STALLONE! NORRIS! BRONSON! D-Douglas…?
Yeah, okay, he’s better known for nosediving into Sharon Stone’s pubic briar patch than
droppin’ bad guys with a snub-nosed. It’s never too late to find yourself. *Ahem* In
the unemployment line, but let’s not mince words on the subject of 1989’s Ridley Scott
celluloid symphony: Steeped in Tokyo neon and swimming in ’80s
synthesizer, next to the testostero-kinetic sherman tank that is COBRA… Black Rain may
well be the most sleek, stylish, balls-out, unrepentently ’80s action movie ever burned
to a piece of film. How unrepentently ’80s, you inquire?
Watch, and marvel at the inadequacy of the 21st century! And, yes, perched behind the Casio for this film’s soundtrack is the omnipresent
‘Hans Zimmer’, at least 2 decades prior to forgetting that film soundtracks… can have
more than two fucking notes! And whatever orifice goes unpenetrated by
the neon pink phallus of this film’s opening… Black Rain’s COVER… is ready and willing
to fucking defile! BOSS Mullet? Check. Leather jacket? CHECK.
Half-burned cigarette? Badass motorcycle? AVIATOR GODDAMN SUNGLASSES? Check, Check,
and more check! If after beholding the majesty that is this box cover, you aren’t currently
browsing amazon to purchase this film… we cannot possibly be friends.
How do you perfect perfection? By opening up the film with a goddamn motorcycle race!
As gorgeous as it is gratuitous, it contributes less than nothing to the plot… and if you
dare to cut it out of this film… I will cut you out of the kingdom of man. Does Michael
Douglas win? Irrelevant. The man monged on Sharon Stone’s slatchtrap in her prime. He
wins at life. Fuck the motorcycle race and fuck you too!
After which, the… following scene depicts Michael Douglas dropping his kids off after
a court-ordered visit. But does this drain even an ounce of Nicky Conklin’s badassery?
FUCK no! Kids come from fuckin’ broads! And Michael Douglas gets more gash than a manic
depressive in a razorblade foundry. Unfortunately, children also mean expensive body disposal
fee– *ahem* BILLS. Yes… yes, b-bills. So it turns out Major Mullet has been skimming
what little cream he didn’t leave inside Sharon Stone.
“We did the math, ‘hero’. You’re at least $1,000 a month in the hole. You’re into the
shylocks you’re taking.” “Hey, you wanna’ charge, okay, you CHARGE
me. You wanna’ jerk off, you go back to your office.”
“We’ll charge you. Someone’ll help us out. Nobody’s got a softer center than a dirty
cop.” “You want dirt?! You go to City Hall, huh?!
Or Police Plaza! The whole goddamn system’s fallin’ apart, and you’re bustin’ MY ASS?!!”
“Dammit! You’re lucky I don’t confiscate your badge and gun right now! I’m TELLING you,
Assy! You’re skating on VERY thin ice around here!”
“That sounds like the ice’s problem.” Nicky throws the feds off his scent by cozying
up in a Mob joint with the only partner who’s greasier than his meal. Within minutes, the
Yakuza stride in with a 9mm lesson in courtesy. After giving an old man a rubdown, one of
the mobsters reaches into his clothing, and yanks out his short, stubby, brown package.
Ha… Ha. The man’s name is Sato, but from here in,
I shall be referring to him as ‘crazy-eyes’. “JEEEEZUS!”
Needless to say, crazy-eyes promptly filéts the fucker like a side of dog. Jesus FUCK,
talk about unstable! Is this guy a mobster or a Japanese nuclear reactor? Nickie and
Charlie are having none of it, however, and proceed to pluggin’ these motherfuckers. They
make a daring escape of 20 entire yards before doing their best possible Nick Hogan impression.
Sato flees into a New York City slaughterhouse… presumably to escape the stench of hobo urine,
with Nicky in hot pursuit and– Sato- SATO! His name is Douglas, not Carradine!
Charlie shows up with the cavalry just in time for foreplay, and then– “Ohhhh… ma… OHHHHH… You– YOU’RE GONNA’
DIIIEEE!!” They haul crazy-eyes in for murder, but before
the inmates at Riker’s can even assign him a bitch name, the Japanese embassy demands
he be tried by the same Japanese Justice System that allows Issei Sagawa – a convicted serial
killer and professed cannibal – to walk fucking free!
Well, shit, how could this possibly go wrong?! Nicky does, however, secure the right to lug
his ass back to Japan, along with the opportunity to do this:
“What happened, Nick?” “I dunno’, man. He got a– he bit his lip
or somethin’… Your seat belt tight for you?” …before lingering on a camera shot so ’80s,
it full-on drops to its fuckin’ knees and begs to be accompanied by a keytar riff!
