Rising Sun Review

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After a hooker mysteriously dies in Japan and with one of her clients being a powerful and respected Japanese businessman, it left to Connery and Snipes to find the killer as quickly as possible before the scandal gets out. But with only a patchy CCTV video for evidence can the unlikely couple pull it off?


Michael Crichton's best-selling anti-Japanese diatribe has reached the screen under Philip Kaufman's direction softened into a glitzy, high-tech thriller, more to do with sexual deviance than international economic conspiracy, though it still manages to be offensive. More surprising, given its participants, is the fact that it is also transparent and tedious.

When a busty hooker and coke freak, kept by Eddie Sakamura (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa), a karaoke-loving Japanese ne'er-do-well with corporate and Yakuza gangster connections, is strangled mid-orgasm in the executive suite of a spanking new Japanese corporation headquarters in downtown L.A., a scandal of mega-proportions threatens to cloud the corporation's US business activities.Called in to investigate her death are John Connor (Connery), a maverick detective of suspect loyalties, steeped in Japanese culture from years of living in the Orient, whose position in the investigation of this diplomatically embarrassing sex murder is never entirely clear, partnered by Snipes' police lieutenant who is nominally in charge but ignorant of the Japanese with whom he is supposed to liaise.

Their task is ostensibly made easier by the fact that this bit of fatally rough sex has been captured on a security camera, therefore enabling both cops and audience to view and review the act on laserdisc. But, as they soon discover, all is not what it appears to be.

The promise inherent in the film's flashy, tensely edited and menacing opening soon dissipates, however, betrayed by sluggish detection and direction. It's all rather tasteless, with a multitude of racial stereotypes and slurs including the "comical" encounter between the helpful, weapon-wielding boyz in Snipes' old hood and a carload of scared-witless Japanese hoods. The "heroes" are scarcely more likeable than the sinister Japanese golf addicts bent on corrupting long-limbed, all-American blondes, Snipes is criminally wasted in a role that never threatens to be interesting, and even the ever reliable Connery fails to stamp his presence on the proceedings. There are brief pleasures, however — Harvey Keitel as a xenophobic detective, Connery barking in Scots-accented Japanese — but they are too few and far between to disguise its malicious dullness.

A wasted effort with a limp storyline that fails to do Michael Crichton's book justice.