Cops Lieutenant Crowe (Charles Bronson) and his partner Rios (Perry Lopez) are sitting in their car outside a hotel tonight awaiting the arrival of a notorious pimp known as Duke (Juan Fernández), and by and by he drives up with a young girl in his back seat. Crowe is disgusted to observe she could be as young as his teenage daughter, and as she is escorted into the building the cops get out and follow. After applying pressure to the desk clerk, they track the girl to a room where she is about to be taken advantage of by a client and Crowe is so furious he beats him up, grabs a dildo and... let's say the man's screams are heard all the way down the hall...
Good grief, what a way to start a film, but this was something of an end of an era for its star Bronson and his director and regular collaborator J. Lee Thompson. Not only was it their last work together, it was Thompson's last film full stop and also marked the final film Bronson would make for Cannon, the studio who had tried so hard to make the big time throughout that decade and had made so much money for their star, providing him with regular employment for a good ten films or so. Alas, for many Kinjite: Forbidden Subjects was a sign they were all running out of steam.
For Bronson, all he had to look forward to career-wise was an interesting supporting role in Sean Penn's The Indian Runner, a few TV movies and yet another, poorly recieved Death Wish sequel, so it would be nice to say he left the eighties, a time that had been good to his name above the title status especially when his films had been popular on this newfangled home video, on a high. But while some appreciated this movie, to most its sleazier elements were simply an indication of how desperate the filmmakers were to show they still had the power to shock, although there's a notable lessening of the action side of things, with Bronson using an obvious stunt double when necessary.
And all in the service of giving the scuzzy bad guys what they deserved, as remember the villains in these films have to act abominably to fully deserve the rough justice that Bronson doles out to them. Duke is worse than most of his kind, not a drug dealer for a change but a pimp who trades in young, teenage girls which Crowe is keen to point out funds his lavish lifestyle very comfortably. For some reason drug dealers are a more palatable evil in thrillers, something this film ignores to its cost. When Duke tracks Crowe to a football game and starts asking after his daughter (Amy Hathaway) in the most reprehensible manner, he ends up with not only some mustard-covered hotdogs in his face but later is made to swallow his own watch (!) and witness his expensive car being blown up by the aggrieved cop.
This kind of thing can raise a cheap laugh, but screenwriter Harold Nebenzal misjudged how far he should be taking his material as there's another character to muddle the moralising. He is a Japanese businessman, Hiroshi (James Pax) who embodies all the worst suspicions Westerners have about East Asian sexuality, so when he sees a woman being groped on the Tokyo subway he decides he likes the idea and when he gets to America with his family on a new job, he does the same on a bus. His victim is Crowe's daughter, something that fuels the lawman's racism, but to further complicate matters although Hiroshi gets away with it, his daughter is kidnapped by Duke and made to turn tricks (offscreen, thankfully), with Crowe on the case. The message would appear to be whether you're a raging pervert or an upstanding, no-nonsense officer of the law, your overprotection towards your little girls is fully justified. Interestingly, Crowe actually sends an adversary to prison and this doesn't indicate the criminal is getting off lightly, which makes a change for a Bronson movie. Otherwise, Kinjite's poor choice of subject matter makes one uncomfortable. Music by Greg De Belles.