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Viggo Mortensen

Viggo Mortensen Films

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Viggo Mortensen in American Yakuza

Viggo Mortensen as Nick Davis in American Yakuza

Release: 1993

Director: Frank A. Cappello
Writer(s): John Allen Nelson and Max Strom
Based on: story by Taka Ichise

Runtime: 96 min

MCAA Rating: R for violence (bloody fights, gun battles) and partial nudity


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American Yakuza Cast and Crew

Viggo Mortensen: Nick Davis/David Brandt

Other leading roles:
Ryo Ishibashi as Shuji Sawamoto
Michael Nouri as Dino Campanela
Franklyn Ajaye as Sam
Yuji Okumoto as Kazuo
Cristina Lawson as Yuko

American Yakuza Synopsis

The Yakuza, Japanese mafia, are moving in to southern California. When Nick Davis (Mortensen) is released from prison, he finds work at a Yakuza-owned company, and through a series of adventures is accepted into the powerful Tendo crime family. There are many plot twists that I won't give away in the synopsis, see the review for more.

American Yakuza Brief Review

If you haven't already seen this film, I recommend watching it before reading the video jacket or reading a full review, as the unexpected plot twists are part of the enjoyment.

Viggo Mortenson plays David Brandt, an FBI agent working undercover as an ex-convict (Nick Davis) who needs a job. He infiltrates the Tendo family almost too successfully. The Tendo adopt him, while the FBI sabotage his work, leading Brandt to face a crisis of loyalty. Mortensen and Ryo Ishibashi, who plays the local Tendo leader, work beautifully together to create a story of honor and friendship.

The plot is a bit loose, and some of the mafiosi need to take acting lessons, but the story is believable, the action is intense, and the characters well-drawn. It's a hoot to see Viggo as action hero, guns blazing as he flies through the air. A great film for Viggo Mortensen fans, because he is in almost every scene, and a good evening's entertainment for others.

American Yakuza Soundtrack

Original Music by David C. Williams

American Yakuza Photo Galleries

Viggo Mortensen in American YakuzaVal's Screencaps: Viggo Mortensen in American Yakuza - Over 100 screen captures of Viggo Mortensen as Nick/David in American Yakuza. Mostly full-screen, some cropped. Larger than the average screencap, good clarity.

American Yakuza Resources

Viggo Mortensen as Nick Davis in American YakuzaAmerican Yakuza - Richard Clabaugh, Director of Photography for American Yakuza, provides details and interesting insights on the cinematography and production of the film. Illustrated with good stills. His summary: "I know American Yakuza has its flaws, not everyone likes it, but for the resources we had no one can ever make me feel bad about it.... We tried hard to make it stand out from a crowd of similar, bland, cheesy exploitation action films. We had to deliver the action scenes, that was our job and I feel we did it well, but we also tried very hard to do it with more style than most, to make the characters interesting and to be as classy as circumstances would allow. Those with an eye to appreciate up and coming talent (such as Viggo) should recognize that even at this low level, everyone made a strong effort to produce a good motion picture.

"I especially enjoyed working with our cast, particularly Viggo and Ryo, both of whom I hope to someday get a chance to work with again if the Fates should allow it. I didn't need Lord of the Rings to know Viggo was a prince."
American Yakuza (1994) - Review by Dragan Antulov finds the plot weak but still recommends the film: "the most impressive element of the film is Viggo Mortensen, one of the most capable American character actors, here in a very unusual role of an action lead - tough, but sensitive man with a hidden agenda."

American Yakuza Video Clips

These Quicktime video clips are suitable for a PG-13 audience. You will find one 4-letter word and some guns blazing but nothing worse.

You are welcome to download them for your own use. You are welcome to link to this site or to this page but please DO NOT hotlink directly to the clips. If you post the clips on your web site, please link back to

Viggo Mortensen as Nick Davis in American YakuzaAY-07: Attack on the warehouse - One of several action-packed sequences near the beginning of the film. In this one, Nick Davis (Viggo Mortensen) takes cover in a large bin and comes out with guns blazing. (00'13, 520 KB)
Viggo Mortensen as Nick Davis in American YakuzaAY-13: Hands clasped - Nick Davis (Viggo Mortensen) is witnessing the Yakuza threaten a man with a violent death. His hands betray his tension. (00'02, 64 KB)
Viggo Mortensen as Nick Davis in American YakuzaAY-20: I'm in deep - Undercover FBI agent David Brandt (Viggo Mortensen), posing as Nick Davis, tells his FBI partner Sam (Franklyn Ajaye) that he's managed to get "in deep" with the Yakuza. "Give me a break. You told me to get in deep; I'm in all the way. They didn't teach us this one at the Academy. He thinks I'm Batman or something." (00'10, 140 KB)
Viggo Mortensen as Nick Davis in American YakuzaAY-24: Don't follow me - Nick Davis (Viggo Mortensen) is angry when he finds out that his new Yakuza boss has had him followed. "Look, you hired me. If you don't trust me, cut me loose. I don't need some freak with a sword following me everytime I take a sh*t." (00'07, 124 KB)
Viggo Mortensen as Nick Davis in American YakuzaAY-31: Tea ceremony introduction - In this, the first segment of the tea ceremony scene, Nick Davis is told the significance of the ceremony. (00'18, 336 KB)
Viggo Mortensen as Nick Davis in American YakuzaAY-36: Picture and rose - Nick Davis (Viggo Mortensen) is musing over an old family picture and his new Yakuza family when a vendor offers him a red rose. (00'22, 360 KB)
Viggo Mortensen as Nick Davis in American YakuzaAY-42: Flying (slo-mo) - Nick Davis (Viggo Mortensen) makes a flying leap over the bar, guns blazing. I slowed the motion; in the film it flies by at full speed. (00'04, 76 KB)

American Yakuza Photo Gallery

Click on the images to see larger versions (dimensions in parentheses). Thanks to Sagra for giving me permission me to crop from her screen captures. Want more? See her collection of over 90 full-frame screencaps from American Yakuza.