aka: Ryu Ga Gotoku
A Live-Action Adaptation of the first game in the video game brawler series for the PS2 and PS3, Ryu Ga Gotoku (Like a Dragon, or Yakuza as it's known in America. The movie is sometimes referred to as Yakuza: Like A Dragon in western markets). It is an adaptation of the latter half of the first game in the series, featuring Kazuma Kiryu (桐生 一馬, Kiryū Kazuma), the "Dragon of Dojima," on his quest to find Haruka's mother, find out what happened to his childhood friend Nishiki and his girlfriend, Yumi while he was in prison for ten years (though you won't necessarily realize any of these things if you just watch the movie). There are several B-plots set in the city of Kamurocho, including the police dealing with a pair of idiotic bank robbers, a boyfriend and girlfriend going on a crime spree, and a Korean hitman arriving in the city.Directed by Takashi Miike, the movie manages to capture the mildly surrealistic humor of the games, including the severe Mood Whiplash. It's stylized very much like a live action version of a video game, complete with rather cartoonish effects and ridiculous action sequences.
This film adaptation includes examples of:
- All There in the Manual: Most of the characters, their motivations, and backstories. Even Kazuma's is barely touched upon, as the movie begins well into the plot of the first game. Like A Dragon: Prologue also covers these things, as well as going into more detail to the backstories of the characters than even the games. You would be forgiven for not having any idea who Nishiki was even after the conclusion of the film.
- Ascended Extra: Not an extra, but Majima's role is much larger than his role in the game.
- Bad Boss: Majima, true to the game.
- Batter Up: Majima uses a bat early in the movie, though he prefers his knife against Kazuma and a shotgun later on. Against his own men, however.... Interesting in that he actually uses the bat to hit balls to take out enemies, rather than always directly hitting the enemy.
- Big Bad: Mister N is the one who stole the 10 billion yen
- Big Damn Heroes: Shintaro Kazama saving his adopted son.
- Boke and Tsukkomi Routine: The bank robbers.
- Canon Immigrant: Majima's use of the shotgun as a weapon of choice and one of his Batter Up moments show up in Yakuza: Dead Souls.
- City of Adventure: Kamurocho, so much.
- Coat Cape: Kazuma wears his jacket like this at the end of the movie. This is largely so that it can be blown off by a helicopter so he would be shirtless for the final fight.
- Creator Cameo: Mister N is played by the director of the games.
- Cross Counter: The conclusion of Kiryu and Majima's second battle.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Naturally.
- Developing Doomed Characters: The bank robbers, and the robbing couple. Subverted by Park, who is more of a Chekhov's Gunman, killing the Big Bad.
- Dramatic Gun Cock: Majima and Kiryu do this to each other with pump-action shotguns. About 20 times in succession. At point-blank. You'd think by that point the two would realize they're out of shells. It won't even be halfway through the sequence before you realize it's being played as a gag.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Kazuma tells Haruka to come to him, even when Majima and his goons are firing at him, knowing that Majima, while he would beat his own men to death over nothing, wouldn't hurt Haruka.
- Fearful Symmetry: Kazuma and Majima's fights have elements of this. Most prevalent in their fight with shotguns, with their actions perfectly mirroring each others.
- I Know Madden Kombat: Majima's aforementioned Batter Up moments.
- Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Majima's goons in the bar, once Kiryu breaks his cover and goes on the offensive.
- Knife Nut: Majima uses both a bat and a shotgun for much more of the movie, but when it really matters, he prefers his knife.
- No Koreans in Japan: Averted by the hitman, Park, who also gets assistance from local Koreans in the city.
- Oh Crap!: When the gangsters realize that Kazuma has taken a swig of a healing item in the final battle.
- Outlaw Couple: The pair of kids who decide to start robbing after they get the opportunity when a fight breaks out in a "Don Quixote" store.
- Pet the Dog: Kazuma begins the movie with an almost literal version, his first appearance is buying dog food for a dog for Haruka (... and getting into a fight in the process, of course).
- Shout-Out: Many to the games, including use of the same fire effects denoting HEAT, sound effects from the games popping up, and healing items from the games being shown in a fridge in the foreground at one point. The latter being a Chekhov's Gun, as, true to video game form, it fully heals Kazuma right when he's on the brink of defeat
- Soundtrack Dissonance: Played with... Crazy Ken Band's very upbeat "Hama no Ambassador" playing over Majima's wandering the streets, hitting random people with a bat and starting brawls seems to conflict with the action, but at the same time fits Majima's crazier tendencies.
- Spared by the Adaptation: Fuma/Kazama apparently survives.
- You Didn't Ask: When Kazuma asks why Haruka didn't mention Yumi earlier, this is her response.
- You Don't Look Like You: Averted by Kazuma and Majima, who look very similar to their in-game counterparts (Kazuma looks a bit young, though his model in the first game didn't exactly look aged). Played straight by Haruka and Yumi, who don't resemble their in-game counterparts at all (but fortunately don't lose any of their important qualities).