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Black Rain

post #1 of 44
Thread Starter 
I watched this film after having not seen it in years and it really holds up well. Michael Douglas is one of those actors that is sort of taken for granted but he made for a fantastic hard boiled cop in this movie, probably my favorite role for Douglas after FALLING DOWN.

One of the reasons that Douglas comes off well is because he has 2 actors playing his partners who seem very different from him. Andy Garcia is great as Douglas' fellow officer helping to transport a crime lord back to Japan. When most people think of BLACK RAIN it's usually Garcia's final scene that pops in their head. It is a brutal one to be sure but it hits the audience so hard because we genuinely like the guy. What also makes that moment effective is Douglas' powerless feeling during that scene. He sees all of the action play out in front of him and there's nothing he can do about it.

Aside from Garcia, Douglas has a lot of great scenes with Ken Takakura as a Japanese cop who acts as a liason to Douglas and Garcia. The moment that Douglas confesses to Takakura of taking drug money while in New York is very effective and makes you understand why Douglas makes a very important decision during the film's climax.

The movie looks real sharp and I suppose a lot of the credit for that should go to Jan De Bont who served as the director of photography. Hans Zimmer's score also does a great job of setting the film's moody atmosphere. But ultimately it's Ridley Scott who deserves most of the praise for BLACK RAIN. It's truly an underrated film from a guy who has made so many quality flicks.
post #2 of 44
Here, here!
post #3 of 44
A cool, underrated movie. If only they could get rid of that awful 80s song at the beginning and the end. It gives me douche chills. I remember reading there was an alternate ending. Anybody know what it was?
post #4 of 44
Thread Starter 
I never heard of an alternate ending but if there is one I'd like to hear about it also. I really like how it ends with Douglas giving Takakura the plates.

The music in the start and end doesn't bug me too much. What had me cringe a bit at the start is when Douglas is racing his motorcycle, one of the guys in that scene is Luis Guzman and his dialogue is horribly dubbed. Of course maybe I find it "horribly dubbed" now because I know what Guzman sounds like.

I did get a bit of a chuckle at the start when Douglas is being questioned by 2 internal affairs officers. Both of those guys are from OFFICE SPACE, Stephen Root and an actor named Richard Riehle who was the fellow in SPACE who ends up happy to be in a full body cast.
post #5 of 44
Michael Douglas is such an underrated badass. This has so many great little moments and performances. Why didn't Doulgas do more of this? "I usually get kissed before I get fucked."

F.T.W. Kid
post #6 of 44
Thread Starter 
I loved when Douglas and Garcia are on the plane with the Sato. Garcia gets up for a minute and Douglas pulls the "fake stretch into an elbow punch" right into Sato's face.
post #7 of 44
Sato's a badass fucking villain, man. Apparently the actor who played him, Yusaku Matsuda, died not long after his BLACK RAIN role. Love that "Here I am, Niiiiiick!" near the end when Douglas thought he didn't speak any English.

This is one of those movies - like SNEAKERS or POLTERGEIST, to name just a couple of examples - that I describe as a great Saturday-night flick. It's not an event picture - Scott's made films with a lot more impact and influence than this one - but it's a solid story, well told. I know I won't be changing channels if I happen to catch the start of BLACK RAIN if I'm having a quiet Saturday night at home.

Plus props to Ken Takakura, who makes honesty and decency seem like the truly honourable option.
post #8 of 44
This is a great film, and a very rare one. Big budget action films set in Japan are almost non-existent.

Of course, now that I have experience living in Japan I can see how many cliches are trotted out. It's still fun and shows Scott's great knack for atmosphere.

I've been to a few of the shooting locations. I used to go drinking all the time across the street from that fancy club where Kate Capshaw works.

I really like Gregg Allman's closing song, but I don't remember the rest of the soundtrack.
post #9 of 44
Wow and here I thought I was alone in my love for this movie. I dig Ridley Scott movies and this one is certainly an underappreciated gem of his.

Love Hans Zimmers score. Jan De Bonts visuals are terrific as well.

