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September 22, 1989 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1989-09-22

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Page 8 -The MichiganDaily - Friday, September 22, 1989
Pacino &








He is the host at a "Meet the New
York Yankees" breakfast. He greets
some shady-looking characters as
they file in and take seats in the de-
caying old gymnasium. When they're
all seated, he takes the stage and tells
them he has some good news and
some bad news. He speaks with his
cqcky New York accent: "The bad
news is that the Yankees can't make
it today and we have outstanding war-
rants out on all of you. You're under
arrest." At that, 20 undercover cops
storm into the gym with handcuffs.
The good news? Before they go to
jail, a big bottle of vodka is passed
He makes motion pictures, or
beaks them. He can be a dynamic
piesence or an obvious void. He's
back to big films; this one is Sea of
Lgve. Pacino as the cop - the two
seem synonymous. Scarecrow, Ser-
pgo, Cruising - quite a resume for
ao established cop actor.
This time it's a serial murderer on

orms Sea
the streets. Two men have been
found naked, face-down in bed, shot
through the head, one in Queens, one
downtown. Clues are sketchy, leads
nonexistent. But Pacino's on the job,
no need to worry. His partner,
Rosanne's own John Goodman, is a
great co-star. His mixture of comedy
and confidence round out his character
in a big way.
They find out that the dead guys
were advertising in the personals.
One thing leads to another and
Pacino and Goodman find themselves
swamped with women answering
their bait ad; the wining and dining
cops try to find the one among them
responsible for these killings. Ellen
Barkin answers the ad and is initially
turned off by the gritty, undercover
Pacino. A day later, he becomes
Rudolph Valentino.
Never a charmer, but always
charming, Pacino begins his affair
with Barkin, while all the time she is
considered a suspect. At a posh
French restaurant, with a violinist
playing next to their table, an un-

of Love
nerved Pacino turns to Barkin and
says, "I feel like I got the London
Philharmonic up my ass." That's
Pacino - one-liners, tough-liners,
hard-liners. He can be funny and a
hero, too.
As the film progresses, director
Harold Becker (Vision Quest) tact-
fully increases the level of tension
and suspense. An eerie, yet pounding
musical score combined with some
ethereal lighting and filming tech-
niques create this building atmo-
sphere of uncertainty. But they're all
dressing up Pacino's role. He re-
mains the center of attention
throughout, and the production val-
ues in the film merely complement
his bigger-than-life presence.
Pacino plays a typical Pacino cop
with flair and experience. He's aged
well. His foul mouthed, hard-drink-
ing determination is his weapon in
this street war with the unknown
killer - whose identity will, in fact,
surprise you. He can make any film
with a reasonably interesting script if
he is cast well. Sea of Love is an in-
See SEA, page 10


Kate Capshaw and Michael Douglas are all business as he tracks a ruthless killer through the dark, seedy
streets of the Tokyo underworld.
Black Rain: A taste of Japan

The Motorcycle. Symbol of the renegade and the
free-spirited. Symbol of the powerful and the resource-
ful. As the sun rises on a new motion picture, a mo-
torcycle glides across the Brooklyn Bridge where, on
the docks at the other side, a high-speed cycle drag race
awaits. The driver eyes the scene; he is unshaven and
brash. He pulls out $50 that says he's fastest. He wins
the race, and not surprisingly, his opponent wipes out.
The helmet comes off and Michael Douglas gives us a
confident grin and heads for work. This is a cop?
In Black Rain, Michael Douglas is a renegade cop.
He drives a motorcycle and he hates suits (bureaucratic
cops in the police heirarchy). He's been called into an
inter-departmental hearing to investigate charges that he
stole money at the scene of a drug bust. Thus begins
this film - an unconventional cop on the legal ropes
finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Douglas (Fatal Attraction, Wall Street) plays Nick
Conklin, the down-and-out detective. He witnesses a
brutal assassination at a Greenwich Village cafe in
which two armed Japanese men enter, converse with a
group of older Japanese gentlemen eating lunch, and
then slit the throats of two of them. A chase ensues,
with Nick catching his man, getting into a fight with
him, and having his butt saved by his partner, Charlie
Vincent (Andy Garcia).
Nick and Charlie get the job of taking their man to
Tokyo where he is wanted for organized crime activi-
ties. But something goes wrong and the criminal, Sato
(Yusaku Matsuda), escapes with some police im-
posters. Nick and Charlie refuse to return to New York,
and insist on staying in Tokyo and hunting him down.
The plot of Black Rain presents some interesting pos-
sibilities. An American police story in a foreign envi-
ronment can result in some unusual situations as the
cop is taken off the turf he knows and transplanted into
a strange environment.
The two American cops are assigned to Detective

Masahiro Matsumoto (Ken Takakura) who becomes
their beleagured laison with the Tokyo police. Black
Rain becomes a study of cultural contrasts, not only in
crime-fighting menthods but in social behavior as well.
Charlie often finds himself trying to translate Nick's
constant American swearing which the Japanese, of
course, do not understand.
The film is also surprisingly critical of America.
"Music and movies is all America is good for," says
Matsumoto. Well, we'll be the judge of that.
Meanwhile, Nick, a renegade in New York, becomes a
renegade in Tokyo, turning his back on authority as all
successful movie cops do, pushing the bounderies of
reasonable crime fighting to the limit. As a result, he
becomes deeply involved in the gang war which is go-
ing on in the streets between Sato and his former aging l
boss, Sugai.
What stands out as exceptional in Black Rain is the
departure from the conventional cop-killer stories. Nick
Conklin is a cop who has committed wrongdoings in
the course of the job. How are we as the audience sup-
posed to react to such a revelation? His new-found
comrade in crime fighting, Matsumoto, deplores this
kind of behavior and makes Nick feel a little bad for his
Another interesting twist in Black Rain is the hos-
tile relationship between Nick and Sato, the killer.
They're both alike in many ways, and director Ridley
Scott (Alien, Blade Runner) makes their limited inter-
play especially fascinating, similar to the interplay be-
tween Harrison Ford and Rutger Hauer in Blade
Runner. They're both criminals, in a sense, both ruth-
less, both driven by an extraordinary determination.
Ridley is on top of the game throughout this film;
the action and interest in Black Rain rarely subside for
long. This picture of the underside of another culture is
an innovative and riveting approach in this film genre.
BLACK RAIN is now showing at Showcase Cinemas
and Briarwood.

Ellen Barkin and Al Pacino stay this close throughout most of the film. A Sea of Love could never
them, let alone a ray of light

come between

A WORLD ______

What is

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Friday, September 22 " 7:30 P.M.
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Antichrist and Four How to Escae
Mysterious Horsemen! the Dragon's Tail!
who will be able to stand? Or was it a tale?
Sunday. Sept 24 . 7:30 P.M. Friday. Sept. 29 " 7:30 P.M.

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