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Rated 3 stars
by 226 people

ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Smoke and Mirrors
by Richard Jack Smith

So much potential lost forever. Like Ridley Scottís unimpressive debut The Duellists, this director finds himself on shallow ground with Black Rain, a cross-cultural detective thriller where time slowly ticks away.

Policemen Nick Conklin (Michael Douglas) and Charlie Vincent (Andy Garcia) lose their collar in Japan, so the former thinks they should stick around. Unfortunately, Charlie loses his head (literally) which spurs the remaining cop on a path towards vengeance.

I can appreciate Scottís style, meandering or not. However, this smoke and mirrors job reveals no fire! The most memorable scene, featuring two cops singing in a nightclub, overshadows the rest of the proceedings. As for the denouement, itís a five-minute fascination.

Composer Hans Zimmer didnít truly break out into the big time until K2 and Backdraft a few years later. Therefore, Black Rain illustrates his fondness for easy rhythms, synthesizers and lack of hummable themes.

Admittedly, the production design and lighting are show-stoppers. Yet, more attention should be devoted to narrative shadings. (Capsule review.)

(Released by Paramount Pictures and rated "R" by MPAA.)

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