Takeshi Kitano returns with the sequel of his 2010 yakuza film! Outrage Beyond was screened at the Venice film festival, here’s a compilation of what has been published about it, good reading;
Among the interesting comments made by Kitano during the press conference, “I’m not a director who is appreciated in Japan a great deal, but I thought abroad I could get greater visibility with a sequel.” The co-producer-distributor of the film, Warner Bros, is planning a wide theatrical release in Japan – about 200 screens, as a comparison, Warner Bros’ recent box office hit Rurouni Kenshin came out on 300+ screens.
Kitano said he’s written the script for Outrage 3, adding that “I really want to make art films, but mine have all flopped so far, so…” Asked about 3D, he said it’s “only good for erotic or pornographic films, it’s of no use for others.” A quick, definitive statement?
«I’M TOO OLD FOR THIS SHIT»
In Outrage Beyond, a police crackdown on organized crime triggers a war between the two most powerful gangster families in Japan. The first film was a bloodbath, with Kitano trying to find new ways to orchestrate the violence. Well, according to Variety, the filmmaker brings “another round of viciously petty yakuza warfare” and manages to “deliver the requisite payoffs without tilting over into graphic sadism.”
But, even though “the film is essentially a slow-motion deathtrap,” the reviewer points out that the “the wall-to-wall chatter feels like a joyless, too-leisurely distraction from the inevitable bloodletting.” As an example, he mentions the film “continually cuts back to” one of the main character in his office, who serves as “an annoying one-man Greek chorus as he explains his clever chess moves for the benefit of his colleagues and the audience.”
Also, it appears that Kitano repeats the same narrative flaws of his previous work, “much of the film consists of men in suits shouting thick, exposition-heavy threats at each other in darkened interiors, or else firing gunshots at their enemies’ invariably sleek, black automobiles.” Here, the director “seems disinclined to distinguish much between sides or simplify the intricate and ritualistic codes by which these mobsters operate.” Variety calls the film an “excessively labyrinthine sequel,” with Kitano as “the most memorable figure.”
ScreenDaily defines the film as an “entertaining mesh of inventive violence, black humour and an appealingly unglamorous view of Japanese underworld deal-making and clan loyalty,” and states that “we have to wait a while for the gore to kick in this sequel, when it does come it’s tasty enough.”
What’s really interesting in this review is the short comparison with the first film, and the yakuza genre in general, because it seems Outrage Beyond brings “two fresh ideas.”
First of all, the idea of the clans as “companies that feature the same levels of inefficiency, bureaucracy and infighting as their legitimate equivalents.” And secondly, it brings “a policeman into the mix, not as heroic crimebuster but as a sly manipulator of clan alliances.” It will be interesting to see how Kitano explores these ideas.
«I’M NOT DISRESPECTING YOU, ASSHOLE»
On this sequel, is Kitano playing with the audience’s expectations? It would seem so, Cine-Vue writes, “first half hour will be confusing to anyone who hasn’t seen the first,” while The Hollywood Reporter explains that the film “demands concentration,” because the director is doling out “reams of yappy exposition in the opening stretch and requires his audience to sift through a complex web of characters across two crime families, the police force and a government ministry.”
But rest reassured, “once the characters have been stabilised,” the “violence is delivered with the usual Kitano flourishes of dark twisted humour.” On that point, THR confirms Outrage Beyond becomes “progressively more involving, breaking down volatile power structures, orchestrating crosses and double-crosses, and peppering the talky action with contained bursts of muscular violence and cruel comedy.”
Overall, a complicated but violent mess?