Some spoilers for Rising Sun ahead...

The person who gets shot in the back is Lt. Smith or "Kohai" Wesley Snipes and it knocks him out cold but does no real harm cause he's wearing a bullet proof vest. After he's shot, you briefly see the lead cop or "Sempai" Sean Connery, playing Captain Conner, check him to see if he's OK, before leaving the scene. The next scene Snipes is being questioned by his fellow LAPD officers and he's told that he was shot in a gang fight by an unknown shooter, which he objects to cause he knows it wasn't a gang fight but he's a good cop so he won't fight the story, but he's also disgusted by that version of events.

To give some background. There's a Japanese corporation in the US for a merger/purchase of a US company. At Japanese corporate headquarters, a call girl gets murdered and some high level executives want the murder case to be closed quickly so they can proceed with the merger.

There's Eddie Sakamura, played by Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, who's the prime suspect for the murder and who's on the Run.

There's the LAPD, who, don't like the Japanese at all, but when this scene happens, they arrive with one or two of the high level Japanese executives and their security guys. Harvey Keitel (LAPD) expresses willingness to let the Japanese handle the situation saying something like, "I'll wait in the car".

So, in this scene, both LAPD (based on planted evidence) and the Japanese Corporation (to close the case quickly), want to catch Eddie and charge him as fast as possible. Neat and tidy.

Then there's the two heroes, Connery and Snipes who want to find the real murderer. Snipes had been a loyal enough cop to the LAPD and his direct boss, Harvey Keitel, has some dirt on him, so LAPD assigns him to the case, figuring he's be a good cop and follow orders. Sean Connery, the senior officer, with no loyalty to LAPD, gets assigned the case based on the request of the Japanese CEO.

So in the scene in question, Eddie shows up at Snipes house with the original disk, the evidence that shows he's innocent. Connery gives Snipes a bullet proof vest and says "You may need this". Keitel shows up, knocks on the door and says "let me in", but because Eddie is there and he'd be immediately arrested, Snipes says no, you can't come in.

Keitel leaves and Connery knows that the shinola is about to hit the fan, so he sneaks out and does his thing, turning off the power in the building so they can sneak out, knocking out a few Japanese security guys in the garage and sneaking into the cop car and knocking out the two cops with a magic and not very believable nick grip, he knocks out both Keitel and his Partner in their patrol car (this is, obviously, after Keitel says "let the Japanese handle it, I'll be in my car", or something to that effect.

So, Connery returns and says "we can go out the garage", and they (with Snipes family, Connery carrying snipes daugher and leading the way, sneak out the back, but Eddie (Japanese honor), chooses instead to go out the front and face his enemies, even though they outnumber him like 6 to 1. Snipes is the first to notice he's gone and turns back to look for him, but he's too late. Eddie is killed and the Japanese executives get in their cars to high-tail it out of there.

This is the question. Snipes pulls out his gun to try to stop the Japanese from fleeing the scene and he gets shot in the back, knocking him out. I've watched it a few times and I can't work out who shoots him in the back. The shooter is never shown.

So, Question . . . Who shot him???

LAPD cops? I don't think they'd shoot one of their own to help the Japanese escape the scene. Plus the last we saw, they were knocked out cold by Connery and they chose to "sit it out and let the Japanese handle it".

The Japanese security guys? That's possible, but at the time, they were all escaping the scene. It's possible a security guard stayed back and shot Westley Snipes in the back. Believable, but not shown in the movie.

Or did Connery shoot him, cause he knew he had the vest on, so it would knock him down but not injure him. Perhaps Connery shot him because he wanted the Japanese to get away. He didn't see anything gained by Snipes perhaps putting a bullet in a tire and getting the car to crash?

None of the options are 100% satisfactory, with a Japanese security guy shooting him seeming the most probable. Answers from either (or both) Book and Movie are fine. I've not read the book though.

  • Not an answer because I'm not 100% sure, it's been like 20 years since I watched the film and I haven't actually read all of your question. However; my first thought on reading the title was "it was Sean Connery", so it must have been very clear to me that was the case if I remember it after all this time. Didn't it turn out that Connery's character was somehow in league with the bad guys but - in the manner of all good films - has a change of heart at the end and decides to help Snipes' character?
    – Darren
    Sep 22, 2017 at 12:41
  • @Darren I saw the film in theaters, didn't like it, but rewatching it on cable I've gained some respect for it. Connery was friends with the CEO of the Japanese company. An American committed the Murder and there was some shadyness all around. Yes it's entirely possible that Connery shot Snipes, knowing he was wearing a vest to keep him from shooting into the cars driving away. It's perfectly plausible. The book got mixed reviews but I don't believe Michael Crichton would leave so important a detail unanswered.
    – userLTK
    Sep 22, 2017 at 14:04
  • @Darren on Connery's "change of heart". I don't think so. Connery was pretty consistent throughout and "bad guys" is a bit of a grey area in the film. The LAPD had actually sided with the bad guys at that point cause they believed the planted evidence, Connery and Snipes didn't. Connery, who was trying to protect Eddy, Snipes was shooting at the people who'd just killed Eddy. They were on the same side at that point. - and sorry if my question was too much background.
    – userLTK
    Sep 22, 2017 at 14:11

2 Answers 2


Conner shot Smith to prevent Smith from shooting at the car, after weighing his options in the heat of the moment, and knowing Smith was wearing a bulletproof vest.

