Kinjite: Forbidden Subjects (J. Lee Thompson, 1989, USA)

Kinjite: Forbidden Subjects is the last collaboration between J. Lee Thompson and Charles Bronson. While people often joke today about the advanced age of some of our legendary action stars, Cannon Films was already having senior citizen action stars in the 1980s. Bronson was nearly 70 years old by the release of Kinjite, and needless to say, his physicality is not as convincing as it once was. He would only make two films after Kinjite, including the final installment of the Death Wish franchise. Kinjite was also director J. Lee Thompson's last film. Thompson's later career focused primarily on genre fare for Cannon, though he was responsible for some all-time greats, including Cape Fear.

Made at the height of American anxiety over Japanese domination, the film centers on Bronson as Lieutenant Crowe, an LA police detective whose young daughter is assaulted on a bus by an Asian man. This Asian man turns out to be a businessman named Hiroshi Hada, who has been transferred to LA. Hada's daughter is abducted by a couple of goons running a sex trafficking ring, and Crowe has to rescue them. Spoiler: throughout the film, he is never aware that Hada was the man who assaulted his daughter on the bus.

Kinjite is a distinctly odd film. When one of the less weird scenes involves Bronson forcing a criminal to swallow a watch, you know you're in for a treat. There is some weird incongruity, as the film is played fairly lightly but deals with some truly awful subject matter. Still, the film is worth watching for its weirdness. It is one of the Cannon films that is not necessarily good by any objective measure but is at least memorable. The Japanese angle in the film reflects certain American preoccupations at the time the film was made. 



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