Life is what happens when you are making other plans~ John Lennon
An eye for an eye will make the whole world blind~Gandhi
The time is always right to do what is right~ Martin Luther King Jr.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Black Rain

Black Rain
-1989 American action-thriller movie
-Starring Michael Douglas, Andy Garcia, Kate Capshaw, Ken Takakura and Yusaku Matsuda
-Directed by Ridley Scott
-The movie centers on 2 New York City policemen who arrest a member of the Yakuza and have to escort him back to Japan. When they arrive, he escapes and they have somehow managed to get themselves in deeper and deeper into the Japanese underworld
-This film basically shows the stereotypes of American and Japanese cops and gangsters

Did You Know?
-The symbol at the end of the movie reads "kan" which in Japanese means "the end"

-Nick Conklin(Michael Douglas) is an accomplished motorcyclist and tough member of the New York police department, who just so happens to be facing criminal charges; Internal Affairs believes Nick was involved with his partner who was caught taking money in a corruption scandal. Nick is divorced from his wife, who has sole custody of their 2 kids. He also has financial issues due to child support and alimony.

-While having a drink at a local Italian restaurant/bar, Nick and his partner Charlie Vincent(Andy Garcia) see 2 Japanese men having what looks like friendly chit chat with some members of the Italian Mafia. Nick becomes increasingly suspicious of the group until another Japanese man walks in with several men armed with guns and takes a small package from the leader of the Japansese group. One of the Japanese men at the table says in Japanse "The Oyabun[godfather] will not stand for this." The Japanese leader then proclaims "As always, such a troublesome child." The Japanese man finds these to be insulting and he slashes the man's throat, stabs another in the chest and walks out. Nick and Charlie follow him and after chasing him, they arrest him after he nearly kills Nick

-The suspect turns out to be a member of the Yakuza[Japanese Mafia]. He is a gangster named Sato(Yusaku Matsuda). The problem is made worse when Nick's superior officer, Captain Oliver(John Spencer) tells him that Sato is to be extradited to Osaka and given to the police there. Nick is angered that Sato can't be tried for murder in the States, but agrees to take him to Japan. His captain also has another motive; he thinks this will keep Nick from causing more trouble and making the already bad situation with Internal Affairs worse by sending him overseas

-When the cop and gangster arrive in Osaka, men
identifying themselves as Japansese police immediately meet them on the plane, displaying a "Transfer document" written in Japanese and take Sato away. As Nick and Charlie leave the plane, another group of police enter from the front and identify themselves in English, saying the first "cops" were imitators

-Nick and Charlie go to the HQ of the Osaka Prefecture Police because they are to be questioned. They are blamed for Sato's escape. After arguments from Nick, who shows xenophobia towards the Japanese, who rarely know they can speak English. He and Charlie are allowed to "observe" the hunt for Sato. Unfortunately, the senior officer says they have no authority in Japan and it's illegal for them to carry guns, which are taken. They are assigned to Masahiro Matsumoto(Ken Takakura), a mellow, yet experienced officer who will be their guide
-Throughout their investigation, Nick behaves rudely, offending Matsumotot in various ways, while Charlie is more polite. Nick also makes contact with an American blond nightclub hostess, Joyce(Kate Capshaw), who explains that the Japanese public, including the giggly club hostesses, all think Charlie and Nick are not to be taken seriously because they allowed Sato to escape from custody and show American cops are stupid. Through her, Nick finds out that Sato is fighting a gang war with a very notorious crime boss, named Sugai(Tomisaburo Wakayama). Sato used to be a lieutenant for this man and now wants his own land to rule. Sato traveled to New York to interrupt a meeting with American Italian gangsters about a counterfeiting  plot made by Sugai

-After joining a police raid without permission, Nick takes some $100 bills. The next day, Matsumoto explains they have dishonored themselves, him and the police force by this theft, which has also been reported back to America. Nick claims that he should not have "snitched" to his bosses, and shows Matsumoto that the money was fake, as a suspicion he held and he needed to prove it by burning one of the bills

-Late one night, Nick and Charlie walk back to their hotel slightly drunk and unescorted, despite warnings about their safety. They are harassed by a young motorcycle punk and it seems to be funny until the punk steals Charlie's raincoat and leads them into an underground parking garage. Nick follows, shouting for Charlie to come back, but is separated from him by a security gate. Nick, unarmed, watches in horror as Sato and several of his Bosozoku gangsters torture Charlie using swords and knives, before Sato beheads him. Angered, Nick is comforted by Joyce at her apartment. Matsumoto arrives with Nick's stuff, including his NYPD badge, which Nick gives to Matsumoto and Charlie's service revolver, which Nick keeps

-Matsumoto and Nick trail one of Sato's operatives; a beautiful woman. Overnight, the police discuss their different cultures and Nick admits to Matsumoto he took some of the money in New York, where he says there is no black and white. In the morning, the woman retrieves a sample counterfeit note from a bank stronghold box. The note is only printed on one side, which she passes to Sato's gang. Nick and Matsumoto tail the man to a steel foundry where they find that Sato is meeting with Sugai, and finds that the package that Sato had taken in New York contains a printing plate for the American $100 bill. Nick intervenes when Sato leaves the meeting and starts a gunfight. Sato escapes again when Nick is arrested by police for waving a gun in public, and is told he is going to be sent back to New York in disgrace

-When Nick is boarding the plane, he manages to sneak off to find Sato on his own. He finds Matsumoto has been suspended and demoted by the police, which is considered a deep humiliation. Joyce helps him meet Sugai, who explains that making counterfeit U.S. currency is his revenge for the "black rain" after the bombing of Hiroshima and loss of dignity he and his family faced in the aftermath of World War II. Nick suggests an idea where Sugai can use Nick as an insignificant American to retrieve the stolen plate from Sato, leaving Sugai's reputation and hands clean

-Sugai drops Nick at the outskirts of a remote farm where a meeting of the oyabun, the other crime bosses, is going to be. Nick is given a shotgun, Sato arrives later as does Matsumoto. He and Nick conlcude that Sato's men are planning a massacre. At the meeting table, Sato surrenders his single plate and requests recognition and his own land. Unfortunately, Sugai demands that Sato first atone for his offenses against the Yakuza code of honor in the traditional way; he is ordered to cut off one of his fingers, which he obligingly does. As he takes position next to Sugai, he stabs the gangster in the hand and escapes with both plates, creating a gunfight between Sugai and Sato's men. Sato escapes the fight on a dirt bike with Nick following close behind. Nick is able to spill Sato off the bike and they fight. He gains the advantage. The scene ends with Nick having to decide whether or not to kill Sato as revenge for murdering Charlie.

-The film ends with Matsumoto and Nick walking a handcuffed Sato into police HQ to the surprise of everyone, and later getting recommendation. Nick accepts it happily. Before boarding his flight home, he thanks Matsumoto for his help and friendship and gives him a box containing a dress shirt. Underneath it is the 2 counterfeit printing plates.

Production Notes
-Jackie Chan was the original choice to play Sato, but turned it down because it went against his good guy values
-Japanese actor Yusaku Matsuda was suffering from bladder cancer during the making of this movie and died right after the movie was made. The movie was then dedicated to his memory

1 comment:

  1. I remember seeing this when it first came out - I am so old! x