Black Rain, Blu-ray (1989), Special Collectors’ Edition

by | May 13, 2007 | DVD & Blu-ray Video Reviews | 0 comments

Black Rain, Blu-ray (1989), Special Collectors’ Edition

Starring: Michael Douglas, Andy Garcia, Ken Takakura, Kate Capshaw
Directed by: Ridley Scott
Studio: Paramount 32220
Video: 1080p HD 16:9 enhanced
Audio: English EX Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS 5.1, French DD 5.1, Spanish DD 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, English, Spanish, French
Extras: Commentary by director Ridley Scott, “Black Rain The Script, The Cast; Making the Film – Parts 1 & 2; Post Production featurette; Theatrical trailer in HD
Length: 125 Min.
Rating: ****

This crime thriller was nominated for an Academy Award. Itn created some controversy over accusations that it had a racist slant to its story of two NYC-based detectives chasing a cold-blooded Japanese Yakusa killer back to Japa and a battle between two Yakusa clans there. The cop played by Michael Douglas is already under indictment for failing to fess up about alleged theft of cash evidence by one of his struggling fellow cops. In Japan, a multitude of challenges face the two cops (and according to the extras a multitude of challenges face the filmmakers there as well).  The prisoner is picked up by his own men masquerading as the Japanese police officials and Douglas is saddled with the accusations that he lost the prisoner. Together with his partner and the at first-reluctant assistance of a Japanese detective they fight to recapture the Yakusa killer.  Differences of approach between Western and Eastern law enforcement causes many hurdles in their efforts. The film’s title refers to the hellish weather conditions following the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Ridley Scott likes to include light sources in many of his images, and the predominance of florescent fixtures in large Japanese cities fits into his approach well. The transfer preserves the many details in the shadow areas of the images; there are many very dark images in scenes in the film, but important details in the dark areas come across well. The soundtrack is also crisp on the dialog and revealing on the acoustic effects in various environments.  The only sour note is the exaggerated sounds of fists hitting bodies in the fight scenes – just too loud to be believable.

 – John Sunier

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