Slow Paced And Atmospheric Yakuza Film: A Masterpiece!
Ernest Jagger | Culver City, California | 10/18/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This review for "Rainy Dog," refers to the region 4 import. Hopefully this latest version of the film is of better quality. This is a Masterpiece of a film. Moreover, it is one of those mobster films where the realistic portrayal of the actors and the cinematography give the viewer a vivid and more realistic portrayal of the world of criminals. The cameras visuals of the rain drenched streets, grimy alleys, run down hotel rooms, dark alleys, and menacing hallways give off a gritty realism that you are actually experiencing the streets of Taipei, which is where the film takes place. ALL of the actors make this film a standout. Furthermore, the near continuous rainfall in the film almost give the viewer the feeling that they are actually in the film. You can also feel the sense of dread and fear in the characters as they all give riveting performances.
This is a true Masterpiece of a film. Most of the films I have seen dealing with the criminal underworld are usually set in a nice environment. Everything looks too clean. Not with this film. There are not the usual beautiful women in bikinis and crime bosses smoking cigars on their yachts. None of that silly and stylized type of film we are all too familiar with. No, this film deals with reality: At least as close as one can come to the reality of this dark world of killers. The film is drenched with an atmosphere of hate, betrayal, backstabbing, deceit, and sweat. And done so in a way that make the viewer believe that they are watching a documentary. It's almost as if the viewer is following an event in real time as the criminal world is being exposed. The films narrative centers on one killer in particular. His name is Yuuji (Sho Aikawa). And for Yuuji, being a killer is all he knows. Forget the romanticized killer the film industry most often than not gives the audience. Yuuji knows fear, and when trouble arises he can run away as fast as the bullets he shoots.
The action in the film is not the intense style one usually sees in most crime dramas. Here it is more restrained. Yuuji is a former yakuza who makes his living as a hit man in the criminal underworld in Taiwan. However, he has new responsibilities now--a young son. While one cannot sympathize with a character such as Yuuji, you cannot help but feeling a bit of empathy for him. How did he wind up where he is? What made him the man he is now? And can he change? More importantly, will he change? Yuuji must not only contend with his profession and his son in tow, but also with a man who cannot return to Japan until he has seen Yuuji dead. Actor Tomorawa Taguchi [who is depicted on this DVD case] has been in pursuit of Yuuji for some time. We see Yuuji run away from him in one scene--and wonder, why? Yuuji is a hit man. Why doesn't he just take him out? Or is it only about money? Only if the job pays? Or is there more to these two men.
There are not too many crime films I like. Sure, some are enjoyable or maybe have that mixture of great action thrown in. But there is something incredibly different with this film. IT FEELS SO REAL. You don't get the impression the actors are acting, but really are what they are. Director Takashi Miike pulled off an incredible job with this film. There are so many realistically portrayed scenes in this film that it would take pages to list them. Moreover, it would ruin the film for you. The first time I saw this film years ago, I knew it was good. And it has been very hard for me to like many crime films because I use this film as a measuring stick. Sure there are some great action films that I enjoy. But when it come to realism--this is the one. If there was ever a film that gave a better description of the mind of a killer and the criminal underworld--I haven't found it. This is the most un-Miike of Miike's films. Highly recommended."
Rainy Dog a fantastic movie
joe larkin | 06/12/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A fine articulate good movie about mobsters and horror you will ever see ever see The story is that Yuji carries out his business - shooting a mobster from a rival gang as he eats dinner with his family. After receiving his fee, he takes home a comely young hooker named Lily (Chen Xianmei). While they are getting to know one another, the boy sleeps on a piece of cardboard in the rain, snuggling up to a stray dog. Amused at the kid's tenacity, Yuji eventually throws the boy a towel. Later, Yuji stumbles upon a briefcase full of money while taking out a rival godfather. With the cash in hand, he plots to take Lily and the boy someplace better. In the meantime, the trio flees to an isolated beach in central Taiwan, hoping to escape the bloodthirsty gangster on their tail. Has sfantastic shot outs and one of the best horror movies I seen 5 stars exumondo ,fantastic a grand movie."
