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Black Rain is a 1989 American action-thriller film starring Michael Douglas, Andy Garcia, Ken Takakura, Kate Capshaw and Yusaku Matsuda. The film was directed by Ridley Scott.
Detective Nick Conklin didn't need any more complications in his life. His ex-wife, the alimony payments, the rest of his bills, his kids, the occasional motorcycle street race and the Internal Affairs department investigating him for corruption were more than enough to keep him busy. But things really got interesting one day when he was eating lunch with his partner Charlie, and they happen to look over and see a known Mafia capo eating lunch and doing business with some Japanese gentlemen. Then a second group of Japanese men come into the restaurant, kill that first group, then flee. Nick and Charlie go after them, and after a tough chase that nearly costs Nick his life, they manage to bring the leader in.
It turns out the guy they caught is called Sato, and he's a notorious member of the Yakuza who is at the top of the wanted lists back in Japan. To get Nick out of the way of the IA investigation, and let him clear his head, their captain has Nick and Charlie escort Sato back to Osaka. Before they're even off the plane, they are met by a couple of detectives who take Sato off their hands. Looks like it's time to relax and take it easy on a nice little vacation... and then about a minute later the real detectives show up looking for Sato. Turns out those other guys were Sato's men.
Desperate not to give further fuel to IA, (and maybe to just do something right) Nick insists on staying in Japan to assist the Japanese police catch Sato. (Not that most of the local cops want anything to do with the pair of them). Older detective Masahiro Masamoto becomes their guide as they get drawn deeper and deeper into the Yakuza's underworld, an underworld which is on the brink of a major confrontation...
The film was nominated for Oscars in Best Sound and Best Sound Effects Editing. Trailer.
Compare with The Yakuza, a Sydney Pollack film with a similar plot but a different take on themes.
Not to be confused with the Masuji Ibuse novel of the same name.
Tropes associated with this work:
- Anti-Hero: Nick, Type IV or V. He is xenophobic, violent, semi-alcoholic and he has also illegaly stolen some drug money but we see him trying to do the right thing throughout the film and he has his better side too.
- Badass Biker: Nick himself is one, and Sato just happens to lead a gang of them.
- By-The-Book Cop: Mas.
- Chekhov's Skill: Motorcycle racing shows up again at the end
- Counterfeit Cash: The basis of the Yakuza plan, counterfeit American money.
- Cowboy Cop: Nick.
- Culture Clash: You better believe it.
- Dirty Cop: Nick really is stealing money.
- The Don: Sugai.
- Eagle Land: Apparently the Japanese believe in this stereotype, and it shows in their scorn towards the protagonists.
- Enemy Mine: Nick and Sugai make a deal in order to take down Sato.
- Even Evil Has Standards: The traditional yakuza despise Sato's methods and attitude, leading to the Enemy Mine above.
- Fish Out of Water
- Funny Foreigners: The American cops are this to the Japanese. In particular, a couple of girls in a nightclub are very amused by Nick and Charlie getting tricked.
- Fun with Foreign Languages
- Good Old Fisticuffs: Nick's style of fighting.
- Fighting Dirty: Nick's other fighting style.
- The Heart: Charlie.
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Subverted. At the end of the final fight Nick is clearly considering doing this to Sato, and Sato's look seems to indicate that he expects Nick to do so. However, the scene cut shows Nick bringing Sato into the police precinct.
- Internal Affairs: They've been busting Nick's friends, and now they're hot on his trail too.
- It's Personal
- Life of the Party: Charlie.
- The Mafia: Very brief appearance in the beginning of the film, making a deal with some Yakuza.
- Mighty Whitey: Although Nick comes off as uncouth, completely out of his depth in Japan and so on, he takes down Sato virtually singlehanded, while all Japanese cops except Mas come off as useless, Obstructive Bureaucrats who haven't been able to do anything useful the whole time. (Or even before the movie started, for that matter).
- Mob War
- Motive Rant: Sugai gives a calm but anger filled one about why he despises America and is Yakuza.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Nick and Charlie think they're delivering a notorious criminal into custody, but they're actually playing right into his plans and he ends up going free. The rest of the movie is spent trying to fix this.
- Noble Bigot with a Badge: Nick shows some xenophobia, but he gets better.
- Police Are Useless
- Re Cut: There are rumors of a director's cut that adds on about half an hour to the movie.
- Sacrificial Lion: Charlie
- Tactful Translation: Charlie tries to soften Nick's words on occasion.
- Title Drop:
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.
- With This Herring: Nick and Charlie's guns are confiscated when they arrive in Japan. They then proceed to take on the Japanese underworld.
- Yubitsume: The villain does it, remarkably. It also has some plot relevance, as the fresh injury bothers Sato in his last fight with Nick.