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American Yakuza


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Playback Region 2 :This will not play on most DVD players sold in the U.S., U.S. Territories, Canada, and Bermuda. See other DVD options under “Other Formats & Versions”. Learn more about DVD region specifications here

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Product Details

  • Actors: Viggo Mortensen, Ryo Ishibashi, Michael Nouri, Franklyn Ajaye, Yuji Okumoto
  • Directors: Frank A. Cappello
  • Writers: John Allen Nelson, Max Strom, Takashige Ichise
  • Producers: Aki Komine, Don Phillips, Joel Soisson, Michael Leahy
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: German (Mono)
  • Region: Region 2 (Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Run Time: 96 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004RYDH
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #591,024 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "American Yakuza" on IMDb

Special Features

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Customer Reviews

Lots of katana action, best mafia film since scarface!
Tony Martinez
There are very good action sequences, some interesting surprises in the plot, as well as romance and some subtle humor here and there.
JAG 2.0
It almost gets interesting near the end but its just a big mess of a movie at the end of the day.
Sho Uesugi

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

104 of 111 people found the following review helpful By Lisa Shea HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 19, 2003
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I am a huge, huge fan of things Japanese. I ran a feudal Japan special interest group for Mensa for 12 years, writing and researching all aspects of samurai, ninja, and so on. So I pretty much see any Japanese-related movie I can get my hands on.
In American Yakuza, Viggo Mortensen plays Nick Davis/David Brandt - an ex-con that gets wrapped up in the Yakuza. Yakuza are the Japanese mob, and they are having issues with the American mob. There is a lot of culture-clash going on, and love interest. Ryo Ishibashi is the co-star from the Japanese side.
Don't be put off by the roughness of Viggo's character at the beginning. There some AMAZING plot twists in store, and the level of acting and scriptwriting is just amazing. It's a real movie about real people - the fights are all quite realistic, the way people react to each other is amazing. The revelations at the end make you literally want to watch the entire movie a second time to watch for things you missed the first time around.
Key Warning: Do NOT READ the blurbs on the box or the reviews that divulge what happens in the ending part of the movie. You ruin the entire meaning behind the movie if you go into it knowing what is going to happen. You need to watch it pretty much blind the first time, and let things unfold for you. If you do, you will be well rewarded. There are many things I'd love to praise in particular about Viggo's acting in this one but to do so would be to ruin the movie. So watch it and see for yourself.
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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful By "hachimenreirou" on July 28, 2000
Format: DVD
This film was a brilliant surprise in comparison to the many "mafia", and "karate" movies available today. This film was an intelligent, alternative to the standard "shoot first and ask questions later", action films that are so popular in the nineties. Viggo Mortensen plays a character that was released from prison, and accidentally saves a member of the Yakuza (Japanese mafia) and thereby achieves a high status within the Yakuza. And this is just the beginning of one of the richest action movie plots in the last century. Not only do the actors give incredible, believable performances, but the plot is plausible as well. I will not go into further details on the plot for fear of giving something away, but suffice it to say, it is filled with twists, turns, surprises, and REALISTIC dialogue. My highest recommendation of this film is that their action scenes are not exaggerated. They are things that could realistically happen. No one, out-runs explosions, no one dodges an unheard of amount of bullets, and the characters don't all blow things up first and ask questions later. The characters have depth, and are intelligent, and very well acted. I cannot stress enough that this is a quality piece of film, far beyond the capacity of most action films. If you are in the mood for tense, and electrifying action that is plausible and realistic see this movie!
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 26, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
This film is only for those who can appreciate "real" cinema. It respects Japanese tradition, and utililizes the martial art's "Codes of Honor". The story itself is well written, with plot twists, suprises and a gratifying conclusion. The director's guidance and the cinematographer's visionary skills are to be praised as well. However, the true mastery in this piece is in the acting. Viggo Mortensen and his counterpart Ryo Ishibashi deserve the highest marks. Their realistic, on-screen duo performance makes Gibson and Glover in Lethal Weapon and Tucker and Chan in Rush Hour, pale in comparison. Overall, I highly recommend American Yakuza as a solid piece of work, for all discerning film-goers.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By M. Bab on April 26, 2005
Format: DVD
I admit I saw this because of Viggo, but it sat on my "to be watched" pile for nearly a year because of that awful cover. This is a very good movie. Not perfect by any means, and not necessarily original (comparisons have been made to Donnie Brascoe) but very good. I thought the relationship between Viggo and the Yakuza boss was wonderfully developed. On the other hand, I thought the romantic subplot was silly -- also thankfully short, TRULY a subplot, and it didn't detract from my enjoyment of the film.

Some people describe this as a "B" movie, and while I see their point, I don't necessarily agree. Say 5 stars for a "B" movie, 3.5 stars for an "A" movie!
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
American Yakuza is based on an interesting premise, that an American can be accepted into a Japanese crime family. I'm interested in Japanese culture, though I know next to nothing about the Yakuza. I thought to myself when I saw this on sale, "That's less than the price of a movie ticket." Well, I sure got my money's worth. There are some good things in this movie, but perhaps not what the producers intended.

For starters this movie is full of TERRIBLE acting. Not bad acting, not so-so acting. I mean REALLY BAD ACTING. Believe it or not, that's actually one of my pros for this movie. At times the acting is so bad that it provided some "unintended humor" to spice up an otherwise dry scene. The actor who plays Vigo's agency boss is the highlight for me. I'm laughing now just thinking about it. In fact, only a few of the Japanese actors are watchable, but that is all lost in the bad performances all around.

Many people will be drawn in by the star power of Vigo Mortensen. Let me just say that while I think he can be good at times, this is hardly the first of his movies that have left me unsatisfied. I won't blame him for that, but his star power alone shouldn't really be drawing anybody to anything. He clearly will act in just about anything as long as they cut him a check.

The DVD quality is as close to VHS as DVD can be. Once again, it's an older movie, not a major studio release, so I can overlook that a little bit.

But the worst part about this movie is the extremely weak story line. In fact, that's my second source of unintended humor. Vigo shows up out of nowhere and saves some guy's life.
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