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Black Rain (SE)
DVD disk
Oct 27, 2006 By: Quigles
Black Rain (SE) order
Director:
Ridley Scott

Actors:
Michael Douglas
Andy Garcia
Ken Takakura

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Two cops from the Big Apple travel to Japan and become involved in a gang war between members of the Yakuza.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
With Ridley Scott at the helm, two great actors in leading roles, and Japan as the backdrop, I was ready for some good times ahead with BLACK RAIN. Unfortunately, the clich-ridden storyline knocked down my enjoyment a few pegs. At the time of its release, I'm betting the culture clash aspect of the film was thought to be fresh and innovative. But now, that type of thing is common, making the film feel like a pretty standard cop movie. That's not to say it's all bad though, as the film brilliantly displays the dark, dank underbelly of Tokyo quite nicely. The cinematography especially is, strangely enough, quite beautiful despite the gloomy/depressing atmosphere. Scott's direction also helps in this regard, showing off the film's style the same way he did in BLADE RUNNER.

Acting-wise, the film is littered with great performances all around. For Michael Douglas though, that's part of the problem. His character just isn't likable or sympathetic. He's basically a back-talking asshole, and not the kind that makes you want to root for them (read: Mel Gibson in PAYBACK). By playing his character well, all Douglas does is make us care about him less and less. And seeing as he's in the leading role, that's a pretty big problem. His love interest is just as lame - a stupid and unnecessary addition to the story that only takes up time (and the movie's already a bit too long as is). The only two characters I actually gave even the slightest shits about were Charlie Vincent (the friendly, smooth-talking partner, played by Andy Garcia) and Masahiro Matsumoto (the by-the-books Japanese detective, played by Ken Takakura).

While certainly better than your run-of-the-mill cop movie, I still can't find all that much worth recommending in BLACK RAIN. It's very well made, and looks beautiful, but it doesn't even come close to some of Ridley Scott's other productions. I can see why other people might love this film, but to me it just felt a little dated.
THE EXTRAS
Fans of the movie will be pleased, as the special features on this disc are very informative, and cover plenty of ground for the making of the film.

Commentary (with director Ridley Scott): Scott delves quickly and deeply into the making of the film, constantly releasing tidbit upon tidbit of information concerning near every scene. His voice sounds fairly monotone, so the track isn't exactly lively, but for anyone looking to learn as much about BLACK RAIN as possible then this is a must listen.

The Script, The Cast (20:22): The title says it all, as this making-of featurette goes over the pre-production stages for BLACK RAIN. All of the major cast and crew speak their piece about how they became involved in the film, and what they thought of the script. Somewhat interesting.

Making the Film: Part 1 and Part 2 (37:52): A very interesting featurette, covering extensive ground concerning the making of the film. Both cast and crew discuss various complications of filming, authenticity of the script, influences regarding the film's look, how the action scenes were filmed, etc. Definitely worth a look for all fans.

Post Production (12:25): This is pretty much more of the same, except in regard to the movie's final stages (the score by Hans Zimmer, editing down the long length of the film, etc.). It also goes over the poor reception the film received on its release, but how it was well recognized in Japan. Worth a look.

Also included is the Theatrical Trailer.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
If you're a fan of 80's movies, with that trademark style and background music, then BLACK RAIN might be worth your time. And for those that have already seen and loved it, then this brand-spanking new Special Edition is definitely your time (enhanced video/audio, and a solid amount of special features). Honestly though, I only mildly enjoyed the film. While I loved the bleak, atmospheric visuals, I found the lead character unsympathetic and annoying, and the story bland and formulaic. If you haven't seen it, rent it first.
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