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Mako: A Tribute to a Fine Actor

Here is a list of films that Mako has graced with his presence. You will find the year and the name of his character next to the movie's title, and also a synopsis. For more information as well as a place to purchase the movie, click each of the titles for the link. Asterisks indicate that a trailer can be seen on the linked page.

If there is a favorite Mako movie quote not included here, please let me know, and I will add it.

A handsome L.A. playboy juggles four gorgeous girlfriends, searches for true love, and gets involved in an elaborate con.

Admiral Yamamoto: "I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant."
"A brilliant man would have found a way not to fight a war."

Set during the time of the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, two friends (Ben Affleck and Josh Hartnett) are caught up in the events that draw the United States into World War II. One of them enlists with the U.S. Army Air Corps and the other flies for the British Royal Air Force, but they both find themselves in love with the same woman (Kate Beckinsale).

The HIGHLANDER saga continues with this pack of the continuing adventures of Connor MacLeod, as he battles a nemesis (Mario Van Peebles) who had been trapped under rocks for four hundred years in HIGHLANDER: THE FINAL DIMENSION. In HIGHLANDER: ENDGAME Connor teams up with his brother Duncan to battle an evil overlord.

Chuckie's dad Chas starts dating again, and it's Chuckie's wish to find a new mom. When Stu Pickles is summoned to Reptarland, an amazing new amusement park in Paris, to work on his Reptar invention, Tommy, Chuckie, Angelica, Lil, Phil, Baby Dil, Didi and the whole gang tag along to the city of romance. The adventure turns out to be more than glamour, fashion and smelly cheese. Chuckie learns that when it comes to princesses and potential mommies, things are not always what they seem, and for Chas, finding the right woman can be difficult in any language. The world's favorite babies learn new lessons about courage, loyalty, trust and, above all, true love.

A friendly sushi chef (Taka) loves giving romantic advice to his customers. But his advice is awful, and his customers leave without paying the bill. His scary Boss (Mr. Hiro) tells Taka to quit talking to the customers or he'll be fired.

A feature-length film starring the Cirque du Soleil, ALEGRIA is a beautifully filmed fantasy about the strange world inhabited by circus performers and their interpersonal relations. Veteran thespians Mako, Langella and Cox provide the acting chops while members of the famed Canadian troupe do their inimitable thing.

GeThis quirky buddy picture features a tape-recorder diary-keeping salaryman and a near-psychotic yakuza hitman with a traumatic past travelling through the countryside of China in search of a mysterious mountain village with a fabled vein of jade. The salaryman Wada (Masahiro Motoki) is there for his company, and the yakuza Ujiie is there to collect from that company. Led by a preternaturally calm guide Shen (Mako Iwamatsu), they are gradually weaned from their attachments to modern civilization as they trek deeper and deeper into the verdant, rocky heights of Yunnan, China. They meet with obstacles and strange characters such as a boatman obsessively frightened of death and attached to the turtles that pull his raft. But, nothing prepares them for what greets them when they reach the village. Here a blue-eyed Chinese girl works at teaching children to fly with wings made out of canvas and wood, and sings old Irish folksongs. In this dreamy, heartfelt comedy, themes like magical escapism, duty, tradition, and modernity clash as each man wrestles with conscience and soul over the meaning of their lives.

When a former student turns against him, a martial arts sensei vows vengeance in the form of a lethal new student--and an ancient tournament where the stakes are life and death.

At the height of World War II, an emotionally remote Austrian mountain climber journeys to the holy city of Lhasa, Tibet in search of peaks to tame and finds instead an unexpected friend in the form of the young Dalai Lama. Under the influence of the holy leader, the mountaineer--and, not coincidentally, Nazi Party member--begins a personal journey that leads to a greater self-awareness and inner wisdom. Adapted from the eponymous memoir by Heinrich Harrer.

A city explodes in a dangerous mix of emotion, arson, and violence after a jury acquits a group of Anglo policemen accused of excessive force in a racially-motivated arrest.