A Film That Shows Miike's Versatality
C. Sawin | TX | 11/22/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Rainy Dog introduces us to Yuuji, a yakuza hitman who lives in Taiwan. He mentions later on in the film that his grandma always told him that going out in the rain was bad luck and that couldn't be more true. Not too long after he received word from his brother that a hit was put on his former boss and was killed recently, a woman comes busting into his house while he's sleeping. She's brought a little mute boy named Ah Chen with her who she says is his son. She's taken care of him up until this point and he is now Yuuji's responsibility. Yuuji pretty much ignores Ah Chen and continues to carry out hits to pay the bills and even goes to a [......] house while Ah Chen tags along every step of the way. When the prostitute(Lily) he'd been spending time with says she'd like to go somewhere where it doesn't rain, Yuuji takes it a little too seriously and kills the wrong people in order to get a little extra cash. Now, trying to stay one step ahead of the boss he was working for in Taiwan and his men, Yuuji tries to get Lily and Ah Chen out of town but doesn't count on bonding with a prostitute and a mute to become a dysfunctional family of sorts.
Rainy Dog is part of Takashi Miike's Black Society Trilogy. Shinjuku Triad Society, Rainy Dog, and Ley Lines make up the entire trilogy. The main reason I'm writing this review is because if you're familiar with any of Miike's former works, then you're probably expecting the black humor, crazy sex, and over the top violence and gore you may have seen in films like Ichi the Killer, Visitor Q, or Audition. Well, this has none of that. Rainy Dog is still dark and has a great sense of atmosphere, but has none of the things you may have thought were signature of a Miike film. The heavy rain may not sound like a lot on paper, but its presence throughout the film adds more to the overall feel of the movie than you may think. This is a crime drama and while it could have still very easily attained that R rating, it still doesn't show a whole lot. It's actually what it doesn't show that helps get the point across. Sometimes it's just better to let the viewer use their imagination.
I'm a fan of Miike's work. I really am. I'm hearing this is the best of the Black Society Trilogy though and if that's the case, then I'm going to be a little disappointed. I enjoyed Rainy Dog, but I felt there was room for improvement since it did seem to drag in certain scenes. This is actually a more character driven effort with drama and heartfelt scenes, scenes you'd never think you'd see in a Miike film, and I'm all for the unexpected. Maybe I was just a little letdown though as I do like the over the top violence Miike is known best for.
Rainy Dog is not a bad film, by any means. In fact, I'd recommend seeing it. I actually heard people comparing it to Unforgiven and Leon the Professional, so you'll probably like this if you enjoyed either of those films. Some fans say this is in Miike's top three best films of all time. I wouldn't go that far, but it's definitely worth renting or owning if you like crime films.
Not your usual Miike...but great
LGwriter | Astoria, N.Y. United States | 09/20/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Atypical for Takashi Miike, this film, whose main character is a lone yakuza--and is thus a crime drama--eschews ferocious, nasty violence and instead focuses on the emotional elements of loss and abandonment. Exiled to Taiwan for a major screwup, Yuji finds almost ceaseless rain in Taipei where he works for a local crime boss as a hitman.
But even with his exile, his screwup is not forgiven. The Japanese boss has sent one of his thugs to Taipei to gun for Yuji; the thug lives on a rooftop and finds pleasure urinating from a great height. As well as the Japanese gunsel in his life, Yuji has a supposed son, a young boy of 7 or 8, foisted on him by a woman he barely remembers sleeping with, then finds a prostitute to accompany him in his aimless day-to-day existence.
Yuji is completely faithful to his Taipei boss, flawlessly in fact, and assassinates the brother of a lawyer whose vengeance knows no bounds. This sets in motion a tragic cycle of events that, while fraught with violence, still manages to convey, more than anything else, a deep sadness in a life wasted on taking other lives.
This is a great film, a unique one for Miike, and the DVD has a terrific special feature included--two separate interviews with Miike taped at different times. This gives the viewer some real insight into the mind of one of Japan's most interesting contemporary filmmakers.