Kinjite: Forbidden Subjects

Last updated
Kinjite: Forbidden Subjects
Kinjite forbidden subjects.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by J. Lee Thompson
Written byHarold Nebenzal
Produced byPancho Kohner
CinematographyGideon Porath
Edited byMary E. Jochem
Peter Lee-Thompson
Music byGreg De Belles
Distributed by Cannon Films
Release date
  • February 3, 1989 (1989-02-03)(U.S.)
Running time
97 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office $3,416,846 (USA) [1]

Kinjite: Forbidden Subjects is a 1989 American action thriller film starring Charles Bronson and directed by J. Lee Thompson. As Thompson's final film, it was the last project he and Bronson did together—a long and famed Hollywood collaboration. [2] The word "kinjite" (禁じて) translates to English as "forbidden move", hinting at the subject matter.


The movie marks the ninth and final collaboration between Bronson and director J. Lee Thompson. Beginning with the movie St. Ives in 1976, their partnership spanned nearly thirteen years.


Hiroshi Hada, a Japanese businessman in a troubled marriage, sees a woman being groped in a crowded Tokyo subway. He is fascinated by the fact that she moans silently, involuntarily orgasms, but does not cry out or let people know she is being sexually molested. When Hada is transferred to Los Angeles, he has too much to drink at a business party and tries to imitate what he saw by groping a Caucasian school girl while riding a crowded bus. But unlike the Japanese woman that Hada saw in Japan, the American girl screams. Hada runs away, but is robbed and beaten by a mugger. Meanwhile, several innocent Asian men are beaten by bystanders who suspect that one of them is the man who groped the girl.

The girl happens to be Rita Crowe, the daughter of an LAPD vice-squad detective, Lt. Crowe, an officer with a strong sense of justice who is very protective of her. Shortly afterward, Fumiko, Hada's daughter, is kidnapped into a child prostitution ring led by the infamous "Pimp King" Duke. Crowe, who has developed a general dislike of the Japanese due to his daughter's incident, is assigned against his will to find the girl. His feelings about Japanese people start to change when he realizes that the Hadas care about their daughter as intensely as he cares for his daughter.

Crowe and his partner, Eddie Rios, eventually find Fumiko and rescue her from the pimp and his gang. They kill one member of the gang, but the others escape. The Hadas visit Crowe's house with gifts to show their appreciation for his work. Rita recognizes Hiroshi as the man who groped her on the bus—and he recognizes her—but neither one says anything. However, despite this apparently happy ending, Fumiko has been so traumatized by her experiences as a prostitute—she was raped by Duke and his gang members and then sold to customers of both sexes—that she commits suicide by an overdose.

Crowe and Rios decide to find Duke, and locate him on a boat in a harbor. In the ensuing fight, Duke and his remaining gang members kill Rios, but Duke eventually ends up in the harbor. Since Duke can't swim, Crowe has the option to let the gangster drown, but ends up dragging him out. However, as a way of "poetic justice", Crowe has Duke interned in a prison wing inhabited by sexually aggressive inmates; his designated cellmate makes several sexual allusions, leading Duke to realize that he is intent on raping him. As Duke screams in anguish, Crowe walks away in deep satisfaction.



Filming started in June 1988. It was one of a number of movies made in Hollywood with Japanese themes around this time, others including Collision Course and Black Rain . [3] The movie was meant to be shot back to back with The Golem which was to have the same star (Bronson), producer (Kohner) and director (Thompson) as Kinjite but that film was not made. [4]

Bronson said the film was "a little more interesting than most I've been offered" because of its culture clash element. "It's from the point of view of a policeman who never read a business page in his life," Bronson said, "but he can see what's happening and he's not sure he likes it or understands it.. I keep looking desperately for scripts that haven't been done dozens of times before. I think guys keep writing from what they see on TV, copying what's already there." [5]

The film was the ninth Bronson had made with J. Lee Thompson. The star preferred Thompson to Michael Winner, calling the latter "brazen when he's working in a street. He takes it over and he doesn't care about complaints. But it's tough shooting with him. He demands three takes of every shot and, if it's hard running or some other action, it gets to you. J. Lee only demands two." [5]