After her sister and nephew are killed by burglars, police psychologist Jana Dane is hit in the head and wakes up in the hospital with unusual psychic abilities. She proceeds to use her new abilities to track down the bad guys, using her considerable martial arts skills along the way. Featuring excellent dramatic and fight scenes, SWORN TO JUSTICE is a superior action film.

Mako narrates this animated telling of the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale for ages 6 through 9.

Desperate to prove his brother's death was not a suicide, a young black belt insinuates himself into a rival karate gang where he must challenge its leader to a death match. High school is tough.

Genre: Action

When he was just a boy, police officer John Kang received a grueling course of training in "Bazak" -- the most lethal of all martial arts. Then every recollection of this ordeal was erased during a hypnotic trance. But now a Yakuza warlord has treacherous plans that threaten Kang's family... and Kang can only save them if he succeeds in restoring his childhood memories and skills.

As the Japanese Mafia, the Yakuza, threatens to rip apart Los Angeles one cop crosses the Pacific to track down its most lethal killer.

The 'Highlander' saga continues, with Mario Van Peebles joining the action as a villain. Christopher Lambert reprises his role as Connor MacLeod, the ancient Scotsman. Van Peebles is Kane, an ancient fighter who seeks revenge for being imprisoned for 400 years.

Barry is an asthmatic kid having trouble in life. He lives with his father, a computer programmer, in Texas. Barry is struggling to get by in life, dealing with his rough school life, bullies, as well as his health. Barry's only source of enjoyment is fantasizing that he is with Chuck Norris. Barry becomes sick of getting picked on by the bigger guys, and decides to learn karate, in hopes of one day meeting the great Chuck Norris.

The big bad company has bought Detroit out and sends gangs of ruthless mercenaries out into the streets to throw residents out of their homes. But Robocop does not swerve from his order to serve and protect the citizens, leading a group of freedom fighters against the cruel executives.

Genre: Action/Thriller

A Los Angeles special agent (Snipes) must team up with an expert on Japanese culture (Connery) to investigate the murder of a call-girl in the boardroom of a Japanese corporation. The case turns out to be bigger than either of them had thought. Rather loosely based on Michael Crichton's novel.

After witnessing a gang murder and fearing for his life, young Peter must learn the secrets of self-defense and inner strength in order to survive.

Estranged from his family, Jeff Sanders, a master of kempo karate, returns home to be confronted with his mentor's murder and the discovery that an underworld crime ring is responsible. His quest for justice sets him against his father and brother and on a collision course with one of the world's deadliest men.

An American P.O.W. set free in the last place on Earth anyone would want to be faces the incomprehensible destruction, a grandfather fights desperately to mend a shattered family and a stern priest learns compassion - all on the fateful August day that changed the world forever.

Genre: Action/Thriller

Jimmy is a fun-loving, obnoxious, but loveable kind of guy, who's just fled from prison. Spencer is an uptight, anal-retentive, fussy kind of guy, who's just arrived in Los Angeles for a major business meeting. When Spencer loses his daily organizer (which includes such needful items as Spencer's credit cards), Jimmy finds it -- and starts living the high life -- as Spencer.

A modern young couple, unmarried but committed, pool all of their resources in order to purchase and renovate a Victorian home in San Francisco's Pacific Heights. By renting out the lower level, they can just get by. Their tenant turns out to be more than they bargained for, but trying to evict him sparks an ever escalating war they can't afford to lose.

An American assassin on a top-secret CIA mission in Vietnam is captured by a female Chinese agent. Their initial hostility turns to friendship and romance as they battle their way back through enemy lines.

The insular life of two elderly sisters is disrupted when one of them takes a suitor. To make matters even more complicated, the new man is Chinese. Evelyn, a bigoted and unhappy widow, is both appalled and jealous. But her spinster sister Frances refuses to pass up what may be her last chance at love.

Still the dutiful wife after her husband of 40 years leaves her, the wife continues to pick up his dirty laundry and deliver the clean. But her relationship with her new boyfriend, gentle and loving, complicates her relationship with her family and changes them all.

