Sunday, June 15, 2014

Rain Fall (movie) featuring character John Rain

I recently watched Rain Fall (2009) starring Kippei Shina, Gary Oldman, and Kyoko Hasegawa. The movie is based off the book with the same title, written by Barry Eisler. John Rain is the protagonist of the story, he's half-American, half-Japanese, a former US soldier, and government agent. Now an assassin, his current mission is to eliminate several Japanese politicians, but make their deaths appear as the results of natural causes.

I've read several books in the John Rain series, including Rain Fall, the first written by Eisler. The film was directed by Max Mannix, who directed one other film before Rain Fall called Dance of the Dragon. Mannix also took on the duty as screenwriter.

Hard Rain was produced on a shoestring budget and you could differently see that it suffered because of it. The director/writer deviated from the book in an attempt to give the film a Bourne Identity flavor. Gary Oldman plays CIA station chief William Holzer, who suffers from a severe case of mood swings. Oldman, of course, is the antagonist. He spends half the movie screaming, “Jesus Christ,” and looks ready to pull out his hair, every time things don't go his way. There's also a subplot with a police detective investigating the death of a man, Rain killed on a subway train. This of course goes nowhere and further the plot in any conceivable way. In the book, the CIA Station Chief was someone who betrayed Rain in the past, while the police detective was an old friend. The movie completely ignores these details.

Kyoko Hasgawa plays Midori Kawamura, the love interest for John Rain. She is the daughter of one of Rain's victims. Hasgawa is perhaps the best part of this movie, giving dimensions to a character in a sea of cookie cut-out characters. The director spent little time with the developing relationship between Kawamura and Rain making it hard for me to swallow that these two were falling so deeply in love.

The editing of Rain Fall was absolutely horrible in what I think it was an attempt to cover up the weak fight scenes. It did improve as the movie progressed, but that may have only been because later fight scenes did not last more than a few seconds. Come to think of it, the longest fight in the movie came midway through when Rain encountered another assassin. If you blinked, you would have missed the brawl between them.

The actors themselves did a great job for the material they were working with. Kippei Shina's performance of John Rain matched that of the character from the book. The weakness of the film came from writer/director Max Mannix. If perhaps the film had a bigger budget, Mannix could have made a better movie, but as it stands now, I would say it's watchable if there's nothing else on television.