Red Sun Rising (1994)

Posted in Reviews by - January 18, 2020
Red Sun Rising (1994)

Straight-to-video cop movie with a strange slice of Japanese mysticism thrown in; namely a study in the art of the ‘death touch’, embodied by James Lew’s creepy assassin who spooks out hot girls with his hypnotic eyes and makes his enemies spew their guts up and die just by pointing a finger at them. He’s the top bodyguard of a Japanese gangster who killed Don “The Dragon” Wilson‘s police buddy back in Kyoto. Wilson lands in a racially divided Los Angeles at the height of a gang war (a sort of Crips versus Bloods scenario) to find the Japanese baddies adding fuel to the flames. Tough-talking, casually racist LAPD Detective Karen Ryder (Star Trek‘s Terry Farrell) is on the case. She eventually puts aside her long-held prejudicial views on the Japanese when she starts to fall for hunky Don Wilson, who starts skilling up on his ninja skills with old master Mako in a bid to take out the baddies. At times, this aspires to reflect the American immigrant experience, and feels especially personal considering Wilson’s mixed-heritage. The creaky dialogue might be stock and objectionable at times, but the carefree slurring is undoubtedly indicative of the sort of abuse regularly handed to minorities at the time. Interestingly, in the case of Wilson’s character, he is also shown to suffer abuse from his police chief back in Japan who curses him for being only “half Japanese”. The black and Hispanic communities are also shown to be disenfranchised, and the cops – most of them – are pig-headed and ignorant. Don beefs up for the role and looks great, jumping about nicely during the film’s somewhat slap-dash fight scenes.

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Editor and creator of Kung Fu Movie Guide and the host of the Kung Fu Movie Guide Podcast. I live behind a laptop in London, UK.

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