Saturday, July 27, 2013

Outrage Beyond

In case you didn't know yakuza usually wear black and always drive black cars. Or at least that is how Takeshi Kitano portraits yakuza. Middle aged, senior yakuza look and act like successful businessmen. Young upstarts look like successful rap-stars in suits and the footsoldiers look like secret service agents escaped from a Hollywood film. The cops dress like they got their clothes from a Salvation Army store. This is important because clothing implies status within your organisation and status is important in Outrage Beyond, as is the power of the organisation you belong to. Even the two most important yakuza clans acknowledge that the police, as part of the government, are more powerful than they are and so the detectives are accorded more respect than their dress sense would suggest. In particular this allows the ever smiling Detective Kataoka access to the top yakuza executives whenever he feels like it.

Detective Kataoka of the Tokyo organised crime squad doesn't seem have much reason to smile, the film starts with a double murder with the potential to become a political scandal and his bosses want revenge on the Sanno clan. Kataoka's strategy is to provoke a clan war between the Sanno clan and the Osaka based Hanabishi clan. This proves unsuccessful as does his attempt to stir up trouble with the soon to be released from prison Otomo (played by Takeshi Kitano). Despite the disapproval and bleak assessments of his more junior partner, Kataoka is an energizer bunny and eventually his attempts to stir up trouble pay off and we get to see a series of set-piece yakuza fights punctuated by negotiating and double crossing.

While you could watch Outrage Beyond for the stylish violent set pieces, it is a better experience to try and follow all the plot lines and plot twists. There is more plot and more characters to keep track off than in two or three Hollywood crime films.  Even a few unexplained bits of plot that might imply a sequel.

Ian's rating 3/5

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