Nick Lowell (Jared Leto) befriends Kiyoshi (Tadanobu Asano) a member of the yakuza.
imprisoned in a Japanese cell, Lowell continues to overcome the situations he is put under. The WW2 settings make this film very watchable. The feel is right on. the film takes you on a journey to the dark unknown path of the crime syndicate. There are two families at odds in the film. The Shiromatsu and Seizu the opposing forces throughout the three Acts.
Kentez Asaka does a wonderful job playing the opposition, it's refreshing to see the antagonist just follow through instead of holding back like most movies fall into. The cultural backdrop adds to the film.
What I like about this film the most is the presence it conveys. An example of this would be the actor Min Tanaka who plays Akihiro Shiromatsu crimelord. He alone displays power without speech. His presence alone makes him intimidating enough to keep you on the edge of your seat.
I can't discount Leto's character because this film reminded me of Scarface a bit. Only some sequences have a mob type of feel. It is shot in Japan which gives it ambiance, and to me is important in a solid story.
The film does have some problems, it's not perfect, but if you like the mob stuff, and the violence that comes with it, then this one is for you. It's not the typical mob film because it's cultural Japanese backdrop, and it explores the yakuza world which is cool I guess. The ending is quite a shocker which I like but some folks might not. So if you're picky about endings and wanted another 45 minutes of backstory, sorry but this film will not deliver there.
As far as shots, scenes, filmmaking, visual delivery the film does deliver. But it lacks in story. The finished product is missing. I liked the movie don't get me wrong but it felt like the filmmakers were rushing it, instead of making the story just do its thing.