When you’re a young, up-and-coming director like Philip Kaufman, you look to established stars to help get your project–in this case, an adaptation of a popular novel–off the ground. And when it comes to established Hollywood icons, few were bigger than Sean Connery and Wesley Snipes at the time of Rising Sun ‘s 1991 release. So, with the help of producer James G. Robinson and a script by David Webb Peoples ( Unforgiven ), Kaufman got the ball rolling on a film that would prove to be his most successful.
Since its release, Rising Sun (1993) has been the subject of much controversy, and we take a look back to see how it stands today.
In 1993, Wesley Snipes and Sean Connery played the lead roles in Rising Sun, an adaptation of the novel of the same name by Michael Krichton. The book became a bestseller, with Crichton known for his compelling stories such as the Jurassic Park series. Additionally, Rising Sun was directed by Philip Kaufman, who was also the director of the Indiana Jones film series. With this in mind, Rising Sun was built on a solid foundation.
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What does the rising sun tell us?
So, what was this movie about? The plot revolves around an escort who mysteriously dies in a Japanese company building. Solving the murder of Connery and Snipes, starring John Connor, and Snipes – Webster Smith, both – as detective partners in Los Angeles. Although the film is based on solving a crime, the title also alludes to a deeper meaning, as the plot often deals with the cultural differences between Japan and the United States.
Another important feature of the film Rising Sun is the character development of the couple. In the police tradition, the film explores the relationship between Connor and Snipes. Connor is an old-fashioned cop with old-fashioned values, while Smith shows the new side of police work. There were many similar films about partners of agents in the early 90s, so in that respect Rising Sun is nothing new.
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What are the commercial and critical results of Rising Sun?
Overall, Rising Sun did well at the box office, but that’s no surprise given the circumstances. At the time, Snipes and Connery represented almost guaranteed financial success. It cost $35 million to produce and had worldwide sales of over $107 million. It made a substantial profit. But it’s safe to say that with these two, the film could have been a disaster and still made a good profit.
When it came out, Rising Sun received mixed reviews. One reason is that some critics have called the film racist because of its supposedly anti-Japanese message. Of course, relations between the two countries are not bad, but at the time there were some tensions. In short, some have claimed that this film is actually propaganda material. At the time, this may have been valid criticism, but I would argue that in retrospect it is no longer as relevant or appropriate. After this review, it appears that Rising Sun is actually a decent movie with a decent pace.
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Why did the movie Rising Sun have such an anti-Japanese theme?
As mentioned earlier, the film Rising Sun had overtly anti-Japanese themes at times, which many people didn’t like. As I said, that’s all in the past and the two countries are very close. But as early as 1993, there were real concerns that Japan was trying to replace the United States as a world power. For example, Japanese countries such as Sony began to dominate the electronics industry, while Japanese companies began to invest heavily in American companies. Some said it was undermining the U.S. economy.
A book was published called The Coming War with Japan, which literally predicted war. Fortunately, that never happened, and these days it could be considered paranoia. However, these ideas were not considered crazy at the time. Interestingly, these views can also be applied to modern China, although critics would argue that contemporary theories are probably more appropriate. This shows that Rising Sun was relevant to its time, and that the claims of American propaganda were probably true.
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How is the Rising Sun behaving these days?
Looking at Rising Sun almost 30 years later, we can see that it is clearly dated in some ways. For example, there is a scene with Connery and Snipes in which advanced technology is used with Photoshop-like techniques. By today’s standards, it’s almost comical. But to be honest, it would have been great at the time.
Not only that, but the entire filmography seems dated. For example, the camera seems grainy at times, the baggy costumes are reminiscent of the 90s, and the overall atmosphere is reminiscent of a bygone era. Still, it’s hard to imagine that this year was released just 2 years before Heat. While it’s cruel to compare it to such classics, the fact is that the cinematography doesn’t stand up to comparison. But to be fair, Rising Sun captures the small details well. Although the film is now dated, small details like Wesley Snipes’ watch show that a lot of thought and attention was put into the props and costumes to make them more realistic.
As for the soundtrack, Rising Sun is also a treat. The entire composition was created by Toru Takemitsu. Takemitsu was best known for his work in Japan, where he gained a reputation for creating evocative and atmospheric scores. In this film he uses the uhu, a Chinese stringed instrument, to create tension and mystery. It was a good idea to involve Takemitsu in the project, and the resulting soundtrack is first-rate. At a time when many soundtracks were failing, this one hit all the right notes.
The rest of the plot of Rising Sun is still more than good. For example, it combines the action/thriller formula well, and the chemistry between Connery and Snipes has been there before, but it still works very well. The film runs a little over two hours, so it’s not short, but the pacing is good enough to make it work. In the end, the twists and turns in the movie will entertain a lot of people and make the movie a little more interesting.
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Rising Sun Legacy
Unfortunately, the legacy of the rising sun will always be overshadowed by anti-Japanese sentiment. But if you put those thoughts aside and focus on the film itself, it is very entertaining and solid. Not surprisingly, Connery’s career continued to be successful, while Snipes continued to score home runs during this period. Although their success was not based on Rising Sun, it did not hurt their career and proved their versatility in various roles.
In summary, Rising Sun is a good movie, even if it is obviously a little different. While this film is not considered a classic, it is certainly not a bad film. If you want to get a little nostalgic and reminisce about life in Los Angeles in the 90s, Rising Sun is worth a look.
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