A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Overcoming cultural differences. Working well as a team. Fighting crime and bringing people to justice.
Positive Role Models
Nick Conklin is hard working and dedicated to his job as a police officer, but struggles with his professional and personal relationships. He can be dishonest, selfish, and disrespectful to people, despite caring about others. Masahiro struggles with Conklin's tendencies and can be critical of U.S. culture, but works with him to fight crime while Conklin is in Japan.
The movie's story takes place in the U.S. and Japan. Ethnic diversity in main cast. Very few female characters. More than one language spoken. Discussion of Japan's honor system and culture, but characters from one culture can be dismissive of their international colleagues. White male directing and writing team.
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Violence & Scariness
Character stabbed, another has their throat slit, one is beheaded. Bloody fatal injuries, but no gore. Shootouts with pistols and semi-automatic weapons. Punches, kicks, headbutts in scuffles. Dead bodies shown at crime scene. Kendo martial arts fighting with sticks.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
References to sex. Characters shown in underwear at bath house.
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Language used includes "f---ing," "goddamn," "bastard," "s--t," "son of a bitch," "d--k," "ass," "a--hole," "bitch," "bulls--t," "f--k," "d--khead," and "s--tstorm." "Jesus Christ" used as an exclamation. "Nip" used as a racist term for Japanese people.
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Products & Purchases
Discussion of money, spending, alleged police corruption, and bribery. Characters spend money on designer watches, private school fees. Items' value judged by their prices. Storyline about counterfeiting currency.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters drink alcohol, including during the day while on duty. Some mild inebriation shown. Characters smoke cigarettes. Reference to alcoholism.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Black Rain is a 1980s crime thriller with bloody violence and strong language including racist slurs. Michael Douglas plays U.S. cop Nick Conklin who travels to Japan with fellow detective Charlie Vincent (Andy Garcia), where they encounter underworld figures while trying to bring a killer to justice. Conklin is skilled at his job but frequently clashes with his Japanese colleague Masahiro (Ken Takakura) about both their different approaches to their police work and how their respective countries work. There are several bloody deaths as gangsters murder various people. Fights with knives and guns happen on more than one occasion, with characters shown after they've had their throats slit, been shot, and even beheaded. The bloody injury detail is usually brief, though. Language is fairly constant with multiple variations on "f--k" and "s--t" used throughout. There is also one use of racist language toward a Japanese character. Smoking and drinking are occasional, but some drunkenness is depicted and there are references to alcoholism. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Loosely part of the 1980s genre of odd-couple crime movies, this is an ambitious if cliched attempt to bring together the worlds of American and Japanese policing with some high-stakes shootouts. As Black Rain's antihero cop Nick Conklin, Douglas must battle some predictable tropes (a failed marriage, too much drinking, and allegations of corruption) as well as what turns out to be some formidable foes from the Japanese underworld. Transplanting the bulk of the story to Osaka doesn't create any space for new ideas, sadly, but Garcia puts in an enjoyable performance as Charlie Vincent, Nick's puppyish partner who's along for the ride.
How Conklin "gets results" doesn't leave much to the imagination, either. But director Ridley Scott capably directs the action through two countries where the women are conspicuous by their absence. This dates Black Rain more than anything, meaning it's unlikely anyone who didn't see this 1989 thriller the first time around will be missing much, unless they're Douglas or Scott completists.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.