Monday, May 24, 2010


I KNOW!!! WHAT HAPPENED?!?! (...oh wait, no one cares but me). Yeah, kinda dropped the ball there. Forgive me, Great Scottish One. So, to make up for the mistake that no really noticed anyway, and because I have no new musical joys to share with you and haven't seen the font of musical wisdom that is J-Lust since he vanished on a time-traveling pirate ship (it was a crazy weekend) I will do a late Sean Connery movie. This week, all the fun of rampant racism and Japanaphobia without ever actually going to Japan!

Must...make silly comment...must resist...getting lost in their eyes...

Rising Sun is a movie from 1993 based on a book by Michael Crichton that was published a year earlier. I mention this because the movie is EXTREMELY DATED, both in terms of technology used in the movie, and the plot line of everyone being mortally terrified that the Japanese were going to take over their businesses and eat their children, which was apparently a legitimate corporate fear in the earl nineties(?? I wouldn't know, I was too busy graduating to big girl undies at the time).

Anyway, despite a strong and interesting cast of Connery, Wesley Snipes, Tia Carrere, Harvey Keitel, Mako and the bad guy from the first Mortal Kombat movie, and a plot that kind of sort of maybe makes sense (a little) this movie is kinda shitty. In it, Wesley Snipes is a cop named Web Smith, a hilariously 90's name only upstaged by Connery's character, former police captain and expert on Japanese...stuff, John Connor (he's also earth's last defense against Skynet but the film never really touches on that). Anyways, there's big corporate thing going on between Japanese people and not-Japanese people and during this big fancy dinner party that celebrates it, a hooker is found strangled to death on a table in some office. Web (heh) is called in but first is instructed to pick up Connor, because he is some kind of magical Japanophile and can "deal with them" or something equally ambiguously racist. Really it's an excuse for Sean Connery to bark out Japanese in a Scottish accent, which is, admittedly, extremely funny to hear, especially when he says "sempai." Why Connor is this wizard of Japan is never really explained, apart from maybe some weird Steven Seagal-esque desire to pretend he's Asian?

Well, it wouldn't be the first time...

Anyways, Web and Connor (yeah, they never really call him John for whatever reason) take part in various hi-jinks as they try to discover the killer's identity while learning about the strange and wacky world of Japanese culture and manners. And yes, this movie is racist across the board, often hilariously so. Crichton's novel caught a lot of shit for being seen as racist against the Japanese and so the movie tries desperately to portray white people as Asian-hating bastards, like Harvey Keitel's character, and the Japanese as cultured men of honor, committing suicide by the sword in an honored and cultured manner while Connery spouts vague Japanese bullshit (I am so serious). They even the change the race of the killer, making him Caucasian, which is harder to spell than I thought it would be. But in their insistence on not stepping on any Japanese toes, they neglected to not make Wesley Snipes's character a raging stereotype. In the book, his character is white, and they decided to make him black for the film, presumably for shits and giggles. Now don't get me wrong, 80's-90's era Wesley Snipes had the power to raise the awesome level of any movie he appeared in at least tenfold, but in this case he exists only to be the angry black guy to Sean Connery's wise old not-Asian man. And his angry blackness leads to so many pointless movie bits where he is either offended by racism or just acts as a racist stereotype:

"Look, "sempai," apple pie, whatever it is you want me to call you, we have a murder here. I wanna solve it. I don't wanna hear true confessions, awright?" (literally, "awright")

Rich Ass-butt who mistakes Web for a valet parker despite his coply demeanor: "Hey! Hey, you! Quit loafing! Get the senator's car! What do you think we're doing?"

Web: "No, you get the senator's car! Wrong guy, wrong fucking century! Penguin looking mother fucker!"

Connor: "Every aspect of your appearance and behavior will reflect on you, the Department, and me as your sempai."

Web Smith: "My sempai? That wouldn't be massa, would it? "

>.< this adds jack shit to a plot that is already pretty threadbare. But it all culminates when Web and Connor are being tailed by some Asian thugs and Web drives into "the hood" where the tables are wackily turned on his and Connor's relationship! Remember how Connor was the god of all things Japanese and because of this was able to order Web around like a bitch? Well now in a stunning development, Connor's the fish out of water as Web becomes the "sempai" and sics some of his old hood buddies on the Asian punks, showing a hi-larious role reversal! ...I think I just broke my sarcasm. Hang on (poke, prod), yup, it's busted. While I try to find some duct tape, watch the scene for yourself:

Because this was necessary in order to properly tell the film's story (I taped my sarcasm, it should be fine).

Anyway, Tia Carrere's there to be nerdy yet hot and there is an implied relationship between her and Connery (and implied I mean with the subtlety of frantic arm-waving and giant neon arrows) which is kind of icky but movies never seem to want to pair Connery up with a lady his own age. The film continues, plots twist, Connery does his obligatory "beats up a much larger dude in an unexpected fashion that is so totally awesome and almost makes up for the stupid bits" and you don't really care because you've lost all track of the plot, have no idea why Steve Buscemi is in this movie and have become so disengaged that you notice there are at least four minor characters from Seinfeld hiding in this movie (Crazy Joe Devola, the TV Guide guy who was obsessed with Elaine, Mr. Kruger, and the Asian nail salon lady who George's dad had an affair with).

You see the ending coming a mile away, there's no real climax or ending action, except for Connery impliedly getting in on with Tia Carrere (ewww). Also Mako yells and stuff and I get sad that he's dead because in my heart he will always be Aku from Samurai Jack and Uncle Iroh from Avatar the Last Airbender. So yeah, Rising Sun is a very silly movie filled with very silly people doing very silly things. If you are looking for a decent film, look elsewhere. If you are looking for a rib-crackingly funny example of racism alive and well in the early nineties than look no further. Two catapults out of five for blowing up the baddie from Mortal Kombat and speaking Japanese in Scottish.

And with my mistake rectified I say good night! This is Sugary Cynic saying "...well good night, obviously. I just said it...dur"

(Web pushes back a wall and reveals the hidden room where the hooker was sexed and/or murdered)

Web: "The executive fuck chamber"


  1. Ha...the nineties were so hilariously, accidentally racist, it was awesome.

  2. Been wanting to see this for a long time, mostly cause it features one of my favorite actors.

  3. I know I gave it a bit of a bashing, but it's a fun movie and worth watching


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