MGM // 1989 // 98 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge Patrick Naugle // February 14th, 2003
Desire. Temptation. Revenge.
Charles Bronson stars as Lt. Crowe, a veteran Los Angeles vice cop who begins to see red after infiltrating an underage prostitution ring led by the slimy Duke (Juan Fernandez, Arachnophobia). After his daughter (Amy Hathaway, The Client) is "felt up" by an Asian man while riding the city bus, Crowe's revenge mechanism shifts into heavy overdrive -- as well has his complicated feelings of prejudice towards the Oriental community -- as he begins an investigation into the Duke's dealings. To complicate matters, Duke has kidnapped a prominent Japanese business man's (James Pax, Big Trouble in Little China) daughter for his vicious call girl service. Through the rough and tumble streets of Los Angeles, Crowe begins to hunt down Duke's ring of thugs and drug dealers in a furious rage or revenge!
When you think of Charles Bronson, tell me, what comes to your mind? Fearless action? Seething drama? How about kiddie porn? In Bronson's 1989 action/drama/thriller Kinjite: Forbidden Subjects, fans get to see Bronson beat the living snot out of sleazy pimps and filmmakers who utilize underage girls for sexual fantasies and desires. Boy, I remember when action movies were actually fun to watch. Kinjite: Forbidden Subjects is the type of movie that makes one feel uneasy almost the entire way through. From the opening scene of a scantily clad girl undressing to Bronson beating a man with a large pink dildo (off screen, thank the good Lord), Kinjite induces a feeling of yuckiness until the bitter end (and I have to admit, that last scene is a whopper). If my memory serves me correctly, Kinjite is the first film starring Charles Bronson I've ever seen all the way through. It was not a pleasant experience due to the film's subject matter. Charles Bronson as an actor has all the warmth of a Klondike ice cream bar. With his steely gaze and relentlessly negative attitude, the guy seems to be stuck in a perpetual mode of bitterness. The bulk of the cast appears to be stock characters from various action movies, including the cute, perky daughter; the doting wife (Peggy Lipton); the angry police chief; the weary partner; the nameless baddie with an Uzi, et cetera. As directed by J. Lee Thompson (who has helmed multiple Bronson pictures, this one being his last), Kinjite has all the complexity of a six-piece jigsaw puzzle. For instance, how interesting! I didn't know that L.A. was such a small city! At every turn, the villainous Duke is running into Lt. Crowe, and Lt. Crowe running into the same Asian man over and over again. You'd think the city spanned a grand total of two square blocks. The screenplay's dialogue is tired and mundane -- how many times can we hear Bronson call criminals "filth?" -- and the pacing rather sluggish. For those counting, there are a few nice explosions, and I did derive a little glee out of watching Bronson force Duke to eat a gold watch bought from the money made off his illegal services. But that was the extent enjoyment I derived from this movie. Catch Bronson's performance in the far better drama The Indian Runner, and leave this disc sitting on the video shelf.
Kinjite: Forbidden Subjects is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. I'm often frustrated with MGM's hit-or-miss anamorphic transfers; some films have them, others don't. Fans will be happy to note that the bulk of the Bronson movies do. The picture appears to be in pretty good shape with only a few minor imperfections marring the image (some edge enhancement and a few washed out colors). Otherwise, MGM has done a good job at making sure this print's colors and black levels are solid and even. The soundtrack is presented in Dolby Digital Stereo Surround in English. This Stereo track isn't anything to write home about -- though the mix is free of excessive hiss or distortion, overall the track lacks any true dynamic range or directional effects. Also included on this disc are English and Spanish subtitles.
The extra features on most of the MGM Charles Bronson movies are fairly slim. All that's included on Kinjite: Forbidden Subjects is an original theatrical trailer for the film, and that's all.
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Scales of Justice
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 98 Minutes
Release Year: 1989
MPAA Rating: Rated R
* Theatrical Trailer