[Keytar Riff blares] Upon arriving in Osaka, the police promptly
abscond with Crazy-Eyes… OR DO THEY?!?! “Detective Conklin? I am Inspector Yamada,
Osaka Prefecture–” “Son of a BITCH!”
Nicky and Charlie leg it on over to the local station for an audience with the division
chief, where the only police blockades are evidently of the language variety.
“I just hope they’ve got a Nip in this building who speaks fuckin’ English!”
“Inspector Matsumoto Masuhiro, Criminal Investigations Section, Osaka Prefecture of Police… and
I DO speak fuckin’English.” Okay then!
Given that the prisoner was never officially signed into Japanese custody, it turns out
it’s still technically Nicky’s case, which cannot possibly be the way criminal justice
actually works! On the mean streets of Osaka, Japan, Nicky investigates a recent crime scene
while Ridley Scott forgets he isn’t filming Blade Runner!
“The superintendent thanks you very much.I’ve been ordered to escort you back to your hotel.”
“I usually get kissed… BEFORE… I get fucked.” [Keytar riff blares]
While Hans Zimmer reacquaints himself with his synthesizer, Nicky spots Joyce, or alternately,
the lone character in this film that isn’t shot entirely in sihouette!
“You see, there’s a war going on, here, and they don’t take prisoners.”
“What are you talkin’ about?” “…between Sato and an old-time boss. A guy
named ‘Sugai’.” “Who knows about this?”
“Counting you and me? Eleven million.” [Keytar riff blares]
Damn. That’s almost an entire Mormon family. Which perhaps explains why, upon returning
to the streets of L.A., circa 2019, Michael Douglas has slipped into his moody-pants.
“Let’s go,Charlie.Come on!” “You will have a long walk home.”
“Fine. If I get lost, we’ll call a COP!” “OHHHHHHHHHHHH!!! That motha–”
“Oh! That one parkin’ up my butthole!” With Nicky obviously being visited by his
‘Aunt Flo’, He and Chaz elect to meander alone down what has to be the only abandoned stretch
of sidewalk on the entire Japanese mainland. At which point, a gaggle of grown-ass men
on flimsy, fiberglass crotch-rockets materialize from the mists of ’80s special effects, and
drive around them in a semi-circle, hooping like Xena: Warrior Princess, with Party City
novelty flags flapping in the breeze behind them! Before bugging out so quickly, you’d
swear they just attacked a naval installation. Apparently, rageaholics: This is what a motorcycle
gang looked like in 1980’s Osaka. To think: People actually question Japan’s masculinity!
Back at the police station where competence goes to die, Nicky and Chaz spot what appears
to be a SWAT raid in the making, and decide their belligerence, chain-smoking and complete
ignorance of Japanese language and culture leaves them uniquely qualified to tag along.
Busting in on a Yakuza bath house, Nicky spots a familiar dumpy, diaper-bedecked homunculus
from the airport and performs an interrogation as only he can.
“Hi, sweetheart. You remember me, don’t you?” “I only wanna’ talk to the man for five minutes!
That’s all I wanna’ do…!” “You must learn patience!”
“Oh, FUCK patience.” [Keytar riff blares]
In the aftermath, they discover crisp currency from at least three separate countries, including
U.S. dollars, y’know… back when those were worth the paper they were printed on. Which,
upon palming a few from the table behind the chief’s back while he’s busy gargling with
cement, it turns out is exactly what they’re printed on. When he happens upon Masumoto
practicing his fencing, y’know… for all those Japanese swordfights you so frequently
saw in an ’80s urban environment. “I will have no more to do with you. You have
dishonored me and our department. I saw you take the money.”
“It’s you and your self-righteous BULLSHIT, man, that’s gonna’ cost me my goddamn job!
Hey– Hey, I’m talkin’ to you!” “If you pull it… you’d better use it.”
[Keytar Riff Wails] After explaining to Matsumoto and the chief
that the bills were phonier than Anita Sarkeesian’s gaming credentials… this shit happens.
“You guys have got a Counterfeiting War going on, and YOU, pal… should talk to your partner
before you go to the suits, okay? So fuck you very much!”
[Keytar Riff Wails] …after a bar scene that’s a painful as…
well, as any evening of karaoke, Nicky and Chaz head back to their hotel, where Charlie
remembers it’s the second act in an ’80s action film, and therefore time for the portagonist’s
partner to die. “You wanna’ play? You an’ me. Come on! COME
ON! Right here! Come on! Come on! That’s it– that’s it! Come on! Right here! HEY! FUCK!”
