Bullet Points: Kinjite: Forbidden Subjects
In this edition of Bullet Points, I look at Charles Bronson’s last movie of the 80’s Kinjite: Forbidden Subjects. Kinjite would also mark the end of an era as it was the final Cannon produced movie that Charles Bronson would ever star in and the final pairing of Bronson with director J. Lee Thompson. Thompson also worked with Bronson in in Messenger of Death, Death Wish 4: The Crackdown, Murphy’s Law, The Evil That Men Do, 10 to Midnight, Cabo Blanco, The White Buffalo and St. Ives.
In Kinjite: Forbidden Subjects, Charles Bronson plays no nonsense cop, Lieutenant Crowe. As a member of the vice squad, Crowe and his partner Eddie Rios (played by Perry Lopez) are investigating a teenage prostitution ring run by Duke (played by Juan Fernandez).
As you may expect, Bronson is not your typical by the book cop and often bends the rules to get maximum results.
- Dil-DON’T: The movie begins with Crowe and Rios busting into a hotel room where a John is about to get it on with a teenage prostitute DeeDee, played by Nicole Eggert (who definitely shed her Charles in Charge image in this one). After the John tries to assault Crowe with a coat rack, he makes more trouble for himself when he refuses to give a statement that he paid Duke to arrange this encounter. Crowe goes to the John’s briefcase full of sex toys and the John soon feels what it is like to be one of the kids he enjoys so much.
- Meanwhile in Tokyo: A group of Japanese businessmen are in English class. We are introduced to Hiroshi Hada, who goes to the front of the class to do some role playing with his English instructor. When the instructor asks him how he is doing, Hada gives him an update on his bowels. The English instructor corrects Hada, saying that the proper response to “How are you?” is simply “How are you?” back since nobody in America really cares how anybody else is. He also mentions that topics “below the belts” are considered Kinjite or forbidden subjects. Somebody should let all senior citizens in on that little bit of etiquette. They are always talking about their bowels and the movement of or lack there of movement.
- Hada the Perv: It is soon established that Hada isn’t just into talking about poop, he also has some sexual thoughts that his wife is fearful of. Later in the film, he’ll watch with great delight as a woman standing on the train is diddled by one of the male passengers, I guess The Diddler felt this “service” made up for his rudeness of not giving up his seat so the lady could sit down.
- Crowe the Prude: On the flip side, you have Lt. Crowe who comes home after a tough day at work to find his daughter Rita on the couch with the lights off sitting next to her boyfriend Vinnie the basketball player. When Crowe gives a speech about how young students and athletes need their rest, they laugh at his overprotective ways. More prudish behavior is still to come, when Bronson is uncomfortable with photographs that are being taken of a bathing suit clad Rita, presumably by the school newspaper, after Rita competes in a swim meet.
- Arena Football: Duke and his sidekick Lavonne are at the football game scouting. Now you may be asking yourself does Duke own his own Arena Football team, the answer is no. The scouting he was doing were for women he could force into prostitution. As luck would have it, he spies Crowe with his daughter and her friend Louise enjoying the game. When he sees Crowe get up from his seat he decides to have a few words with him. The result, Crowe shoves a hot dog in Duke’s face.
- Character Development: One knock that action movie characters and the actors that portray them often get is that the character lack depth, they are one dimensional. But I present to you evidence to the contrary… Crowe tracks down Duke and the two go for a little drive to an abandoned lot. When Duke realizes that Crowe isn’t playing by the rules, he offers him his $25,000 watch as a bribe to leave him alone. And then Crowe utters this line about the watch, “I’d like to shove it up your ass but I don’t want to dirty my hands!” Obviously, Lt. Crowe learned from the experience at the start of the movie involving the dildo and the John, thus displaying character development. Crowe does make Duke swallow the watch and then burns some newspapers in the backseat of Duke’s Cadillac causing it to explode.
- Welcome to Los Angeles: Japanese businessman, Hiroshi Hada has been transferred to his company’s Los Angeles office. Hiroshi along with his wife and two daughters arrive in Los Angeles and it isn’t long before Hiroshi is being a pervert in a whole new country. First he gets drunk and is groping breasts in a bar, then on the bus ride home he has flashbacks to the woman on the train back in Japan and feels up a young girl on the bus. Did I mention this girl happens to be Rita Crowe!? Unlike the woman in Japan, Rita freaks out, the bus stops and she gets her best line in, “Some oriental guy touched my holy of holies.” In all the commotion, Hiroshi staggers away. He does get some instant bad karma when he is mugged on his way home.