Francis Ford Coppola directed this truly American story based on the real-life struggles of one man and his fight against big government and large corporations. In 1945 Michigan, Preston Tucker (Jeff Bridges) created a car for the future equipped with fuel injection, a center headlight, seat belts, a rear engine, disc brakes, shatterproof glass, and a pop-out windshield. With the support of his wife (Joan Allen), his son (Christian Slater), and his business manager (Martin Landau in an Academy Award-nominated performance), Tucker produced fifty of his dream cars. However, Detroit's Big Three, with the help of a Washington senator (played by Jeff Bridges's father, Lloyd, in an uncredited role), set up significant roadblocks. Tucker is investigated for fraud and his plant is closed. Coppola had been planning to make a film based on the life of Preston Tucker since 1974. His own struggle to retain independence from the Hollywood studios mirrors the auto maverick's story. Of the 50 cars Tucker made, 46 are still roadworthy (Coppola and Executive Producer George Lucas each owns one). Pop musician Joe Jackson composed the music for the film.

The stars of this thriller face a band of international terrorists who are also ninja mercenaries.

War veteran Burt Roth and his sons battle a coldblooded Japanese mobster and his sadistic sidekicks who are masters of torture in Los Angeles' Chinatown.

A tale of fierce firefighters and savage hand-to-hand combat as Colonel Cooper leads a ragtag group of prisoners in an escape through enemy territory during the Vietnam War.

Killers stalk the fugitive Shaolin priest Kwai Chang Caine with vengeance, and one of the killers is the now-grown son Caine left behind years ago.

Following CONAN THE BARBARIAN, Arnold Schwarzenegger returns as Robert E. Howards warrior hero in action director Richard Fleischers CONAN THE DESTROYER. First seen praying at a shrine, Conan and his sidekick, Malak (Tracey Walter), are inveigled by Queen Taramis (Sarah Douglas) into joining Princess Jehnna (Olivia dAbo) and her bodyguard, Bombaata (Wilt Chamberlain), on a quest to wrest a magic key from the wizard Toth-Amon (Pat Roach). On the journey, Conan saves his magician friend, Akiro (Mako), from cannibals and helps female bandit Zula (Grace Jones) as she fights off some angry villagers. The motley crew find Toth-Amons castle in the middle of a lake. But, while they rest for the night before confronting the wizard, he spirits away Princess Jehnna. Conan leads the rescue.

Two girls with dreams of stardom accept glamorous job offers to become singers and dancers in Japan - only to be forced into prostitution for the Japanese Mafia. Based on a true story.

A successful art dealer is sought out by law enforcement after terrorists take some scientists hostage. Finding no possible solution, a law enforcement agent approaches the dealer (Beck). Mr. Cosmo, the agent believes the dealer to be linked to the ninja responsible for tracking down criminals and serving them justice. Mr. Cosmo hopes that the ninja's seemingly supernatural skills will remedy this impossible hostage situation.

In California, the Wetherly family hears a news broadcast about a nuclear explosion on the east coast. Soon after, their small town of Hamlin experiences a communications blackout as the west coast is attacked. The local ham radio operator finds he cannot pick up signals from anywhere east of Iowa. World War III has started. The residents attempt to survive in isolation from the rest of the country, but gradually the radiation fallout takes its toll. Some flee, but the Wetherlys stay and try to cope with the effects of nuclear holocaust.

Akiro: "Between the time when the oceans drank Atlantis, and the rise of the sons of Aryas, there was an age undreamed of. And onto this, Conan, destined to wear the jeweled crown of Aquilonia upon a troubled brow. It is I, his chronicler, who alone can tell thee of his saga. Let me tell you of the days of high adventure!"

Years after the brutal murder of his parents, Conan the Barbarian sets out on a perilous quest for vengeance on the evil Thulsa Doom. With his trusted companions, he has a series of marvelous adventures which culminate in the fulfillment of his long hoped for goal. A vigorous and bloody sword-and-sorcery epic featuring Schwarzenegger's breakthrough role.

Martial Arts action hero Chuck Norris stars as retired cop Sean Kane in this action-thriller set on the streets of San Francisco. After drug traffickers kill his partner, Sean decides to leave the force. Now that he no longer answers to the authorities, he can pursue the killers with a vengeance -- and without worrying about those pesky rules and regulations...