Douglas really is great as the hard boiled cop. As mentioned Sato was a great villain and Garcia and Takakura add heart and integrity to the proceedings.

This film also gets props for having Lone Wolf himself Tomisaburo Wakayama as Sugai.
post #10 of 44
Great film, although it wouldn't go down as well if Douglas didn't reconcile his casual racism at the end.

Pretty sad about Matsuda passing away soon after the film finished.

This plus The Yakuza make a great evening combo.
post #11 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Daywalker
This film also gets props for having Lone Wolf himself Tomisaburo Wakayama as Sugai.
yeah that's a big plus for me too. Ogami Itto himself! he looks so friggin old in this movie though (I believe it was one of his last roles)

and The Yakuza with Bob Mitchum and Takakura Ken makes very necessary double bill viewing with this.
post #12 of 44
I love the way that the photography in the Steel Mill was sooooo cliched and yet you couldn't help loving all those whizzy lights and smoke . It was as if he was having a flashback to Alien.

Plus a knockout Zimmer Score with an unusually haunting feel to the quiet passages
post #13 of 44
Just watched it for the first time today. It's pretty damn good. Douglas, Garcia, Takakura and Matsuda (as Sato) are all great. Surprised it's never talked about often as its quite an enjoyable, little action thriller.

Loved Capshaw's cleavage as well.
post #14 of 44
To me this movie has a lot of great individual things going for it (the three lead performances, score, cinematography, etc.) that just don't add up to a worthwhile whole. I've never been able to put my finger on it, but while I can watch it for a few scenes at a time, I can't sit down and watch it from start to finish. I get bored. It shows huge amounts of promise and just doesn't seem to go anywhere.

Having said that, I loved the interplay between Douglas and Garcia and wish it had been in the service of a better movie. If you think about it, it's almost the same as Douglas' relationship in BASIC INSTINCT with George Dzundza.
post #15 of 44
Thread Starter 
I never get a boring feel from this movie. It's true that there isn't a lot of action in the middle hour of the film but the interplay between Douglas, Garcia, and Takakura is a joy to watch. They're 3 very different actors but they meld perfectly. Definitely in my Ridley Scott top 3, though mine are probably way different from the majority.
post #16 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by FTW Kid
Michael Douglas is such an underrated badass. This has so many great little moments and performances. Why didn't Doulgas do more of this? "I usually get kissed before I get fucked."

F.T.W. Kid
Hey , any guy who at the age of 60 Can Marry someone like Zeta Jones and have kids is a bad ass by defination.
post #17 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonathan Banks is my hero
If you think about it, it's almost the same as Douglas' relationship in BASIC INSTINCT with George Dzundza.

It's a little more complex.
post #18 of 44
I love the part in the climax when Nick (Douglas) is debating whether or not to impale Sato on the stick in the ground and Sato widens his eyes to non-verbally tell him to just do it. Then it cuts to Nick and Matsumura taking Sato into the police station.
post #19 of 44
Thread Starter 
Yeah, normally I'm not a big fan of the bad guy just being arrested in films like this. But because of the respect that forms between Douglas and Takakura the decision to not go after blood vengeance was a good choice to make for the climax.
post #20 of 44
Not only is it as a result of their relationship, but the main reason I think was that it was an insult to Sato. He would have much rather died than be caught, arrested and actually punished. If I remember correctly, I think Sato actually smiles a little, also an ecouragement of sorts, saying "Go ahead, I'd prefer this to jail."
post #21 of 44
I'd never seen this.

Got the bluray and watched it tonight... mostly for the soundtrack which I've been listening to over and over again lately.

I'm kinda in agreement with Jonathan Banks on this one. While I actually liked the movie (mostly for the performances and the aesthetics), I agree that it never felt like it ever really got going. Something about it feels like it ends right as its about to really get going.

I did really like how the climactic finale played out.
post #22 of 44
Thread Starter 

Remains Ridley's finest.

post #23 of 44
I did find it interesting that it wasn't referred to more often in his filmography.

