A manipulative Yakuza boss engineers a feud between two subordinate gangs in order to seize their territories.
This may be a rather generic sounding plot, but in previous gangster related projects Takeshi Kitano has always managed to put a different spin on the tough guy crime drama. Unfortunately his usual formula of “gangsters at play” which has been successful in creating a bond between otherwise unlikeable characters and the audience using a streak of dark humour is surprisingly absent in Outrage. Here we have exactly what it says on the tin; a bunch of obnoxious thugs beating and killing each other in a series of scenes of escalating violence. This makes it very difficult to actually care what happens to any of them; they are all equally unpleasant so there is no “hero” of the story to root for. Outrage is typically nice to look at and successfully portrays the world of the gangster as devoid of the romanticised ideas of loyalty or “honour”, but I felt that Beat Takeshi himself was not on screen enough of the time and the lack of humour or respite made it a rather joyless experience.
Outrage is a technically well made Yakuza film, but it lacks the character and invention I have come to expect from its creator.