Directed by Ridley Scott
1989 125 minutes
by Tammy Wanchena
This movie has potential! There’s only one problem. I don’t speak Japanese.
A New York cop follows a killer from a bike from Japan to the streets of Japan. Instead of handing him over to the proper authorities, the cop (Michael Douglas) is duped into handing the killer over to his gang. Now, with the help of his partner (Andy Garcia) and a little Japanese man, he must remedy the situation. But, like most eighties action flicks, there’s a much bigger picture and a lot more at stake. Internal Affairs believes Michael deliberately let Soto go, for a price. Defending his honor will cost him his partner’s life but he gains a friend, the little Japanese man.
Schwarzenegger…..Stallone….Van Damme….Segal. Eighties action heroes seemed to follow a trend, like Big…..Bulky…..Illiterate……Monosyllabic. So why Michael Douglas? He can form complete sentences and the other guys can lift him over their heads with little to no effort. Well, the 21st century has answered this question. He has two Academy Awards and, more importantly, Catherine Zeta-Jones. Even Schwarzenegger becoming the Governor of California can’t compete with that.
This is a dude flick. There’s plenty of motorcycle action, bad ass one-liners and a heap of testosterone. Riders are portrayed as both bad guys and good guys. Michael Douglas races for cash and is a good dad in spite of his divorce. Our killer, Soto, rides with the gang that kills Michael’s partner and counterfeits hundreds. So, the world has balance. Or perhaps the movie was telling us that we import bikes from Japan because they are being abused in Japan. Hard to say. As I said before, I don’t speak Japanese.
Which brings me to my problem with “Black Rain”. I have poor hearing. I have a hard enough time hearing my own language. Throw in a bunch of super thick Japanese accents and I am lost. The majority of this film takes place in Japan. I honestly could not tell if they were speaking Japanese without allowing us subtitles or speaking English for the majority of the film. So for this reason only, I cannot impartially critique this movie. For me, watching Black Rain was a slow, drawn out challenge that I do not wish to experience again. If it’s any consolation, my husband liked it. As I said before, this is a dude flick.