In World War II era Los Angeles, the manager of the Culver Hotel leaves his nephew in charge for a weekend. The nephew changes the name to the Hotel Rainbow and overbooks with royalty, assassins, secret agents, Japanese tourists, and munchkins (from the cast of The Wizard of Oz). Secret Service agent Bruce Thorpe and casting director Annie Clark find romance amidst the intrigue and confusion.

Set in the wild days of the roaring 1920s, THE BIG BRAWL tells the story of a courageous martial arts expert (Jackie Chan) who almost single-handedly takes on the mob. Machine guns are of no avail against his lightning-quick hands and feet. The film, directed by Robert Clouse (ENTER THE DRAGON), marks Chan's first starring role in an American production.

A steel samurai blade that was to be given to the American ambassador by the Emperor of Japan is stolen. American sailors and Japanese samurai are sent to find it.

Holbrook plays a P.O.W. tortured by the Viet Cong for seven years. Based on the true story of Navy Commander Jeremiah Denton.

Fact based drama about one of the internment camps used by the American military during World War II to detain some 100,000 Japanese Americans (most of them U.S. born) following Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor.

Two professional killers employed by the C.I.A. become dangerous enemies when one of them betrays the other. An action-packed, explosive drama in which betrayal and bloody vengeance are the order of the day.

Three dauntless explorers with the help of their Eskimo guide travel to the Arctic wilderness in search of a missing boy. On the way they discover an island seemingly forgotten by time, & inhabited by Vikings. Academy Award Nominations: Best Art Direction-Set Decoration.

China, 7th century. On their way to a provincial centre Judge Dee and his three wives spend the night at a taoist monastery. Soon the judge discovers that the secluded place holds a secret - the former abbot died of unnatural causes. After a number of mysterious events and more cases of murder Dee tracks down the true villain.

Gritty crime drama set in San Francisco, featuring an older, veteran cop (Karl Malden) and his younger, less experienced partner (Michael Douglas).

When one phone call lands a pregnant bride-to-be in jail, she vows to emerge a different woman and go after the people who framed her. A miniseries version of Sidney Sheldon's bestselling novel.

Genre: Drama

Genre: Drama

All-out war between the United States and an Asian country is averted when the two sides agree to settle their differences by each choosing a single soldier as champion and having the two men fight to the death on an isolated island.

Genre: Comedy/Western

Rampant wackiness ensues when a cargo ship carrying a load of beer is hit by a Japanese torpedo, and Sgt. O'Farrell (Hope) sets out to rescue the beverages. Hoping to buoy the confidence of his troops even further, the wily sergeant also attempts to hijack a group of lovely nurses for his men as well - only to end up with several male nurses and Phyllis Diller! Add in a strong antiwar statement, and you've got the mixture for one of Hope's most enduring films.

Fran Garrison's all in a tizzy because her prize Dachshund, Danke, is having pups, and she has hopes of one of the pups becoming a champion. But at the vet's, her husband Jim is talked into letting Danke wetnurse a Great Dane pup that's been abandoned by his mother. And Jim wants to keep the Great Dane. But Brutus has this problem: he thinks he's a dachshund and he's too big to be a lapdog. But when Fran ridicules Brutus one too many times, Jim's got a plan to prove to everyone (and Fran) that a great dane can be far more than just an ugly dachshund.

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Oscar Nominated for Best Supporting Actor

1966 Academy Award Nominations:
Mako - The Sand Pebbles
James Mason - Georgy Girl
Robert Shaw - A Man for All Seasons
George Segal - Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
*Walter Matthau - The Fortune Cookie
(Matthau won the award in this category).

