And you all thought Tony Soprano was a ruthless son-of-a-bitch.
In Japan, two local yakuza fight for territory, but do it in ways that you wouldn’t necessarily expect. Murase (Renji Ishibashi) and his family are wheeling, dealing and doing drugs in areas they aren’t supposed to, while Ikemoto (Jun Kunimura) is looking to take over the whole market, but he wants to be smart about it. See, he wants to get rid of the other yakuza, but he’s afraid to do in such a manner that makes him either weak, too angry, or too vengeful. So, this is when he enlists former protege, now boss Otomo (Takeshi Kitano), to settle things once and for all, making sure that everything gets done in the nicest, most pleasant ways possible. Well, as pleasant and nice you can be about murdering, kidnapping and bribing. Anyway, when one thing leads to another Otomo ends up getting stuck in a rut where he has now almost every yakuza leader/hitman with a mark on his head, as well as the rest of his group’s heads as well. Otomo knows that he can’t back down from a fight, no matter what his odds may be, but sometimes, there’s just some battles not worth risking life and limb over. Especially the losing kind. I always hate those kinds.
To be honest, while I may think I know a lot about yakuza, their ways, their tricks of the trade, etc., by making all sorts of jokes pertaining to them, turns out, I didn’t know diddly squat. Apparently, from what I learned in this movie, is that the honor-system they have is a bit of screwy one where you aren’t allowed to kill somebody in cold blood, yet, you can still kill them if its about business or getting some sort of revenge. Actually, I’m not even sure that’s one element to being a yakuza in the first place, but what I do know is that it sure as hell isn’t a pretty title to have, if you are given it. Because nine times out of ten, you’re either constantly looking behind your shoulder, or looking over somebody else’s shoulder, just waiting until they show a weak-spot and you have a chance to jump on top of them.
Basically, it’s a dog-eat-dog world with those crazy yakuza’s, but hey, it’s pretty bad ass once you get to thinking of it.
Anyway, the reason why I’m talking about all of that right here and now is because yakuza movies have never really been my thing in the first place, but I was very open to this right away. I knew that I could just switch a lot of the aspects of being a yakuza and living that life-style, with a lot of the same ones of being a modern-day, mobster (or “gangster”, which I am as a matter of fact). Some may think that’s a hub of crap for me to do such a thing, but it made it easier for me to make sense of a lot of the things going on here, cause I know Takeshi Kitano sure as hell wasn’t helping me out.
What I mean by that bold statement is that, oddly enough, right when this movie starts, we know little to nada about any of these characters, what the situation it is that they’ve found themselves in, or even where the hell we are at. All we do know is that we’re watching a bunch of bad mofo’s that are ruthless, sadistic and don’t give two craps about a little blood here or there. Maybe that was all we needed to know, but if that was the case, it only made itself relevant in the last 45-minutes or so when people start getting knocked-off left and right, in all sorts of fun and creative ways. But for the time leading-up to these final-halves of the movie, it’s all about plot, characters, people screwing other people over, deals being made, ideas being spit-balled and more characters showing up that we have no clue just who the hell they are, nor what purpose they serve to the movie. I don’t usually say this, but maybe a few bit more exposition would have had this movie go a long, long way. At least for the first-hour, that is, because once things get going and the movie finally finds its footing in a way to actually help us make sense of everything, it gets a lot better.
And yes, the reason why I am saying that for one thing is because I am a huge fan of a violent gangster movie that not only takes its time to rack-up all of the tension leading up the violence, but also, I am a huge fan of violent gangster movies that don’t hold-back from showing us the dirty and disturbing stuff. What I mean by that is here, we get to see plenty of dude’s finger’s get chopped-off, people decapitated, blown-up, get chop-sticks jammed into their ears, get shot in the head, and all sorts of other fun and gooey stuff that’s more than willing to get people turning their heads in absolute shock. It got me a couple of times because not only does Takeshi Kitano take his dear old time leading up to the horrible acts of violence, but he lets us expect it and hype it all up because once the ball starts rolling, the heads are dropping and the bullets begin to fly, the movie doesn’t slow-down for a single bit.
And yes, I am a sick bastard. Sue me!
Given the fact that Takeshi Kitano not only wrote, edited and directed this movie, it’s a surprise to me that he even had time to act in the whole thing, let alone actually anchor it, but hey, the guy works his ass off and it shows. Kitano’s got that dead-pan sound to his voice where saying the most simplest term like “asshole” more than a few times in a single sentence is quite humorous. He also his this down-trodden, broken, battered and beaten look to him that makes you feel like he’s seen, and more than likely, done it all and is just so damn tired by now. But everybody else is great too, it’s just that he’s the one this movie focuses on the most and makes the one who means more to the whole story. Any reason as to why? I think I know!
Consensus: For a good hour or so, Outrage takes its meandering and rather confusing time to get to the bare bones of the story and what everything and everyone in it means, but once we get past this lag, the movie is a full-on, over-blown expose of blood, violence, murder, crime and all sorts of other good and fun stuff for anybody to enjoy. Especially if you have as twisted of a mid as my own.
7.5 / 10 = Rental!!