Because I did really like it.
post #24 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Moltisanti View Post
 

Remains Ridley's finest.

 

It's top 5 Ridley for me, and it gets better and better with age.  If nothing else, it's also my absolute favorite performance (and character) from Michael Douglas.  

 

Funny how he essentially played the same character in BASIC INSTINCT.

post #25 of 44
I wonder if it's kinda neglected in his filmography because it's in one of those periods of his career that's generally overlooked?

Like... between Blade Runner and Thelma & Louise?

It's funny you bring up the Basic Instinct performance, because I watched Douglas in this thinking, "this is SUCH a Douglas character!"
post #26 of 44
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcnooj82 View Post

I wonder if it's kinda neglected in his filmography because it's in one of those periods of his career that's generally overlooked?

 

That's part of it. I'd also say it's more due to the fact that it's not sci-fi nor is it an "epic." Story-wise it's a renegade cop in an unfamiliar setting trying to avenge his partner's murder. There are plenty of films with that set-up but the flourishes that Scott adds on combined with the characters take this one up several notches.

post #27 of 44
if zimmer taking over on scoring the new blade runner in a hurry results in it sounding like BLACK RAIN... (which has motifs that zimmer would use later in BROKEN ARROW)

I'M ALL FOR IT

(gonna listen to the score again right now!)
post #28 of 44

It was also pretty much a 'gun for hire' directorial gig for Scott after having a few flops.  The Ridley Scott brand, if there even was one at this point, was pretty much in the dumpster.  The film had to totally ride on the appeal of Michael Douglas who was, thankfully, very popular at the time.

 

I really love the character of Nick Conklin.  He's one of the best cop characters that I've ever seen in terms of ability, approach, self awareness, and moral ambiguity.  Watching his arc in the film is very fulfilling, and his confession scene while eating noodles is some of the best acting of Michael's career.

 

 

The non-verbal communication here is fantastic.

post #29 of 44

I'd also cite this scene right here as being one of the best sequences that Ridley Scott ever staged and directed.

 

post #30 of 44
Thread Starter 

This was Douglas' first film after really hitting the A-list with FATAL ATTRACTION and WALL STREET. Meanwhile Scott was in danger of falling into journeyman status after SOMEONE TO WATCH OVER ME. Thankfully all these elements came together at just the right time.

post #31 of 44
There's a huge gap between the Ridley Scott movie eras that I like. Alien, Blade Runner, Legend and Black Rain are, if not "great films" (two of them unquestionably are though) then they're made ALMOST great (to me anyway) due to being stunningly beautiful to look at.

And then there's now.

Because Prometheus is truly the first Ridley Scott movie since Black Rain that I've liked. And I like both Prometheus and Alien Covenant.

Oddly....I didn't care for The Martian. It was 'aight' ...but also really pretty dull. Felt like a Ron Howard movie more than a Ridley Scott movie..
post #32 of 44

You didn't care for GLADIATOR or BLACK HAWK DOWN?

post #33 of 44
I really liked Gladiator at the time. I have good memories of seeing it...but it came out right as I was graduating....so I was just kind of happy about everything that summer. But man it has aged so poorly to me. Almost to the point of being laughable. And both it and Black Hawk Down just did not give me the same sort of "OMG this is gorgeous" feeling as his movies from '79 to '89. I don't think I've seen Black Hawk Down since the theater..
post #34 of 44

Give BHD another go.  I think it's pretty brilliant.

 

If we're gonna bash Ridley, we really need to look at SOMEONE TO WATCH OVER ME which is simply horrendous.  It's embarrassingly bad in every way and probably should have sent Ridley to director jail.

post #35 of 44
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Judas Booth View Post
 

If we're gonna bash Ridley, we really need to look at SOMEONE TO WATCH OVER ME which is simply horrendous.  It's embarrassingly bad in every way and probably should have sent Ridley to director jail.