Critical response

The Los Angeles Times called the movie "a pretty odd, murky stew. If you think you might be offended by it, don't go. You will be. Thompson has always had an evil sense of humor, and the movie repeatedly crosses the line between dramatizing a situation and exploiting it, exposing racism or moral rot and almost indulging in it. But the disturbance you feel in watching "Kinjite" doesn't just come because it has a sordid subject, some bad scenes or a heavy cargo of shock and sleaze, but because it leaves us, much of the time, with no moral anchor." [6]

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Charles Bronson</span> American actor (1921–2003)

Charles Bronson was an American actor. He was known for his roles in action films and his "granite features and brawny physique". Bronson was born into extreme poverty in Ehrenfeld, Pennsylvania, a coal mining town in Pennsylvania's Allegheny Mountains. Bronson's father, a miner, died when Bronson was young. Bronson himself worked in the mines as well until joining the United States Army Air Forces in 1943 to fight in World War II. After his service, he joined a theatrical troupe and studied acting. During the 1950s, he played various supporting roles in motion pictures and television, including anthology drama TV series in which he would appear as the main character. Near the end of the decade, he had his first cinematic leading role in Machine-Gun Kelly (1958).

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bebe Daniels</span> American actress, singer, dancer, writer, producer (1901–1971)

Phyllis Virginia "Bebe" Daniels was an American actress, singer, dancer, writer, and producer.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Los Angeles Cobras</span> Arena football team

The Los Angeles Cobras were a professional arena football team based in Los Angeles, California that played one season (1988) in the Arena Football League.

<i>Death Wish II</i> 1982 American vigilante action film by Michael Winner

Death Wish II is a 1982 American vigilante action-thriller film directed and co-edited by Michael Winner. It is the first of four sequels to the 1974 film Death Wish. It is the second installment in the Death Wish film series. In the story, architect Paul Kersey moves to Los Angeles with his daughter. After his daughter is murdered at the hands of several gang members, Kersey once again chooses to become a vigilante. Unlike the original, in which he hunts down every criminal he encounters, Kersey only pursues his family's attackers. The sequel makes a complete breakaway from the Brian Garfield novels Death Wish and Death Sentence, redefining the Paul Kersey character. It was succeeded by Death Wish 3.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kamatari Fujiwara</span> Japanese actor

Kamatari Fujiwara was a Japanese stage and film actor who appeared in over 200 films between 1933 and 1984. In addition to regular appearances in the films of Akira Kurosawa, he worked for directors such as Mikio Naruse, Yasujirō Ozu, Heinosuke Gosho and others.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">J. Lee Thompson</span> British film director and screenwriter (1914–2002)

John Lee Thompson was an English film director, screenwriter and producer. Initially an exponent of kitchen sink realism, he became known as a versatile and prolific director of thrillers, action, and adventure films.

<i>Red Sun</i> 1971 Franco-Italian Spaghetti Western film by Terence Young

Red Sun is a 1971 Franco-Italian international co-production Spaghetti Western film directed by Terence Young and starring Charles Bronson, Toshirō Mifune, Alain Delon, Ursula Andress, and Capucine. It was filmed in Spain by the British director Young, with a screenplay by Denne Bart Petitclerc, William Roberts, and Lawrence Roman from a story by Laird Koenig. The film was released in the United States on 9 June 1972.

<i>Death Wish 3</i> 1985 American action thriller film by Michael Winner

Death Wish 3 is a 1985 American vigilante action-thriller film directed and edited by Michael Winner. It is the third film and the last to be directed by Winner in the Death Wish film series. It stars Charles Bronson as the vigilante killer Paul Kersey and sees him battling with New York street punk gangs while receiving tactical support from a local NYPD lieutenant. Despite being set in New York City, some of the filming was shot in London to reduce production costs. It was succeeded by Death Wish 4: The Crackdown.

<i>Miss Sadie Thompson</i> 1953 film by Curtis Bernhardt

Miss Sadie Thompson is a 1953 3-D American musical romantic drama film directed by Curtis Bernhardt and starring Rita Hayworth, José Ferrer, and Aldo Ray. The film was released by Columbia Pictures. The film is based on W. Somerset Maugham's 1921 short story "Miss Thompson". Other film versions include Sadie Thompson (1928) starring Gloria Swanson, Rain (1932) starring Joan Crawford, and Dirty Gertie from Harlem U.S.A. (1946).

