(trailer here), which opens this Friday in New York.
Ikemoto is a sworn brother to Murase, but the Chairman (his sworn “father”), wants the clan boss to turn on his old friend. It is not a request. The boss of bosses is still old school enough to be appalled by the Murase drug dealing network. To preserve plausible deniability, Ikemoto sends his underboss Otomo to set up his own subsidiary clan operation in Murase’s territory. Otomo duly provokes the Murase organization, leaving them little recourse, given his connection to Ikemoto. Yet, as the betrayals and naked power grabs come fast and furious, even the stone cold Otomo starts to lose his cool.
Beat Takeshi, as he is billed when appearing on-screen, is the Miles Davis of Yakuza movies and Outrage is the perfect vehicle for his return to the genre. Despite the mayhem roiling around him, he keeps it all grounded with his fatalism and “so what” attitude. Indeed, his persona is perfectly suited to the grim logic of the Yakuza, where everyone knows the next one might have their name on it.
As the director and editor, Kitano juggles his large cast quite deftly, clearly delineating the complex relationships and subsequent double-crosses. Amongst the ensemble, Fumiyo Kohinata really stands out as the utterly sleazy crooked Det. Kataoka. Kitano also upholds his reputation as one of the finer directors of violence with several scenes that neatly split the difference between the brutal and the cartoonish. Never operatic in the Scorsese or De Palma tradition, or over-the-top a la Tarantino, his action scenes are shot in a straight forward manner, from a soldier’s perspective, which is rather compelling when it all starts to go down, right in our faces.