“Good, Charlie! Haha!” “It’s got my fuckin’ passport! Come here,
you little fuck!” “Ah, Jesus Christ…”
The mysterious biker calls for reinforcements velociraptor-style, wherein it’s revealed
that the architect behind the coat-theft was none other than Crazy-Eyes himself. And, well
FUCK the shit I said about urban swordfights, because I believe we can all see shit’s about
to get decidedly real. “GET OUT OF THERE!”
“CHAAARRLIIIIIIIIIIEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!” In the surprise of the microsecond, Charlie’s
neck and skull have a parting of the ways. Still, somehow less violent than Charlie Sheen’s
last three break-ups, and much like the aforementioned Estevez progeny, Nicky’s solution is to crawl
inside a bottle of booze, which is in turn located in a leggy blonde’s vagina. Masumoto
swings by to offer his respects, and, as a matter of Japanese tradition, offer him exactly
one item of the departed’s property. Leading to perhaps the most Blood Dragon moment outside
of playing motherfucking Blood Dragon! “I can take… anything I want?”
“Anything.” You are now pregnant with this film’s child.
“I want to go back… to Sato’s hideout, okay? Just you and me.”
Back at the bad guys’ hideout, Black Rain checks yet another box that all great action
films must, when it’s revealed that the two warring oyabun are holed up in a factory whose
chief export appears to be hot lava, sparks, and murder.
Tailing Crazy-eyes from the meeting, the home-viewing audience learn that the only thing better
than a shootout… or a chase scene… is a shootout that turns into a chase scene!
…and I’m just thinking out loud, here, but… do bikers spontaneously erupt into flame when
shot in the chest, or is that just an Osaka thing?
With Michael Douglas’s attempts to corner Crazy-Eyes coming up shorter than… well,
than Michael Douglas, he strikes a deal with the rival oyabun, to ambush and murder the
shitbag as he returns from a yakuza pinkie-snipping. This, my friends, is when Black Rain takes
a turn for the badass. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaand Japan is gone.
No, seriously, handing Michael Douglas a shotgun, seven shells and a license to kill is like
handing Mel Gibson a case of smirnoff, an SUV and a Nazi armband. Why not just rename
this guy’s biceps ‘fat man’ and ‘little boy’, while you’re at it?
Of course, Sugai’s double-cross soon becomes a triple-cross, when Crazy-Eyes disguises
his own agents as rice farmers in an attempt to take over the entire Yakuza. And then?
SHIT BLOWS UP! Sato flees on – YOU GUESSED IT – a goddamn
motorcycle! You know… if you consider a Suzuki to actually be a motorcycle. After
a well-shot, but otherwise lackluster motorbike chase that barely registers on our scale from
1-to-Death Race, Michael Douglas thunders ahead and trips his candy ass quarry for a
proper, hand-to-hand confrontation that lends personification to the phrase ‘Be Careful
What You Goddamn WISH FOR, MICHAEL DOUGLAS!’ Like all asian antagonists in western films,
Sato implicitly knows kung-fuckin’-fu! Oh, but you know that shit ain’t gonna’ stand.
Rageaholics, I will now cease with the speechifyin’ because it is goddamned imperative that you
absorb Michael Douglas’s comeback in all its keytar-drenched motherfucking MAJESTY!
Michael Douglas pounds this asshat like a black man in L.A. on a routine traffic stop!
With the pendulum swinging wider than Michael Douglas’s balls, and decidedly in ‘murica’s
favor, he grips the fucker… he carries him to a conveniently-placed, perfectly impale-ready
spike aaaaaaaaand… Oh, you have got to be shitting me! You had
this prick 5 feet from a pre-made Mortal Kombat fatality! ‘Down, Down, Up, High Punch’, bitch!
Japan and speaks fluent Japanese, allow me to translate:
Black Rain is a ‘cliché ’80s action film’
in which all the partners don’t die, the main character doesn’t get the girl, and where
the movie doesn’t conclude with the antagonist exploded, impaled, or ground up in anything!
Look, I won’t pretend Black Rain is the finest film Ridley Scott has produced. It’s no Alien
and it’s no Blade Runner. But its inky, painterly aesthetic, flagrant machismo, and raw ’80s
style set it well apart from the rank and file action picture.
Rock this movie like Michael Douglas rocks a mullet and fucking aviators!
I’m RazörFist! どうぞよろしくお願いします。