- What the Fumiko?: Unfortunately for Hiroshi getting mugged ends up being the least of his worries after his oldest daughter, Fumiko, is kidnapped by Duke while she was out in the park and quickly transformed into his latest girl. After Duke has his way with her, he gives the nod to Lavonne who goes into the room and takes his turn, when Lavonne finishes he comes out and gives the nod to another one of Duke’s men. After her “initiation” Fumiko is then given a “Whore Makeover” and Duke declares her “open for business”. Fumiko soon finds herself “entertaining” old white dudes with school girl fantasies and an older lesbian woman recalling her days in boarding school.
- Worst Ending Ever?: There’s a point in the latter stages of the movie, where after Duke has escaped but Fumiko is found, where Mr. and Mrs. Hada come over to the Crowe residence bearing gifts of thanks that you really get the feeling that this is going to be the worst ending to a Bronson movie ever. Rita, despite recognizing Hiroshi as the guy who felt her up on the bus, says nothing. There are some uncomfortable glances between Rita and Hiroshi, but again nothing is said. You are sitting there thinking, if Bronson knew this was the guy who violated his parochial school daughter it would be on like Donkey Kong, but nothing. Is this going to be it? Are they going to say thanks for getting our daughter back and the credits start to roll?!?! It can’t be!
- Hey Man Nice Shot: The good news is the movie did not end there in unsatisfying fashion, there is a final showdown between Crowe and Duke, where Crowe manages to pull off some amazing shots. One involves him standing on a crane that is several feet above the ground and shooting Duke’s driver and causing the car to crash. Another is Crowe shooting the crane operator, again while standing on the crane. And my personal favorite, where he shoots at one of the streams of gasoline that is running down the pavement, the shot ignites the gas, the explosions that follow killing all the remaining bad guys with the exception of Duke, basically taking out a whole army of men with one shot. I will not spoil the final confrontation between Crowe and Duke for those of you who have not seen it, but the end is much more satisfying than the false finish after Fumiko was found.
Some Bronson movies grab you instantly and you fall in love, others take a viewing or two before they really grow on you. And I would put Kinjite: Forbidden Subjects in the latter category. I am a huge Bronson fan, but Kinjite has not been one of my go to movies when I need my Bronson fix, but honestly it should be in my rotation more than it has been. It is the Bronson you know and love, doing what he does best. And as I stated earlier it is the end of the Bronson/Cannon era. After this one, the movies Charles Bronson were in, were never quite the same. Death Wish V had its moments and you can only be Bronson at maybe 70% when you are in TV movies and Bronson himself was in his 70’s. So in many ways, Kinjite: Forbidden Subjects is Bronson’s last hurrah.
A few more things to look for while watching Kinjite…
- Familiar Faces: If you have seen Death Wish 4: The Crackdown, you will recognize four faces in Kinjite that also appeared with Bronson in the fourth installment of the Death Wish franchise. Perry Lopez, who plays his partner in Kinjite, was one of the drug lords in DW4. Danny Trejo, who had a brief appearance as a gangster in DW4 makes an even briefer appearance in Kinjite as a prisoner. Gerald Castillo plays the police captain in Kinjite and a police lieutenant in DW4. And finally the weaselly Robert Axelrod plays a security guard in Kinjite but DW4 fans may remember him as the bartender at the Italian restaurant where Danny Trejo is blown up.
- When Porn Crews Attack: Acting on a tip that Fumiko was spotted at a hotel, Crowe and Rios end up crashing a porn shoot. Apparently this production didn’t have the proper permits, because why else would members of the crew attack the cops?!?!
- Anti-Japanese Rant: In one of the more memorable scenes, Crowe goes on an anti-Japanese rant, complete with him getting out of his car and yelling at innocent Japanese people. They obviously don’t understand a word he is saying as many of them simply bow in response.
- To The Extreme: One of the more memorable quotes in the movie comes from Rita’s friend Louise concerning Rita’s dad, “He is extreme. No question about it.” And Louise is right, Bronson was extreme way back in 1989 before everything from soft drinks to toothpaste, from razors to snack chips, from pro wrestling to sporting events became EXTREME in the 90’s and beyond.