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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » The Rain Killer
The Rain Killer
Kino // R // August 11, 2015
List Price: $19.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Ian Jane | posted September 9, 2015 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:

The Rain Killer is one of those movies that is more interesting because of who was involved with it than for what it actually is. Produced by Roger Corman and released in 1990, the film was shot by cinematographer Janusz Kaminski who would win an Oscar three years later for his work on Spielberg's Schindler's List. And to be fair, Kaminski does a great job here as the movie is very nicely shot.

As to the plot? That's a different story. The film introduces us to a world weary Los Angeles homicide cop named Capra (Ray Sharkey). He's a tough guy, gets into trouble with his boss a lot, but he gets the job done even if he does drink Wild Turkey in the men's room. He's teamed up with a fancy-pants F.B.I. agent named Dalton (David Beecroft) to catch a maniac who is running around killing off well to do middle aged women any time it rains. At first they can't get along but one night, after a few drinks, they make a connection: all of the victims so far have been a member of a woman's support group called The Sewing Circle and it just so happens that Dalton is in the midst of divorcing his wife, Adele (Tania Coleridge), and that she too is a member of this group.

The two inebriated cops head over to Adele's place in the middle of the night and surprisingly enough, she lets them in. She takes an immediate interest in Capra and he in her, but Dalton doesn't seem to notice this, at least not at first. As the two guys, with help from another cop named Reese (Michael Chiklis), try to track down the killer before he can strike again, Adele and Capra begin a torrid affair that understandably causes a riff to develop between the two partners. While this is going on a guy named Rosewall (Woody Brown) beats up a pimp named Angel (Lawrence Mandley) and runs off with a hooker/stripper (Maria Ford) to do bad, bad things.

Let's start with the good… The Rain Killer is really nicely shot. The cinematography is frequently impressive, the lighting is good and while the whole thing screams early nineties Cinemax/Red Shoe Diaries there's at least some evidence that those behind the camera knew what they were doing. The movie also features a lot of nudity and some pretty decent murder set pieces. On top of that, there's the fact that Ray Sharkey and a young Michael Chikliss show up here (before he was the star of The Commish, The Shield and yes, The Fantastic Four), which will have some novelty appeal for some viewers. On top of that, it's never a bad thing when Maria Ford shows up in a movie like this and struts about in her birthday suit. It's also interesting to see supermodel Tania Coleridge play the love interest. Music video junkies who were around when MTV actually showed videos will recognize her as the woman who appeared in the video for George Michael's Father Figure (that video was everywhere when that single broke).

Those elements do not, however, result in a particularly good movie. Yeah, the sleaze quotient is reasonably high here but the story is weak. There are a few too many times where the characters act irrationally and the love affair that is supposed to propel the storyline is almost completely devoid of any actual chemistry (Sharkey and Coleridge are clearly acting here, it's all too obvious and for this to work we need to believe that they want to be together… sadly, we don't). The big reveal at the end is predictable and because of that, there's very little suspense here. We don't really like any of the characters enough to side with anyone and the film winds up surprisingly limp for a picture with as much skin and murder as this one contains. There was potential here, but the film never really capitalizes on that potential and what we're left with is actually surprisingly dull.

The DVD:

Video:

The Rain Killer arrives DVD in a pretty solid looking 178.1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. There are a few minor scratches here and there but they're not particularly frequent. Colors look really good here and given that much of the movie takes place in the dark shadow detail isn't half bad either. Some shimmer and some aliasing shows up in a few scenes but again, it's minor. Detail is strong for a standard definition presentation and there aren't any obvious compression artifacts.

Sound:

The English language Dolby Digital 2.0 mix is fine. The dialogue is easy enough to understand and balance is set right. The goofy sax-heavy score has pretty good range and the sound effects do their job well enough. This isn't a super fancy mix but it's of good quality. No alternate language options or subtitles are provided.

Extras:

Extras are slim, limited to a trailer for the feature and the option to watch the movie with or without an intro/outro from hostess Katarina Leigh Waters that offers up some trivia and facts about the movie and those who made it.

Final Thoughts:

Scorpion Releasing has given The Rain Killer a decent enough DVD roll out. The transfer is good and the audio quality is fine. The movie itself, despite being pretty high on nudity and violence, is a bit of a bore, however. The plot is fairly predictable and the dramatic angle of the plot never catches fire the way it needs to. The movie has its moments, but it's hard to wholeheartedly recommend it. Slip it.

Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.

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