<i>Lawman</i> (film) 1971 American western film

Lawman is a 1971 American revisionist Western film produced and directed by Michael Winner and starring Burt Lancaster, Robert Ryan, Lee J. Cobb and Robert Duvall.

<i>Death Wish 4: The Crackdown</i> 1987 American action thriller film by J. Lee Thompson

Death Wish 4: The Crackdown is a 1987 American vigilante action-thriller film, and the fourth installment in the Death Wish film series. The film was directed by J. Lee Thompson, and features Charles Bronson, who reprises his leading role as Paul Kersey. In the film, Kersey is once again forced to become a vigilante after his girlfriend's daughter dies of a drug overdose. He is recruited by a tabloid owner, Nathan White to take down various crime figures of the Los Angeles drug trade.

<i>The White Buffalo</i> 1977 film by J. Lee Thompson

The White Buffalo is a 1977 fantasy Western film directed by J. Lee Thompson and starring Charles Bronson, Kim Novak, Jack Warden, Slim Pickens and Will Sampson.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Perry Lopez</span> American actor (1929–2008)

Perry Lopez was an American film and television actor. His acting career spanned 40 years.

<i>Messenger of Death</i> 1988 film by J. Lee Thompson

Messenger of Death is a 1988 American vigilante action thriller film starring Charles Bronson. It is about an attempt by a water company to start a family feud among fundamentalist Mormons to take the family's land for the company.

<i>Devils Angels</i> 1967 film by Daniel Haller

Devil's Angels is a 1967 American outlaw biker film written by Charles B. Griffith and directed by Daniel Haller. It stars John Cassavetes.

<i>Machine-Gun Kelly</i> (film) 1958 film by Roger Corman

Machine-Gun Kelly is a 1958 film noir directed by Roger Corman that chronicles the criminal activities of the real-life George "Machine Gun" Kelly. Despite its low budget, the film received positive critical reviews.

<i>St. Ives</i> (1976 film) 1976 film by J. Lee Thompson

St. Ives is a 1976 American crime thriller film directed by J. Lee Thompson and starring Charles Bronson, John Houseman, Jacqueline Bisset, and Maximilian Schell.

Michael Mendoza is a former American football quarterback who played one season with the Los Angeles Cobras of the Arena Football League. He first enrolled at Los Angeles Harbor College before transferring to Northern Arizona University. He attended Bishop Montgomery High School in Torrance, California. Mendoza was also a member of the Oakland Raiders and Ottawa Rough Riders.

Amy Hathaway is an American former actress. She first came to prominence as a teenaged actor, playing the role of Shelby Haskell in seasons two and three of My Two Dads (1989–90). She had major co-starring roles in the TV movie Last Exit to Earth (1996) and the feature film Joyride (1997). Her last television role was in a 2009 episode of The Closer, and her last film was a lead role in Gemini Rising (2013).

<i>Street Without End</i> 1934 Japanese film

Street Without End is a 1934 Japanese silent drama film directed by Mikio Naruse, based on a newspaper serial by Komatsu Kitamura. It was Naruse's last silent film and his final film for the Shochiku studio.


  1. Kinjite: Forbidden Subjects at Box Office Mojo
  2. Maslin, Janet (1989-02-04). "Movie Review - - Review/Film; Bronson and the Japanese -". Retrieved 2016-05-20.
  3. Cinefile: [Home Edition] Klady, Leonard. Los Angeles Times (pre-1997 Fulltext); Los Angeles, Calif. [Los Angeles, Calif]01 May 1988: 35.
  4. BUZZING THE FIELD . . .: [SPORTS FINAL, C Edition] Kathy O'Malley and Hanke Gratteau. Chicago Tribune 5 May 1988: 26.
  5. 1 2 Charles Bronson: a long way from Il Brutto: [ONT Edition] Charles Champlin Toronto Star; Toronto, Ont. [Toronto, Ont]07 Feb 1989: D1.
  6. Movie Reviews `Kinjite': Nothing New for Charles Bronson: [Home Edition] Wilmington, Michael. Los Angeles Times 3 Feb 1989: 11.