American Yakuza (1993)

R  |   |  Action, Crime, Drama  |  22 December 1993 (Japan)
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Ratings: 5.7/10 from 1,827 users  
Reviews: 23 user | 8 critic

An American FBI agent is lured away by the Japanese Mafia--the Yakuza--in this action film.


(as Frank Cappello)


(story) (as Taka Ichise) , (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Nick Davis / David Brandt
Shuji Sawamoto
Dino Campanela
Yuko (as Cristina Lawson)
Isshin Tendo
Taka (as James Katsuyuki Taenaka)
Saiko Isshiki ...
Fritz Mashimo ...
Jeff Bankert ...
Medical Student
Agent #1
John Hammil ...
Agent #2


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. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


In America, they call it the Mafia... In Japan, they call it Yakuza... When they meet, they call it war! See more »


R | See all certifications »




Release Date:

22 December 1993 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Amerikai jakuza  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


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Did You Know?


For the shot near the beginning of the inside of a time clock as someone clocks in, an enormous time clock was built by the director and shot in his garage. The paper inserted is about 2 feet wide, and it was shot sideways so that they could just let the heavy stamper drop rather than come up from the side to hit the paper. See more »


(at around 1 min) When the Japanese bodyguard fires the last bullet out of the Thompson machine gun, the scene cuts to a shot of the spent bullet casings hitting the ground. As the shells hit the ground, you can clearly see the that ends of the cartridges, where the bullet exits the shell have been crimped, indicating that these are spent blanks. Real spent bullet casings are smooth. See more »


Followed by Back to Back (1996) See more »


I Have You To Love
Written by Tony Lorrich and Mark Portmann
Produced by Tony Lorrich for Organic Winter Productions
Vocals by Elaine Woodard
Published © 1993 by Sagacious Music and Marport Music
See more »

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User Reviews

Predictable but reasonably entertaining
14 June 2009 | by ( – See all my reviews

Half way through watching this film I had the sudden suspicion that I had seen this film before but, after checking, discovered that I hadn't

  • and I think that signifies its biggest failing. Essentially it's

by-the-numbers film-making, making use of every genre cliché which means it has a certain predictability about it.

Viggo Mortensen gives a decent performance, although for me his pretty boy looks means he's miscast in the role of an undercover cop who infiltrates the Yakuza, and the story is reasonably entertaining and fast-moving. The characterisation is fairly predictable though: wise older Japanese gangster, hot-headed younger gangster, cold-blooded Italian gangster, etc. The film sometimes looks as if it's heading in some interesting directions (the Italian mobster's verbally abused sidekick for example) but these turn into dead ends. The cinematography is first-class though. Successful on its own low-budget terms, the film will entertain those who watch without high expectations.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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