The internet was recently buzzed with words suggesting Hollywood filmmakers’ desire to bring the Yakuza franchise on the big screen. Particularly, as a joint project between two US-based companies, Wild Sheep and 1212 Entertainment. Possibly, as an attempt to mimic the success of some recent video game-based films, namely Sonic the Hedgehog and Detective Pikachu.
To anyone who knows the franchise, Yakuza is a series of games which revolve around Japan’s underworld. Which, like the popular depiction of the crime world, inevitably features lots of violence and law-breaking. But, surprisingly, with a tone, also, that does not take itself too seriously in some regards. To say the least, the series underpins a perfect blend of quirk and quaintness.
That mix of seriousness and eccentricity is partly what makes the franchise so popular and what gives it its staying power even to this day. There’s even an upcoming entry into the franchise and another being already in the works, as of writing.
For a game that tells a story about a subculture embedded within Japan’s own, making a Hollywood adaptation of the franchise would be challenging, to say the least. Particularly for filmmakers from the West who may only have a preconceived notion about how the Yakuza works. That and the serious qualm about their level of apprehension on Yakuza philosophy.
The idea is strong as such, and many are skeptical at how the project will turn out should it become a finalized project. One is claiming that the game might somehow “feel off” even when set in Japan with a cast full of Japanese people.
Another going so far as to compare the will-be endeavor to pre-existing Yakuza-based film by Takashi Miike. Consequently, citing it to be a “diss” to the popular Japanese filmmaker.
The worst critic comes from someone who brings up the topic about the flopped Dragon Ball-based live adaptation, relating its abysmal presentation to the topic.
But not everyone appears pessimistic about the initiative, with others being hopeful at how it will turn out.
Some are merely gestures that show positive interest to the future film. But one very encouraging comment comes from someone who relates the topic to the successful French adaptation of the anime, City Hunter. Which, if anything, is clearly an insinuation of the potential of the undertaking. That is if the production would only choose to remain faithful to the original material.
Image used courtesy of Super Eyepatch Wolf/YouTube Screenshot
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