|Directed by||Frank Cappello|
|Produced by||Don Philliips
|Screenplay by||John Allen Nelson
|Story by||Takashige Ichise|
|Music by||David C. Williams|
|Edited by||Sonny Baskin|
|Distributed by||Toei Company
American Yakuza is a 1993 American action film written by Takashige Ichise with a screenplay by John Allen Nelson and Max Strom, and directed by Frank Cappello for First Look International. Starring Viggo Mortensen and Ryo Ishibashi, the film had its theatrical release in Japan in December 1993, followed by theatrical release in South Korea in 1994. The film had its video premiere in the United States in 1995 and its DVD premiere in Russia in 2002.
American FBI agent Nick Davis (Viggo Mortensen) works undercover, rising through the ranks of the Yakuza to infiltrate their operations. Adopted by the Tendo crime family, he is entangled with the Italian mafia, the Yakuza, and the FBI. In the end he must decide what is most important to him.
- Viggo Mortensen as Nick Davis / David Brandt
- Ryo Ishibashi as Shuji Sawamoto
- Michael Nouri as Dino Campanela
- Franklyn Ajaye as Sam
- Yuji Okumoto as Kazuo
- Anzu Lawson as Yuko
- Robert Forster as Littman
- Nicky Katt as Vic
- James Taenaka as Taka
- Toni Naples as Mrs. Campanela
- John Fujioka as Isshin Tendo
- Saiko Isshiki as Aya
- Fritz Mashimo as Okazaki
- Joey Ciccone as Rudy
TV Guide wrote that director Frank Cappello did "an adequate job of weaving a relatively intricate storyline together, while delivering numerous explosive, action-packed sequences", offering that Viggo Mortensen excelled in his performance, and Ryo Ishibashi was impressive in his role. They concluded that overall, American Yakuza "is a surprisingly powerful portrayal of the loyalties that exist in the underworld, where violence and betrayal are a way of life."
Reviewer Anton Bitel wrote after considering Viggo Mortensen's acting in this 1993 film, and how he is better remembered now as Aragorn in the Lord of the Rings films, this one "will leave viewers wondering why Mortensen’s talents were not generally recognized a lot earlier." He also notes that one of the film's ironies is that when the Mafia takes on the Yakuza in the film and "boast of their 'American drive and know-how'", they forget the similarities in that a century earlier they were just as eager as the Yakuza "to get a foothold in this country”. Bitel feels that "American Yakuza is in effect ‘The Godfather: the next Generation’ – an immigrant saga of family, blood and assimilation that just happens to be set in the world of organized crime." He found flaws in that parts of the film "have the look of a rock video" and overall suffers from needing a larger budget. He concludes with praise for the acting, twisting plotline, and the carefully restrained violence.