Cast: John Rain (Kippei Shiina), William Holtzer (Gary Oldman), Midori Kawamura (Kyoko Kasegawa), Yuko (Misa Shimizu), Thomas Perryman (Dirk Hunter), Tatsu Ishikura (Akira Emoto)
Director: Max Mannix
Theatrical release: 04/25/2009 (Japan)
DVD Date: 05/25/2010
Running Time: 111 minutes
Note(s): Adapted from the novel Rain Fall by Barry Eisler.
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Review: This may seem like a strange thing for me to say, but there's actually too much mystery in Rain Drop, a thriller that spends its opening 30-40 minutes or so simply confusing the viewer -- or, at the very least, confusing me -- rather than setting up a story to follow. I'll add that I haven't read the novel, the first in a series to feature John Rain, from which this screenplay was adapted, so I can't say how faithful -- or not -- the film is to the book.
Kippei Shiina stars as John Rain, an assassin -- working for whom, we're never quite sure -- who is on the trail of a government flash drive on which is copied information that is wanted by the political opposition, the police, the CIA, and the Yakuza (the Japanese mob). It's never made quite clear why everyone is after this information; indeed, three government ministers have died of "natural causes" over the past 18 months, all presumably associated with this information, all killed (I'm guessing) by Rain, who specializes in assassinating people and making it look like they died a natural death. Rain, though, is portrayed as the innocent bystander in all this, pursued himself because everyone thinks he has the drive, though I could be wrong about that. Each party in the chase -- including the dead men -- seems to have an illicit tie to an individual in another party, adding to the confusion ... which no doubt is intended to substitute for suspense. Well into the second half of the film, after an investigative reporter is killed -- Rain is innocent of this one! -- the "whydunit" is made note of, but this is far too late to matter.
Gary Oldman stars as William Holtzer, a CIA agent managing an office in Tokyo. He spends most of his time yelling at his subordinates and provoking the displeasure of some local female agent, who seems to be on par with him organizationally, but does little more than "tsk tsk" him during his frequent rants.
There is, of course, a silly romantic subplot between Rain and the daughter of one of the dead ministers. Though it would seem he is the greater threat to her, what with having killed her father and all, he does offer to protect her from those he says are trying to kill her. "You were too busy feeling sorry for yourself, you didn't even notice him [on your tail]," he tells her. "Do you understand how dangerous this is?"
The film finally comes to what seems to be a natural, if not entirely logical, conclusion, but no, it's not over yet. It continues with some personal, completely unrelated flashbacks and then inexplicably jumps to a scene set in a tough guy bar in New York City ... and then abruptly ends. I was absolutely baffled.
Somewhere in this tangled mess there may actually be a credible, interesting thriller of a film. But as it is there are too many rapidly cut action scenes interwoven with too many long dialog scenes -- most notably those in which the police detective investigating the ministers' deaths appears ... even so, I thought he was one of the more interesting characters in the film -- and not enough transition scenes to hold everything together in a coherent manner.
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