• Kinjite: Forbidden Subjects

    Released by: Olive Films
    Released on: October 26th, 2015.
    Director: J. Lee Thompson
    Cast: Charles Bronson, Perry Lopez, Juan Fernandez, Peggy Lipton, James Pax
    Year: 1989
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    The Movie:

    J. Lee Thompson and Charles Bronson made a lot of movies together but rarely did they dive head first into full on exploitation movie territory like they did in their 1989 film for Cannon, Kinjite: Forbidden Subjects. It would be the last time Thompson and Bronson would make together, but it would prove to be unforgettable!

    Bronson plays an L.A. cop named Crowe, a crotchety guy who seems upset about the way society is going to Hell. He’s also not all that keen on Asian immigrants. Crowe is not a particularly enlightened man but he is, however, a good husband to his wife Kathleen (Peggy Lipton) and a good father to his daughter Rita (Amy Hathaway). As the movie begins we learn how Crowe is getting fed up with lowlifes and pimps while at the same time are introduced to a Japanese business man named Hiroshi Hada (James Pax). He seems like a nice enough guy but when given the opportunity, he doesn’t mind letting his hands wander in the presence of a pretty lady. He knows he can get away with this in Japan because it would be in poor form for a woman to make a scene over something like that, but really, he’s a bit of a lowlife, a Japanese variation on the type of guy that Crowe gets so riled up about.

    As Crowe and his partner take down pimps and lowlifes and sexual predators aplenty, Hiroshi and his family wind up being transferred to Los Angeles. Hiroshi tries his lecherous ways shortly after his arrival on, who else… Rita. Bad move. Crowe finds out and flips his lid, bringing down the full fury of the L.A.P.D. on the perp. At the same time, a pimp that Crowe has been doing his damnedest to get off of the streets snatches Hiroshi’s young daughter, leaving only one man able to assist him…

    Infamous to those in the know as ‘the movie where Charles Bronson shoves a dildo up a guy’s ass,’ Kinjite: Forbidden Subjects was marketed as a crime movie but this is exploitation fare through and through. From the opening scene where a scantily clad Nicole Eggert plays an underage hooker through the scenes of bad, bad dudes doing bad, bad things to Hada’s young daughter this is a film that absolutely wallows in sleaze. The whole movie is set in Cannon Films’ America, the America where, around every corner in every major city, there’s a rapist or a mugger. The America where justice stems not just from the barrel of a gun, but from a little bit of good ol’ fashioned prison rape too. An America concerned not with ‘reality’ but with creating the ultimate danger zone wherein movie goers can live out their own vigilante fantasies vicariously through an everyman like Bronson. It might not be realistic or politically correct but it sure is great in its own over the top way and realism be damned, even at this point in his career, having officially hit old man status, Bronson fits right in. He owns the place.

    The rest of the cast are fine. Peggy Lipton and Amy Hathaway are both plenty likeable here and they do fine work. James Pax is a little more interesting though. His character is predatory, he likes young girls and he intentionally puts himself in situations where he can take advantage of them, which of course puts him at odds with Bronson’s Crowe. Pax plays the part well, bringing a seriously lecherous vibe to his part that contrasts perfectly with the supposed wholesome family man that he wants others to see him as. Pax flips this duality on and off like a light switch, he makes it look easy and he delivers pretty great work here.

    Thomspon was never the flashiest of directors but he was reliable. That reliability works here. Kinjite is glossy, nicely paced and well shot. There’s understandably an emphasis on the sleazier set pieces (Cannon knew better than anyone during their boom years that sex and violence sell… maybe Cannon’s filmic America wasn’t so far off the mark after all) but the whole thing looks good. Lots of nice colors, some great locations used, and yes, that infamous scene where Charles Bronson shoves a dildo up a bad guy’s rumptus. There’s no real redeeming message here, the sleaze is the sleaze for the sake of the sleaze, but if it’s trash with a glossy sheen, it’s fun to watch even if the rape scenes are unpleasant (as rape scenes should be).


    Olive Films presents Kinjite: Forbidden Subjects on Blu-ray in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer framed at 1.85.1 that, generally, looks pretty good. Detail is much improved over the DVD release from a few years ago and color reproduction feels more natural here even if some scenes look a little flat in that department. The film is as grainy as you’d want it to be but not to the point of detriment and aside from a few tiny white specks here and there, you won’t find much in the way of actual print damage to complain about. Black levels are okay but not reference quality while skin tones look nice and natural, there’s no evidence of any noise reduction having been applied here.

    The English DTS-HD Mono track on this disc is also fine. The score sounds good, the dialogue is easy to understand the levels are properly balanced. There are no issues with hiss or distortion and everything comes through cleanly and clearly. As this is an older mono mix you obviously can’t really expect much in the way of channel separation or fancy surround action but for what it is, this older single channel tracks sounds just fine. No alternate language options or subtitles are provided.

    Extras are slim, limited to a static menu offering chapter selection and a theatrical trailer for the feature.

    The Final Word:

    Kinjite: Forbidden Subjects wasn’t made for Oscar consideration. This is Thompson and Bronson giving Cannon the kind of exploitation fare that made them the kings of eighties trash-action cinema, but it works. Olive’s Blu-ray release, like most of their output, is light on extras but it looks and sounds nice making this one worth the upgrade from the previous DVD release.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!