Connery's House of the Rising Sun
The first time I watched "Rising Sun" was a couple of years after it was released and remember at the time enjoying it. Now having re-watched it some 15 years later and I can't say that I enjoyed it as much and found myself feeling under whelmed by the adaptation of Michael Crichton's novel. It all seems so obvious and I hate to say it but cliche as you have a smart mouthed detective partnering up with a more assured and patient civilian to investigate a case of murder. And not only that but also a series of scenes which revolve around discovering the truth involving a doctored CCTV video now border on the unbelievable and frankly cheesy as images are magically restored. Don't get me wrong as "Rising Sun" is entertaining but not as entertaining as I remembered it.
Following the discovery of a dead woman on the boardroom table of the Nakatomo building in L.A. detective Webster Smith (Wesley Snipes - Passenger 57) is called in to investigate and ordered to pick up Capt. John Connor (Sean Connery - Medicine Man) who will assist by using his knowledge of Japanese customs and culture. Appearing to having been murdered during a sex act, Webster and Connor discover that not only are their paths blocked by those who want to keep things quiet but also by various heavies. But having received CCTV footage of the actual murder in the boardroom they also discover that someone has doctored the footage to cover up the identity of the murderer and will need the help of computer expert Jingo Asakuma (Tia Carrere) to try and reverse the doctoring to uncover the kiler's identity.
Having never read Michael Crichton's novel which "Rising Sun" is adapted from I can't say how faithful it is but somehow I get a sense that some of the details has been left out because what we have ends up a rather stereotypical thriller. The background maybe a Japanese company trying to buy into an American one but what we end up with is a murder and a Detective and his partner, a respected expert in Japanese custom, digging around to find out who did it. And as such part of what "Rising Sun" is about is the chalk n cheese partnership with Lt. Webster Smith being very different to Capt. John Connor an element which has been used in countless other crime movies with nothing new being added here.
But the thing is that whilst we have Smith and Connor digging around looking for the truth, finding themselves not only having their path blocked by those trying to cover up the crime but also by various groups of heavies it all really comes down to a doctored CCTV video. And it is this side of "Rising Sun" which now lets it down as it is simply unbelievable. Back when I watched it in the 90s the way they managed to reverse the doctoring of the CCTV image to discover the identity of the killer really was spectacular but now it just seems pie in the sky. Maybe it's me but it's now just unbelievable that someone could basically reverse all the doctoring and various moments of computer wizardry as a face is formed from the minutest of details ends up cheesy.
And sadly whilst we have various twists and a murder which appears to have been a sex crime, sex being quite a major part of "Rising Sun" it doesn't take long to realise that the person they think was the murderer wasn't. It does take a bit longer to work out who the murderer is thanks to a nice red herring towards the end but then again it spoils things by having discovered who committed the crime we get an over the top ending which doesn't fit in with what went before. It almost feels like having kept the action in check for most of the movie director Philip Kaufman then feels obliged to deliver a big action finale.
But despite these flaws "Rising Sun" is still entertaining and that is mainly down to the pairing of Wesley Snipes and Sean Connery as Smith and Connor. Now there is something a bit stereotypical about watching Snipes playing a smart mouthed cop but he does it so well especially in the scenes he shares with Connery as the playful banter flies between them. And Connery seems to be enjoying playing the more assured, confident and calm partner with the knowledge of how Japanese customs work. It may not be a partnership which on paper should work but on the screen it strangely does.
What this all boils down to is that where once I thought "Rising Sun" was a very good thriller I now find it just a very average and stereotypical one. The partnership of Wesley Snipes and Sean Connery works surprisingly well but it is let down by the supposed computer wizardry which watching it now is just too unbelievable.