Smith's impulse was to shoot to damage or even stop the car, but he was hugely outnumbered, and shooting would likely bring the bad guys in the car back (perhaps with support of corrupt LAPD on scene) to finish off Conner, Smith and most importantly Smith's daughter.

I believe the theory above is bolstered by this evidence from your summary:

After he's shot, you briefly see the lead cop or "Sempai" Sean Connery, playing Captain Conner, check him to see if he's OK, before leaving the scene.

scene is here BTW

  • I appreciate your answer and it makes sense. I was leaning in this direction, but then I thought of another possibility. Could an LAPD cop have shot snipes to get him out of the way. He wasn't helping close the investigation. He was assigned to the case cause they thought they could control him but he wasn't giving the LAPD and his Boss (Harvey Keitel) what they wanted. Your answer works, but the LAPD shooting him works too. I don't believe that Michael Crichton left "who did the shooting" unanswered, but I'm still not able to work it out to my satisfaction.
    – userLTK
    Sep 27, 2017 at 16:39
  • I'm not sure you're right but you might be, and I appreciate the answer. It also seems silly to just throw the bounty away - so, awarded.
    – userLTK
    Oct 2, 2017 at 18:06
  • Thanks for the bounty! I hope to get my hands on the book version of Rising Sun to see if it helps answer with more certainty your very intriguing question.
    – Shiz Z.
    Oct 3, 2017 at 4:32

I watched it again from closer to the beginning. The movie got mixed reviews at the time and it holds a 34% at Rotten Tomatoes respected reviewers and just 39% popularity "liked it". Neither score is very good, but the Movie has some depth and complexity to it. I've grown to like it, even though parts of it are cheesy.


The film has a bit of a convoluted story that can be hard to work out. In the first scene there's a murder, the woman (callgirl/Eddie's GF) is found dead on a boardroom table. She's just had sex with Eddie and the Senator who could kill or approve the deal between the Japanese Company and the American microchip company it wants to buy (a threat to national security is a theme in the potential purchase).

Eddie, after having sex with her on the table and choking her (she liked being choked), offered her to the Senator who also had sex with her and choked her unconscious. It's possible the Senator thought he killed her, but he didn't. This was all caught on Camera, as planned, by the #2 guy at the Japanese corporation. (Ishihara played by Stan Egi).

So, Ishihara's plan was to blackmail the senator into signing off on the deal. Eddie, upon hearing about his girl's death goes to security and steals/acquires the disk (there are copies, of-course), but he has an original disk. This is important because the disk is doctored that night (Ishihara again), so that the disk shows a different set of events than what happened. This is done to protect the Senator, in exchange for his support of the business deal.

So, Eddie is the accused and he's on the run, he has the only remaining copy of the original disk. The disk that's turned over to police, Sean Connery is able to get some experts to look at it and they can tell it's been doctored but they can't see who's been removed.

Fast forward to the scene at Web's (Westley Snipes) Apt. They show a guy working on the telephone pole just outside the house. It's pretty straight forward to deduce that he's tapped the phone given how much camera time they give him and the Sean Connery character saying "get off the phone" - twice I think.

Connery (John Conner) knows that the Japanese aren't kidding around and there's like 15 of them, armed. Harvey Keitel says to his partner "let the Japs handle it" and "We have to look out for ourselves" and something about "Maybe we should call for backup" suggesting they're the only two cops there. Then he gets knocked unconscious by Connery - who also takes out at least half of the Japanese forces by remarkable "knock out" skills that would make Spock proud.

Fast forward to the escape scene, Eddie decides to face his enemy. He fights them 1 vs 4 and he does well but dies in the end. Westley Snipes, noticing Eddie's gone, goes after him, sees him die and sees the Japanese rabbiting from the scene and he pulls out his gun to fire when he gets shot. In the background, up in the corner, is the guy in the up by the telephone pole. He's the shooter, though he's too fuzzy to see the gun, him being in the background is enough to suggest it.

Then you see Westley fall and day-dream, indicating that a little time passes cause there's no point to him dreaming about the murdered girl otherwise. Then you see Connery fire two bullets (Westley was shot by one bullet). Presumably Connery was shooting at the guy by the Telephone Pole.

They never said if that guy worked for the cops, the Japanese or (possibly) the Senator. They never even clearly showed his face, but he was white, suggesting cops or Senator. The fact that the head cop, while grilling Westley Snipes after the event said "You were shot in a gang shooting" suggests a desire to protect the Telephone poll individual and suppress the entire event.

It took a couple watches of this scene for me to get it, but I think this is what happened. 99% convinced.

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