Black Rain (1989): Ridley Scott Violent Thriller Starring Michael Douglas

Ridley Scott’s violent thriller, Black Rain, starring Michael Douglas, was nominated for two Oscar Awards but lost in both categories.

Michael Douglas, on the heels of his Oscar for “Wall Street” and smash hit “Fatal Attraction,” plays with commanding authority New York City cop Nick Conklin.  Suspected by his superiors for allegedly dipping into confiscated drug money, he expects no sympathy from his former wife, who is demanding her alimony.

However, he gets a chance to redeem himself when he is assigned to escort Japanese mob boss Yusaku Matsuda back to his country to stand trial.

Upon arriving in Osaka, Douglas and his partner Charlie Vincent (Andy Garcia, then rising star, and soon to be appearing in Coppola’s “The Godafther, Part III”) are tricked into releasing their prisoner.

In conflict with both the U.S. and Japanese police authorities, Conklin is forced to deal with the Yakuza-the Japanese equivalent of the Mafia in order to retrieve the elusive Sato (Yusako Matsuda).

Culture clash: For a while, the tale, unevenly scripted by Craig Bolotin and Warren Lewis, is engaging due to its detailed portrait of the differnet  methods using by the police forces of the two countries.

At the time, some critics complain that Japan looks in this picture very much like a futuristic L.A., perhaps a result of Ridley Scott’s dark sci-fi, the noir cult picture “Blade Runner.”

Others felt that the portraiture of the Japanese is stereotypical and even racist, even all ared about the high-quality of acting of Ken Takakura.

You can spot in small part Kate Capshow (later better known as Mrs. Steven Spielberg) as an American bar girl, who caters to Japanese businessmen.

Oscar Nominations: 2

Sound: Donald O. Mitchell, Kevin O’Connell, Greg P. Russell, Keith A. Wester

Sound Effects Editing: Milton C. Burrow and William Manger


Oscar Awards: None

Oscar Context:

Ridley Scott’s thriller, starring Michael Douglas, lost in both categories.

The Sound Oscar went to Edward Zwick’s “Glory.”

The Sound Effects Editing Oscar to Spielberg’s “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.”



MPAA Rating: R.

Running time: 125 Minutes.

Directed by Ridley Scott.

Screenplay: Craig Bolotin and Warren Lewis.

DVD: Feb 16, 1999



Michael Douglas as Nick Conklin

Andy Garcia as Charlie Vincent

Ken Takakura as Mashahiro Matsumoto

Kate Capshaw as Joyce Kingsley

Yusaku Matsuda as Sato

Shigeru Koyama as Ohashi