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Film / Yakuza

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The legend of the Dragon of Dojima comes to the big screen.

A Live-Action Adaptation of the first game in the video game brawler series for the PS2 and PS3, Like a Dragon (or Yakuza as it's formerly known in the West. The movie is sometimes referred to as Yakuza: Like A Dragon in western marketsnote ). 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, written by Masashi Sogo and starring Kazuki Kitamura, 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:

  • Adaptation Explanation Extrication: 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.
  • Affably Evil: The Beam video store owner, who is friendly and soft spoken despite being an arms dealer and information broker willing to endanger his customers' lives if the circumstances call for it. The robbers eventually turn out to be this, as well, with their captives even thanking them for demanding expensive dinners for everyone.
  • 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. Yet more true to the games is his men's loyalty and admiration despite his abuse.
  • 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.
  • Battle Aura: A firey blue one flares up around Kazuma in a couple of scenes, much like does in the games.
  • 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.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The camera lingers on a rack of energy drinks - the game's most potent healing items - towards the end of the scene in which Kazuma is being treating by a back alley doctor who thinks his wounds need stitches to keep from re-opening. One such drink, a Staminan Spark, the strongest healing item in the game, is what gives him the second wind he needs to defeat Nishikiyama and his goons.
  • 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 Toshihiro Nagoshi, the director of the games.
  • Cross Counter: The conclusion of Kiryu and Majima's second battle.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: A hale and hearty Kazuma doles these out throughout the film. Things are a little rougher for him once he's shot, but it's nothing an energy drink can't fix.
  • Death by Adaptation: Played with. Majima, after the Millenium Tower blows up, staggers back to the baseball centre, flipping the welcome sign to say he's home, and falling limp with blood dripping from his mouth. The shot stays still on him for a few seconds, as though he were dead, before he sneezes, lamenting that he feels tired because he caught a cold.
  • 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 other.
  • 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.
  • Made of Iron: Majima absolutely refuses to go down without a fight. Even a bullet through his chest isn't enough to do much worse than make his trip back to his office difficult, and apparently give him a cold.
  • Mook Chivalry: The guys holding a seemingly unconscious Kazuma stand by and let him finish downing his Staminan for a good 30 seconds, doing nothing to stop him besides wailing in anticipatory agony.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: Nishiki's henchmen begin lifting a half-dead Kazuma to execute him and react with horror as they find him gulping down an energy drink, whose ad flashes triumphantly on the screen. Reinvigorated, Kazuma proceeds to beat down everyone without breaking a sweat.
  • Not Quite Dead: Majima is shot down after his third fight against Kazuma and is left for dead, but he wakes up later and saunters off to his batting cage. Once there he sits down and appears to die for real, only to sneeze from the cold.
  • 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 the 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).
    • The only noticeable difference between Game Majima and Movie Majima is that, in the film, Majima's eye patch is on the wrong eye. This is because his actor, Goro Kishitani, is actually blind in one eye, so it was just easier to swap which side the patch was on.

Alternative Title(s): Ryu Ga Gotoku