Many of us here in the US are unfamiliar with the practices of the Yakuza. While there have been mentions of the japanese organized crime through video games and action films, we rarely get to see a more in depth look. What films like the Godfather did to mafia movies Beyond Outrage has done to the Yakuza. I am not a scholar of the street warriors and my knowledge is limited to my love for the japanese culture through movies, anime, and manga. This affinity is what prompted me to view this film and I and thankful that I did.
Directed and starring Takeshi Kitano as Otomo, Tomokazu Miura as chairman Kato, Hideo Nakano as Kimura and Fumiyo Kohinata as Detective Kataoka Beyond Outrage is a sterling account of the present day Yakuza. In a world filled with politics, stock options and the internet there is a new changing in the guard in the Sanno family. Their chairman Kato is using non traditional measures to run his family by allowing the younger soldiers to serve as executives and underbosses. Much to the chagrin of the older brothers many decisions are being made that seem untraditional and unexpected. So much that now the police has to get involved. Once the body of an officer is found they can no longer sit aside while the Yakuza families do what they want. The only things standing in the way of progress for the Sanno family is a rival family from the west and two old underbosses that hold a grudge that cannot die.
Don’t expect this to be some fighting action packed film with crazy stop motion shots and unbelievable death sequences. Beyond Outrage is truly a nod to the culture and grittiness of what it takes to be a part of the family. The performances by all included were memorable but none stood out more than director Takeshi Kitano as Otomo. Known as “Champ” for a majority of the movie he is the key to all that takes place between the two families and does a remarkable job playing the troubled ex crime boss recently paroled from prison. One of his best moments is when he is asked about restating his own family and he responded by saying “I’m too old for this shit!”. That really exemplified his character in Beyond Outrage and when you see how he handles himself you will understand why he sticks out.
Beyond Outrage is a daunting film that opens up the ranks of the Yakuza and how the families are run. Murder and deceit allow for an intense storyline that bobs and weaves around the idea of who can you trust. This is a film my grandfather would have enjoyed as he was a fan of films involving organized crime. It’s one of the reasons for the comparison to the Godfather. Instead of all the action you can handle and crazy super bike chase scenes we are used to seeing, Beyond Outrage gets to the total backbone of the Yakuza. The ancient ways of the Yakuza are not forgotten and to see it mixed with status of the world today was truly a treat.
Beyond Outrage is headed to DVD and Blu-ray on March 11th. It can also been seen currently on demand on Amazon Prime. Beyond Outrage is being distributed by Magnolia Pictures.