 

I'm a hardcore Berenger-fanatic but it pains me that his one collaboration with Ridley came out so poorly. Not fair at all. Wish those two could have had a relationship back then similar to Scott and Crowe in the 00's.

 

Finally saw ALIEN: COVENANT a couple weeks ago and that is pretty close to the bottom for me. The one everybody seems to despise that I put at the top of his recent films is THE COUNSELOR.

post #36 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fraid uh noman View Post

There's a huge gap between the Ridley Scott movie eras that I like. Alien, Blade Runner, Legend and Black Rain are, if not "great films" (two of them unquestionably are though) then they're made ALMOST great (to me anyway) due to being stunningly beautiful to look at.

And then there's now.

Because Prometheus is truly the first Ridley Scott movie since Black Rain that I've liked. And I like both Prometheus and Alien Covenant.

Oddly....I didn't care for The Martian. It was 'aight' ...but also really pretty dull. Felt like a Ron Howard movie more than a Ridley Scott movie..


Fraid lives in BizzarroWorld, at least in saying that Legend is better than Gladiator. Heck, White Squall is better, from a storytelling perspective, than Legend.

post #37 of 44
Legend is absolutely not as good of a film in almost every way as so many of Scott's other films. But it's just so jaw dropping visually that I don't care at all how little sense it makes. And the character that Tim Curry plays is an all-timer and my favorite performance of his easily. Legend is a movie that I can't, in good faith, recommend to anyone because my liking of it is just due to the sometimes strange things that I attribute worth to, cinematically..
post #38 of 44

That is totally fair. I don't hate Legend, I can't with Curry's pure evil, and the presence of Mia Sara always makes me... erm... happy.  But! Its a mess from a storytelling perspective, Cruise is aggressively bad, and I have no love for the look of the fantastical creatures. 

post #39 of 44

LEGEND wouldn't be so bad if it weren't 4 hours long.

post #40 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Judas Booth View Post

LEGEND wouldn't be so bad if it weren't 4 hours long.
Man...have you ever seen the extended version? Because the theatrical is only 89 minutes. But that director's cut is soooo preferable in my opinion. It's got an original Jerry Goldsmith score rather than that weird one from Tangerine Dream. It makes a tad more sense. And....unlike most blu rays....there's a big difference in the transfers of each version. Blu ray.com gave the audio/visual presentation of the theatrical higher marks but I just don't see it. To me the DC looked much more lush. Deeper blacks. Brighter colors. More smooth/less jagged..
post #41 of 44

Legend was discussed in the Re-Up thread. The Director's Cut cleans up a lot of the story issues. If you can deal with the different score it's worth revisiting.

 

ETA: What Fraid said. (Except for the Tangerine Dream talk because that's nonsense.)

post #42 of 44

My comment on the 4 hour length was a riff on the fact that the movie feels like it never ends.  It's a slog to get through, regardless of whichever version it is that you watch.  This thing could have been edited down to an hour and not lost a lot of actual content.

post #43 of 44
Oh I know. I was just curious if you were referring to a specific version or just the film overall. Because maaaan, if an 89 minute movie feels (hyperbolically) like four hours then that is SO not a movie for you in any way.

But I do have to agree that a 20 minute highlight reel of Legend makes probably roughly the same amount of sense as the movie does as a whole.

I wonder if there's any truth to it being the inspiration for The Legend of Zelda. I know Mario came to being because of Popeye but I've never known if the Zelda thing was totally true or not..
post #44 of 44

I watched Black Rain on its release with a few friends after school.  We all loved it.  As we left, we wondered what to do next.  "Let's watch it again," my buddy said, and we did.  I didn't do that again since I saw Heat six years later.  Scott has his usual ham-fisted approach to foreign cultures, but what the hell.  We're not here for a lesson in culture, we're here to watch the NYPD square off against the Yakuza.  Although it sorta winds up being just that.

 

I actually liked White Squall.  But after that, the last twenty years, I could take it or leave his work, including BHD.  Kinda makes me sick that Russell Crowe had that amazing performance in The Insider, then went on to make a number of middling films with Scott and others.

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