When Shenmue was still a game, I played it on my Sega Dreamcast. It was one of the first games I played English (because English isn't my mother tongue) and it's one of the best games I've played so far.
Shenmue: The Movie is a short movie of all sequels out of the original game plus some parts of a walk through and begins with the murder of Ryo's father Iwao Hazuki. Ryo wants to take revenge and searches for the guy, soon after the murder one get to know that the guy who murdered Ryo's father is called Lan Di, in the whole town.
game there are endless possibilities and the town, Yokosuka, seems like an open world. One can spend money or follow the course of story history. But one has always to keep in mind: The time is our enemy.
Watchers of Shenmue: The Movie will accompany Ryo on his investigation. I won't go much in detail, but there are many fights and there's also romance because of a school friend of Ryo - Nozomi Harasaki. Ryo's investigation leads him to the Harbor where he has to apply to a job.
During his investigation Ryo meets many different kinds of people and follows many different leads.
Character design is, thinking of the year it was published, amazing. The characters don't show their emotions as real people normally do, but the publishers tried to balance it with the very impressive music. The Soundtrack of Shenmue: The Movie (and both games) is one of the best soundtracks I've listened to so far and underlines the amazing story and their habitants very well.
Shenmue: The Movie will give beginners of the game a good overview and they would manage to start right after watching it with Shenmue 2 (which is a game, not a movie). For people who've already played the first game Shenmue: The Movie is a repetition of happenings out of the game without playing it. For those who've played the game it's enjoyable but not a "must have seen movie". Fans of the series should get the DVD or try to watch it somewhere else, it's a collector's item.