This is a remarkable film and is helped even more with a truly breath-taking Blu Ray transfer.
Directed by Ridley Scott, who also directed Alien (1979), Blade Runner (1982) and Gladiator (2000) produces a sinister action story with moments of humour and mystery for much of the film. Filmed on location in Tokyo and nominated for 2 Academy awards and presents itself with a formidable cast. Watch out for a sexy Joyce played by Kate Capshaw and is portrayed as a nightclub hostess, who speaks fluent Japanese and is a local source of knowledge for Michael Douglas. As a tough cop, Michael Douglas fits the role well portraying a very believable character, which probably stems from his early days when he starred in The Streets Of San Francisco. The cinematography in the original release was excellent but now the recent release in Blue Ray is truly outstanding for image definition and sound enhancement.
Two New York cops, Nick Conklin (Michael Douglas) and Charlie Vincent (Andy Garcia) find themselves caught up in a Japanese Mafia gang killing, whilst having lunch in a busy New York restaurant. Several Japanese are killed in the massacre that followed. They pursue Sato (Yasuka Matsuda) one of the remaining assailants outside the crime scene and eventually arrest him. They are both assigned to accompany him to Japan, and must hand over Sato to the Japanese authorities. Unaware of their prisoners criminal record or hierarchy position, Nick and Charlie hand over their prisoner to bogus Japanese Police officers before leaving the plane.
Shortly after the horrendous mistake is highlighted to Nick and Charlie by the genuine Japanese police lieutenant Masahiro (Ken Takukura) who then informs them that their prisoner is a high-ranking Yakuza gang member and furthermore thanks to their mistake, he is again on the run. Nick and Charlie are embarrassed and want to rectify their incompetence and help the local authorities recapture Sato. Their request is denied, as they have no legal authority in Japan as Police Officers or permitted to carry guns, however they can tag along with Masahiro merely as observers. That is until Charlie is baited by Sato's thugs seeking revenge and brutally murdered in downtown Tokyo, right in front of Nick. Now the name of the game changes and they can only win if they play the game the Japanese way.
One great memorable piece of dialogue that takes place between Joyce and Nick goes:
Joyce: You could get me killed. You see, there's a war going on here, and they don't take prisoners.
Nick Conklin: What are you talking about?
Joyce: It's between Sato and an old crime boss named Sugai.
Nick Conklin: Who else knows about this war?
Joyce: Counting you and me?
Joyce: Eleven million! !
Throughout the film, ethical morals come through highlighting austere Japanese culture and blase American values depicted in total contrasts.
This is a Ridley Scott classic in which he creates great atmosphere supported by strong action scenes, great acting, panache and one-liners. In my opinion, this film and has been ignored by film critics, never being appreciated for it's potential as a classic and is the definitive police action thriller in my book.