; I would love to see a modern remake of this without all the eighties cheese. Oh, I also have to mention a great musical score by Hans Zimmer, interspersed with pop songs but well worth listening to. Over all, I did enjoy this film, once I got over my dislike of Douglas’s character; it’s a great drama that’s well worth a look, if a little over-long (IMO), if you get the chance.
SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED.
My Score 7.7/10
IMDb Score: 6.5/10 (based on 23,878 votes at the time of going to press).
MetaScore: NO DATA: (Based on 0 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 30/100 ‘Want To See’ (based on 26,792 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
If you’re crazy enough… You can find me on Facebook at:
WARNING: STRONG LANGUAGE
Nick Conklin: Just hope they got a Nip in this building who speaks fucking English.
Matsumoto Masahiro: [overhearing] Assistant Inspector Matsumoto Masahiro, Criminal Investigation section, Osaka Prefecture police. And I do speak fucking English.
Joyce: Because you could get me killed. You see, there's a war going on here, and they don't take prisoners.
Nick Conklin: What are you talking about?
Joyce: It's between Sato and an old crime boss named Sugai.
Nick Conklin: Who else knows about this war?
Joyce: Counting you and me?
Joyce: Eleven million.
Det. Charlie Vincent: What is this, a conspiracy to ruin my evening?
Sugai: I was 10 when the B-29 came. My family lived underground for three days. We when came up the city was gone. Then the heat brought rain. Black rain. You made the rain black, and shoved your values down our throats. We forgot who we were. You created Sato and thousands like him. I'm paying you back.