Saturday, September 17, 2016

Film Pairing — Off To The Land Of The Rising Sun and Ken Takahura

Tired of American gangsters? Board a jet in the comfort of your own residence and travel across the Pacific to watch American cops track down Japanese criminals in their own land.  Both are older films; but they hold up very well.

Black Rain — In this 1989 Ridley Scott-directed film two New York cops, played y Michael Douglas and Andy Garcia are assigned to take a Japanese criminal back to Japan.  He escapes and the Americans decide they must track him down despite all the language and cultural barriers.  Douglas does well as the ugly American and Andy Garcia does equally well as the charming sidekick as they sink deeper into the world of the yakuza, the Japanese mafia.  The real star is the subdued Ken Takahura who is assigned to reign in the two rowdy and initially out-of-their depth American policemen.  Black Rain makes for a nice evening of quality escapist action.

The Yakuza — Before there was Black Rain there was The Yakuza. Not exactly heralded when it was released in 1974, the film noir directed by Sydney Pollack has more than redeemed itself. The plot is relatively complicated, but introduces the audience to the intricacies of Japanese culture as well as residue from World War II and the ongoing influence of the yakuza. This is an intelligent thriller, with all the violence that goes with it. Robert Mitchum plays a slightly aging, retired police detective who travels to Japan to help an old friend rescue his kidnapped daughter. Paul and Leonard Schrader wrote the screenplay with help from Robert Towne. A younger Ken Takahura is outstanding in a principal role.  Brian Keith and James Shigeta are also featured.

To augment your viewing pleasure – Saki. Cold or warm. For many of us westerners  who have no idea how varied Saki may be, it’s worth investigating.  For those who avoid alcohol, nothing wrong with a plum spritzer. Just remember, it’s a pretty tough night on screen.

1 comment:

the Tao of Teri said...

James Shigeta? Oh, be still my heart! I toast his memory with a cold Asahi. Well, a bubble tea, anyway.