During the recent Tokyo Game Show 2020 event, Sega held a lengthy presentation. The company announced the surprising news that a live-action adaptation of Yakuza was currently in works in Hollywood.
Yakuza will be brought to life thanks to the 1212 Entertainment and Wild Sheep. The production teams are currently searching for a scriptwriter, and it’s unknown what plots the movie will cover. Erik Barmack, Roberto Grande, and Joshua Long were announced as producers for the game.
Based on comments from the production companies, the films will feature Kazuma Kiryu, the Dragon of Dojima. Kiryu has starred in a majority of the Yakuza games. Kiryu sacrifices ten years of his life in prison to take the fall for murder. After he leaves prison, Kiryu discovers that the world is significantly different, especially the state of his beloved clan.
Kiryu’s sworn brother, Akira Nashikiyama, is a completely different man and Kiryu’s childhood friend Yumi is nowhere to be found. Even worse, ten billion yen has been taken from the Tojo Clan, and the members are accusing each other of the theft. It’s up to Kiryu to find out what really happened while he was in prison.
In February 2020, Sega‘s Sonic the Hedgehog live-action adaptation was very well received. It became one of the best grossing video game movies. The film’s release was well-timed before the COVID-19 situation struck and closed most movie theaters for months.
However, live-action adaptation of a furry blue-hedgehog may have been slightly easier to accomplish compared to a franchise with heavy Japanese themes. After Sega announced the news, the reception was mixed.
Yakuza fans brought up the fact that a live-action film adaptation of the game, by director Takashi Miike in 2006, already existed. Some Japanese social media users felt that even if the film starred Japanese actors and were filmed in Japan, it would still have a different “feeling” because it’s a Hollywood production.
However, the production teams remain optimistic. 1212 Entertainment told Variety:
Yakuza offers us a new playground in which to set compelling stories with complex characters in a unique environment that audiences have rarely seen before. The saga of Kazuma Kiryu has a built-in cinematic appeal – a mix of kinetic action with bursts of comedy, multiple converging storylines, and a gripping journey towards redemption.
Yakuza, the movie, currently has no scheduled release date and is currently in early production.