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. I run a set of pages on Japanese Culture and Movies. 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.
Also just to note, there was an American Yakuza 2 movie which did NOT have Viggo in it, and which was pretty bad.
Buy American Yakuza from Amazon.com
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