Michael Douglas is a familiar figures: The Hard-Bitten Cop Who Plays By His Own Rules. He is currently under investigation by Internal Affairs. When he and partner Andy Garcia witness a Yakuza killing and nab the killer, they are tasked with escorting him back to Japan. They have barely landed when they lose him, and are pared up with straight-arrow Osaka cop Ken Takakura in the search to track the villain down again. Douglas and Takakura, as expected, engage in considerable culture clashing.
This is one of Ridley Scott’s lesser films. It’s entertaining, moves at a good clip, and is nice to look at (there’s a moment of utterly surreal beauty where Douglas is talking with Yakuza members in a pre-dawn rural setting). But the cultural stereotyping is a bit much, and the mystery is handled in rather cursory fashion, especially its resolution. Fun, then, but flawed and slight.
Composer Hans Zimmer is the master of big bombast, and his score has been given a mix that is suitable room-filling. The surround effects are terrific, with excellent placement, and a continuous sense of environment (especially when it comes to the street noises of New York and Osaka). The dialogue is occasionally hit by a bit of distortion, but not enough to ruin the experience.
This is a film that could easily look murky given an unsuitable transfer, given that the colours, though rich, and very much on the dark side of the palette. That pitfall is avoided here (just). The print is in fine shape, and there is no grain, damage, or visible edge enhancement. The image is sharp, too.
Ridley Scott is as articulate, informative and thoughtful as ever on his commentary track. The four featurettes – “The Script, The Cast,” “Making the Film” (Parts 1 & 2) and “Post-Production” – are really one longer feature split up, but whatever the case, they are solid pieces of work. The theatrical trailer is here, but I’m disappointed this isn’t the trailer that had the ridiculously meaningless catch phrase about how “justice falls, like black rain” (??!).
Nothing new to the audio or video on this release, but the extras are solid. Enough to warrant a second purchase? Likely not. A first? Why not.
Special Features List
- Director’s Commentary
- 4-Part Making-of Feature
- Theatrical Trailer