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Rain Fall - Movie Poster
Original Title:
Rain Fall

Japan 2009

Thriller, Action

Max Mannix

Kippei Shiina
Kyoko Hasegawa
Gary Oldman
Misa Shimizu
Akira Emoto
Takumi Bando
Akira Hamada
Dirk Hunter
Greg Ellis

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Rain Fall

Story: In Japan, the CIA tries to get ahold of a memory stick, which has highly sensitive information on it. The man, who wants to pass the information to the press, is already well-known, but the chief of operations William Holtzer (Gary Oldman) wants to wait for the handover as he heard that the contract killer John Rain (Kippei Shiina) is supposedly interested in the flash drive as well. The CIA has been searching for Rain for a long time, but when he actually shows up, he manages to get away from his persecutors and kills the informant with the memory stick. Now the CIA believes that Rain has the stick, even though the target subject did not have it on him and John Rain has to trace back the man's trails to find it. While doing so he runs into Midori Kawamura (Kyoko Hasegawa), the target subject's daughter. Rain's hope that she knows something about the memory stick turns out to be a dead end, but the CIA and the yakuza, who are also involved in the conspiracy around the information on the memory stick, are now after Midori, too. A deadly game inflames, in which Rain tries to protect Midori while he also needs to stay one step ahead of the CIA.

Review: This ambitious thriller - which, despite the international flair and Gary Oldman in one of the leads, is still a Japanese movie - does not know how to tell its interesting story within the movie medium. Originally based on a novel series by Barry Eisler, the movie fails to have its desired effect because it lacks character development. Which is a real pity as the characters would have offered a lot of room for more definition. This sometimes rather political thriller portrays good and evil in different shades of grey. Unfortunately, though, the director fails to reward our interest. In the end, the figures stay somewhat unexplained and half-baked. Just as if we were expected to wait for a sequel to get more answers.

"Rain Fall" seems to have been trimmed to fit a Japanese audience, as the story basically shows an America, which tries to gain power over Japan and its economy through blackmailing. This might be the reason why the movie got so many negative reviews from viewers, while movie critics took a more differentiated approach and found more aspects that were positive. Nevertheless, it is undeniable that "Rain Fall" features too many lapses. These include both narration and character depiction. Not to mention the rather slow pacing, even though you have to give the director credit for not trying to bring an action movie to the screen. He wanted to deal with the subject more honestly without any redundant chasing scenes.

Therefore, the movie also addresses the corruption inside of Japan regarding unnecessary construction projects. However, all these ambitions to give the story more importance perish by its intransparent narrative style. The plot oftentimes does not make any progress at all and then it suddenly carries on without any apparent efforts from the protagonists. The fact that this makes the movie rather tedious in some places does not help either. In addition, there are numerous plotholes and sometimes the characters behave incredibly stupid. You would think that trained agents must have learned at some point that it is probably not the best method to tail somebody by staring directly in their faces for minutes.

The incompetence of the agents has no limit, so that during the introduction Holtzer permanently has to yell at his men and still does not get any reasonable result in return. Instead, they manage to let Rain escape even though they had optimal conditions to catch him. It is hardly surprising that, in comparison to them, Rain looks like a superhero. Of course, there are some similarities to the Bourne movies, but as mentioned before, director Max Mannix purposely runs another path and tries to lie emphasis on different aspects of his movie and chooses calmer ways to deal with the plot. This does not mean that there are not one or two small fights captured by a shaky camera, after all, but especially the anticlimactic ending should prove, that the director wanted to structure his movie differently.

This, on the other hand, also makes the finale rather disappointing. However, there are disappointments in other areas, too. A promising storyline about an aged police officer investigating the case simply comes to nothing! His remarks that Rain should get a medal for shutting down corrupt politicians also seem more or less staged. Rain, played by Kippei Shiina ("Outrage", "Shinobi") rather appealingly, lacks a background story and therefore does not really catch our interest. This is why the looming relationship between him and Midori does not work and the emotional scenes go nowhere. Gary Oldman also shows that his character could have been more elaborate, if it had been written more complex. All in all "Rain Fall" is more or less an international thriller, which throws away too much of its potential, and thus cannot really be recommended.

(Author: Manfred Selzer)
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