Black Rain

Today, the newest update for GTA Online came out (#topical #ontrend #relevantblog) focused on being part of a biker gang. I haven’t played it as of writing this post so I can’t tell you if it’s any good, but it does seem like a step down from the previous update, which was all about being a multimillionaire CEO complete with luxury yacht. Still, that all over the place scale isn’t anything new to the GTA series, the predecessor San Andreas had you go from heisting a Mafia casino for the Triads to raiding Area 51 to defending the hood from the LA riots in the space of about 6 missions.

Mostly though, it got me thinking about Black Rain.

Maybe that’s a bit of a weird jump to make, but I’ve never cared much about bikers. Your Sons of Anarchy and your Easy Riders never interested me; I suppose I’m very utilitarian with my transport, plus I prefer travelling inside a rollcage.

To back up a bit, Black Rain is a late 80’s thriller by Ridley Scott starring Michael Douglas and Andy Garcia as American cops who have to escort a gangster being extradited to Japan. Naturally, things go wrong and they have to recapture the guy while completely out of their element, aided by Japanese cop Ken Takakura. As a Ridley Scott film, it oozes atmosphere, character and of course has some excellent action sequences with a great score to match.

Chiefly relevant here is the scene where the two Americans are walking late at night and get attacked by a masked gang on dirtbikes. It’s a great scene: no one has any guns but the bikers have knives and chains, so the heroes have to try desperately to outsmart the faster, better armed and more numerous bike mob. There’s very few places a human can go a dirtbike can’t so it’s an amazingly tense affair.

I like the movie for many other reasons as well; the cinematography is excellent and deliberately avoids the more stereotypical “tourist Japan” shots in favour of more realistic hazy industrial backdrops. These shots are also beautiful, but you can’t say that Osaka is presented in a flattering light. I also remember most of the characters being interestingly deep rather than one dimensional, even bit players. It’s not a perfect film by any means, but it definitely ticks all the right boxes for me.

So keep your leather and your hogs, that’s what I’ll always think of when I hear “biker fight”.

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