American Yakuza When Nick Davis leaves prison after one year in solitaire, he is hired to operate forklift in a warehouse in the harbor owned by the Japanese Yakuza patriarch Isshin Tendo. The place is assaulted by the Italian Mafia leaded by Dino Campanela and Nick rescues and saves the life of Shuji Sawamoto, who is the representative of Yakuza interests in America. Shuji hires Nick to work for Yakuza and becomes his godfather in the family after his oath to join Yakuza. However, Nick is a lonely FBI undercover agent assigned to penetrate in the criminal organization. When the FBI discovers that Campanela is organizing a massive attack to destroy the Yakuza, Nick’s boss Littman calls off the operation to leave the dirty work to the Italian Mafia. But the connection of Nick with Shuji and his goddaughter Yuko forces him to help his Japanese family.
Above average b-grade action movie with a great cast!
‘American Yakuza’ rises above most of the other b-grade action movies that clog up the video shelves because of its outstanding cast. Viggo Mortensen, is now well on his way to being a major star thanks to Peter Jackson’s Tolkien trilogy, but many of us have been following his career for quite some time, since Sean Penn’s brilliant ‘The Indian Runner’ say. Mortensen is excellent as “Nick” an undercover FBI agent who infiltrates the Yakuza, and finds himself caught between his obligations and his loyalties, especially when a gang war with the Mob escalates. Ryo Ishbashi (‘Audition’) plays Sawamoto, the Yakuza who becomes Nick’s friend and mentor, and Michael Nouri (‘The Hidden’) plays Sawamoto’s Mafia rival Campanela. The rest of the cast includes comedian Franklyn Ajaye (‘Carwash’) as Nick’s contact, Robert Forster (‘Jackie Brown’) as his boss, Nicky Katt (‘The Limey’) as Campanela’s right hand man, and Yuji Okumoto (‘Brain Smasher… A Love Story’) as one of Sawamoto’s crew. This is by no means the best crime thriller I’ve ever seen but thanks to the great cast I enjoyed watching it.