Although part of the same trilogy as Shinjuku Triad Society, Rainy Dog takes a differing approach to telling the tale of outcast Japanese gangsters in a Chinese society. Similar to Miike's approach for Sabu, Rainy Dog is a more cerebral attack than his usual style of visual flare and disturbing imagery.
Telling the tale of outcast Yakuza hitman Yuji, Rainy Dog is a subtly told story with major moral repercussions. Early on in the film, Yuji is sought out by a woman who leaves a small boy with him, told to be his son from a one night stand. Although Yuji rejects the notion of having a son, he feels obligated to look after him. Following Yuji around, his son Ah-Chen witnesses the brutal and nomadic life that Yuji must lead being a Japanese hitman for a powerful Chinese gang boss. Yuji's jobs take him to all of the beautiful slums of Taiwan, with the majority of the story focusing on a centralized area of Taipei.
Yuji completes his first hit with great ease, even with Ah-Chen in tow, but runs into an arch nemesis sent by Yuji's former boss to assassinate him. After a brief chase scene and ass whoopin' courtesy of Yuji, the assassin is left in a pile of garbage with nothing but revenge on his mind. Yuji's next assignment takes him across Taiwan to fulfill a writ on a mob boss wanted for screwing one of Yuji's boss' friend's daughter (whose also roommates with a friend of a cousin's uncle who knows the dog of Bruce Springsteen). Grabbing up Ah-Chen, Yuji sets forth on his next contract via train.
The majority of the film takes place in the rain, where Yuji will not perform a hit because it supposedly brings "bad luck". Of course, the rain persists in the new location for days, which Yuji uses as an opportunity to shack up with a prostitute whilst Ah-Chen sleeps in an alleyway waiting for his father to emerge. The prostitute shares the same desires as Yuji to run away from the rain, a symbolic vehicle for isolation and castaways in the film. Once the rain clears, Yuji sets out to accomplish his goal, leaving the prostitute behind, but bringing Ah-Chen along. The hit is completed, however, Yuji grabs up a large sum of money so that he can seek refuge for himself and his new found "family" of a degenerate son and prostitute. Unfortunately, the target's brother is now out for revenge and leads a sensational manhunt for Yuji and his companions.
ArtsMagic once again delivers a solid set of extras, similar to that on the Shinjuku DVD. There are 2 interviews with director Miike, an interview with the film's editor, a commentary track by Tom Mes, artwork, biographies & filmographies and trailers for upcoming and current ArtsMagic films.
Rainy Dog continues the theme of isolation and bias within the Chinese gang setting set forth in the first film of the trilogy, Shinjuku Triad Society. Although a bit slow at times, and often uneventful compared to more well known Miike films, this film delivers a steady storyline that hits an emotional zenith during the end sequences, similar to the delivery of Audition. As with Audition, the viewer will feel gratified by the "pay off" as Rainy Dog send its audience off with a heavy heart and a tear in their eyes.