April 17, 2003

American Yakuza

I don't usually go in for mafia movies, but since American Yakuza stars Viggo Mortensen, it was a foregone conclusion that it would show up on our stack at some point. Mortensen plays an FBI agent in deep cover attempting (rather successfully) to infilitrate a Japanese mafia family in Los Angeles. The Japanese mafia is in the midst of a war with the American mafia, and the movie explores this scenario in a pretty predictable fashion. Lots of gun fire, lots of blood, lots of dead mafia guys. The conflict for Mortensen's character is that his friends in the Yakuza have so much more integrity and honor than his bosses at the FBI that his allegiances start getting fuzzy. Mortensen's performance and some interesting camera work ratchet this a notch above typical shoot-em-up standards. We looked to see if director Frank A. Cappello had done anything else, and he has one other film out there called No Way Back about an FBI guy (played by Russell Crowe) mixed up in a conflict between the American mafia and the Yakuza. Hmm...

Verdict: 2-1/2 stars (out of 4)

Posted by jeffy at April 17, 2003 04:06 PM