Golden Globe Nominations for 1966
Mako - The Sand Pebbles
John Saxon - The Appaloosa
George Segal - Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Robert Shaw - A Man For All Seasons
*Richard Attenborough - The Sand Pebbles
(Attenborough was awarded the Golden Globe)

One of the most exciting and heart-wrenching epics ever made, THE SAND PEBBLES is a masterpiece of storytelling, with exceptional performances by a stellar cast. The complex tale begins simply enough in 1926 China, where a group of American soldiers are patrolling the Yangtze River on a gunboat called the San Pablo. The crew members, who call themselves Sand Pebbles, includes Jake Holman (Steve McQueen), a dispassionate but capable navy machinist, and his only friend, Frenchy (Richard Attenborough), a sailor in love with an English-educated Chinese girl, Maily (Marayat Andriane), who has been sold into prostitution. Strong feelings of nationalism have been sweeping through China, however, and when Chiang Kai-shek moves against the feudal warlords, the United States decides to treat the upheaval as a civil war, and the San Pablo is ordered to confine its function to protection of American civilians in the area. Included among them are Mr. Jameson (Larry Gates), a missionary, and Shirley Eckert (Candice Bergen), a schoolteacher with whom Jake falls in love. Soon Jake finds himself in the middle of an international military crisis when his native assistant, Po-han (Mako), is brutally tortured in an attempt to draw the San Pablo's fire, and the boats inexperienced and prideful captain (Richard Crenna) wants to give his humiliated ship and disgraced crew a chance for glory. THE SAND PEBBLES--with its expert cinematography, moving score, and riveting locations--is a memorable viewing experience brought to life by the multitalented director Robert Wise.

Life magazine review of The Sand Pebbles

"Fascinating Boredom on the Yangtze

When all is said and done the thing for which we will probably most gratefully remember Andy Warhol will not be a painting or an underground movie, but an extremely useful concept in esthetics. Someone asked him one time for an opinion of one of Edward Albee's many lesser works, and he replied that he found it long and boring but that was all right with him because "I like long, boring things."

All of us do, on occasion, and I found myself recalling Warhol's Law recently as I allowed myself to go limp and be absorbed slowly, ever so slowly, into the system of a movie called The Sand Pebbles. It is much, much too long. It is boring in a way that only a film full of stock characters involved in stock emotional situations can be. And it is utterly fascinating.

It is based on Richard McKenna's best-selling novel of the same name, and it tells you more than you could possibly wish to know ahout life on a U.S. gunboat patrolling the upper reaches of the Yangtze River during the 1920s. Now a gunboat doing such duty is nothing more than a floating garrison, and garrison life is traditionally subject to a special kind of psychological anguish--that of healthy males confined to a small space under discipline and chafing for a piece of the action they know is going on just outside their walls. It is precisely the quarrelsome, half-mad mood of men in this insufferable situation that Director Robert Wise and Screenwriter Robert Anderson perfectly capture in their film, and which is one of the qualities that gives their long, boring thing its singular value. Were it any shorter, it would simply not have made its point.

The film's other important virtue is its uniqueness of setting and the apparent authenticity with which Wise has recaptured the look and feel of an exotic clime in an almost forgotten time. At first you couldn't be less interested, but then you realize that though gunboat diplomacy now- adays goes by fancier names, the tradition of serving the flag largely by showing it in distant places, and the strain such activity imposes on the military temperament, is a subject still worth examining in one of its classic historical contexts: the U.S. really once had such a strange "China Navy" in operation.

It also makes you realize that in all essentially absurd situations the enemy of sanity is passion. Those sailors survive who accept the duty for what it is, never question its usefulness and occupy themselves with boozing and brawling and whoring. Those who look up and either question the necessity, of what they are doing or find someone or something to love outside the system are lost. Such a one is Steve McQueen, a veritable Jonah to his messmates because of the troubles he causes by loving a woman, a couple of friends, even the ship's engine (which he is in charge of) not wisely but too well. Richard Attenborough, his closest friend, also dies for love, and his commanding officer, Richard Crenna, is driven mad through overconscientious concern for duty.

Their story is punctuated, just often enough, by bursts of action directed with a deft and bloody hand. These have their symbolic uses. The gunboat sailors are political innocents, but they get killed - by bandits, by street mobs, by revolutionary irregulars, even by government forces - just as if they really were foreign devils. There is a sadness, a loneliness in their pointless deaths that matches and illuminates the boredom they suffered and that will surely return to plague the survivors. Technically, The Sand Pebbles is a clumsy and lumbering film, but it has a way of haunting the corners of your mind, as historical footnotes are sometimes wont to do."

--Richard Schickel (January 6, 1967)

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