American Yakuza (1993)

R  |   |  Action, Crime, Drama  |  22 December 1993 (Japan)
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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


The mob has a new enemy. 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

Enjoyable if predictable East meets West crime thriller
7 January 2009 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

I watched this one recently, having heard a while back from an acquaintance that it was an underrated gem and though it wasn't as good as it could have been, it was still an entertaining romp. The plot sees an ex con recruited by a Yakuza boss in his war against the mob, but the ex con is in fact an undercover agent. Yes, its another undercover agent gets in too deep, sympathises with the criminals, puts too much personal stake in whats going on etc. affair, but it zips along, is nicely played and has some fine action. Viggo Mortensen makes for a decent hero, he plays things low key and cool and keeps the audience on his side. Ryo Ishibashi is perhaps the most entertaining performance, mainly because its so great to see a classic style Yakuza performance in a movie from the west. Robert Forster is underused as Mortensen's boss, while Michael Nouri does good work as the mob leader. The chief problem with this film is predictability. The plot, writing and characters are all routine and this rather takes away from the suspense or emotional heft. It rather gives the impression of a film going through the motions, polished and very watchable, but at the close it doesn't leave much impact. Also, the first action sequence is the best in the film, a real ripsnorter that leaves the audience wishing for more of the same. Not to say that the rest of the action is in any way weak, for most of it is pretty swell, but it never quite tops the opening. This is definitely an appealing film and far better than most of this sort of fare, it just isn't quite hard hitting or innovative enough. Still, worth a look for action fans or fans of the main stars.

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