Some people may argue that a man who has been making yakuza films for two decades could be running out of things to say. In this case though, if anyone were to utter those words about director and actor Beat Takeshi, they probably wouldn't be able to say anything else out loud after that, since someone would sledgehammer out all their teeth and leave their tongue on a windowsill for birds to munch on. His latest film, Outrage, is a swift kick in the soft parts sure to release some holiday tension.
This movie could also be called "How to Succeed in Business with Lots of Brutal Murder." Ikemoto (Jun Kunimura) is a sort of middle-management crime boss in the Sanno-kai clan, and the head of the clan scolds him for dealing with Murase (Renji Ishibashi). The problem is that Ikemoto and Murase have taken a brotherhood oath, but since that means just about as much as Kim Kardashian's wedding vows, Ikemoto just makes his clan do the dirty work in order to look obedient but reliable (blood does flow downhill, after all). Just when you think that it all can end with one severed pinky, the deception and double-crossing keep piling on top of each other, and the guns and ammo industry is mailing these guys a thank you note for sending their kids to college.
The movie has the kind of pace that kept fooling me--just when I thought it might be losing steam, another barbaric murder occurs and makes me glad I have never borrowed money from someone who wears only suits and crocodile skin shoes. Usually Takeshi's films tend to take on this quietly simmering atmosphere peppered with explosive action, but this time the constant slow-and-go pace made the movie feel longer than it actually was. However, the violence was more acute than it has been in his more recent movies, which kept it interesting. In fact, in moments of excitement, this movie feels like Goodfellas if Joe Pesci hadn't been such a wuss. I'm talking hijacked visits to the dentist, cooking utensils in eardrums, and explosions a'plenty.
Outrage paints an exhausting picture of being a bad guy. The crime syndicate goes through gangsters faster than Naomi Campbell goes through assistants. In order to be yakuza, you have to be a couple of steps ahead of the bloodthirsty psychos you made meaningless brotherhood pacts with in order to enjoy any moments of success. But this movie doesn't provide reasoning behind their participation or the effects of their choice deeper than a flesh wound. It's just a cavalcade of savagery that is incredibly fun to watch, if you have a strong stomach.