Tokyo Vice

Tokyo Vice


hbo max

A thrilling neon-noir set in the seedy underbelly of 1990s Tokyo


TV Show

Japan, United States of America
English, Japanese
Crime, Drama
Ansel Elgort, Ella Rumpf, Hideaki Ito
57 min

What it's about

A first-hand account of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police beat following Jake Adelstein, an American journalist who embeds himself into the Tokyo Vice police squad to reveal corruption. Based on Jake Adelstein’s non-fiction book of the same name.

The take

It’s hard not to roll your eyes at what looks like yet another white-centered story set in a foreign land. But Tokyo Vice, thankfully, is hardly that. Co-produced by crime drama auteur Michael Mann (Heat, Collateral, Miami Vice), the HBO series is a stylishly thrilling and comprehensive look at the yakuza crime ring running Tokyo from the underground.

Ansel Elgort’s Jake, an investigative journalist, may be our way in, but it’s the rest of the characters who grip our interest. They’re gangster tropes fleshed out with rich and complicated backstories. Ken Watanabe’s Katagiri is a hardboiled detective—so effectively cool and scary—who you’d like to believe is good, but also has his own secrets lurking in the shadows. Rachel Keller’s Samantha is a sultry hostess who, unlike in mob films past, actually has character, motivation, and specific problems she figures out on her own. Sato (Sho Kasamatsu) and Emi (Rinko Kikuchi), Jake’s yakuza friend and newspaper editor respectively, are also given stories that genuinely intrigue and compel on their own.

Lit by Tokyo’s neon glow and set to Mann’s signature fast pace, this is a series not to be missed by action-crime fans.


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