Episode 20 - Kinjite: Forbidden Subjects (1989)
On this episode, Chris and Mike are joined by Corey G from the 1980's Movie Graveyard podcast to discuss one of the most bizarre movies ever created.
Kinjite: Forbidden Subjects is our first foray into the world of Cannon Films and even for Cannon this is a deeply offensive offering. Charles Bronson’s later films were not known for their quality and they were known to be slightly racist but this film honestly takes things to a whole new level.
Charles Bronson is a police office who has a problem with every minority within the city and especially the Japanese - who he views as “taking over” and an infestation on Los Angeles and the country in general. He is a deeply troubled man that works well outside the law and under normal circumstances would be fired and arrested for his actions. However, this is a Cannon film and his actions are not only “justified” but actually encouraged - as if the audience was supposed to stand up and clap during parts of the film.
We think about racist and offensive movies as a product of a past time and generation but it’s even more troubling when we see that this movie was made in 1989 and calling someone “oriental” was certainly not considered polite nomenclature. It’s even more troubling when we see his own daughter in the film using the same racial epithets - and she is only 15.
The movie is so ridiculous that you can’t help but laugh; you might even think it’s a parody of itself; It’s not though. The film is so dark, twisted and morally corrupt that it’s actually hard to watch unless you prepare yourself for it. The movie literally starts with Chuck Bronson sodomizing a man in a hotel room - that’s not a joke - and ends with him throwing a black man off a hotel balcony without any proof of a crime being committed. He insults Indian people, hispanics, and even forces a man to eat a Rolex for his own amusement. To top this all off, the film closes with a 12 year old girl killing herself purposely by overdosing on heroin. This is a dark and twisted film that deserves to be seen and studied as an anomaly in cinema and a product of a time that no longer exists or is relevant.
A movie like this would never be made today. The director of this film made 9 movies with Charles Bronson for Cannon pictures and had a long and storied career. He directed the original Cape Fear which is considered a classic film by many and one that blurs the lines of right and wrong and offers moral quandaries that the audience is conflicted by. I can’t help but wonder if this film intended to do the same - in that respect it fails miserably. This was the last film J. Lee Thompson ever directed and the last Cannon film Charles Bronson ever made. It’s a mean spirited film that demonstrated the end of an era for this particular type of entertainment and ideology. It deserves to watched and discussed.