REVIEW: 'Outrage" Takeshi Kitano's New Yakuza Gangsterpalooza Funfest

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From time to time, we're going to take a break from the political to look at the cultural. I really love Japanese martial arts films and I watched one recently that I really felt was an excellent example of the genre.

Takeshi (Beat) Kitano is a legendary Tokyo director who is usually known for acting and directing more introverted crime movies, but returns to the yakuza genre with a bang in his new outing, Outrage. It's loaded with slam-bam-thank-you-ma'am-type violence, murder and double-crosses galore. He pulls no punches coming up with wild methods of maiming and killing as a clan war breaks out because of a simple pact of honor between two different clan leaders in prison together. This pace causes 'The Chairman' of the Sanno-Kai syndicate to think he's being played for a fool in some way. Of course it's all in his head, but he can have none of that and that's all it takes for him to ignite a bloody war which escalates out of control.

You may differ, but in a way, I viewed it as almost a dark comedy in the same vein as Johnny To's Election, but it's played straight all the way through. I won't spoil the plot too much, but I will tell you that Kitano himself also plays the head of a clan delegated by his boss Ikemoto, who made the pact with the Murase clan, to do what he must to hopefully relieve The Chairman's paranoia because of their recent loyalty pact.

Because of their code of loyalty, Otomo (Kitano) obeys Ikemoto's wishes even though he sees the folly in it and instigates a conflict between the two sworn brothers. He hopes a simple act of violence will be the end of the mistrust, but that's only the beginning of a free-for-all of knives, guns, flying chopsticks, exploding cars, assassinations, gambling, double-crosses and everything in between. You can understand why Tarantino was so inspired by this genre of film and recognize that influence in most of his earlier movies.


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