VENICE: Japanese director and actor Takeshi Kitano returns to Venice with his sequel to his gory but beautifully choreographed 2010 hit Outrage. Beyond Outrage takes up where Outrage left off with yakuza killer Otomo played by Beat Takeshi, the name the director uses for his acting roles, still in prison and the Sanno crime family in ascendancy.
Kitano says the sequel stands alone but viewers who have not seen the first film- and even some of those who have - may have a difficult time following the complicated plot and large cast to crime family characters.
Kitano takes a humourous look at the yakuza crime families and the financial services industries that the families have moved into with younger members of the Sanno family underboss Ishihara played by Ryo Kase as adept as investment banking as they are at violence and crime. Kitano seems to be ironically saying that in recent years finance and crime have merged with there no longer being any code of honour in either banking or yakuza gangs.
The film opens with the leadership of the Sanno family headed by Kato, played by Tomokazu Kiura, telling the older members of the family that a new generation has taken over and that investment and finance are now as important for the Sanno as the traditional methods of crime. The old yakuza are upset at the eroding of traditions such as being served meals at business meetings.
The first hour of the film is peopled with dozens of gray haired, business suited old yakuza gangsters who plot and counter-plot against each other without it being very clear who is fighting who.
Corrupt anti-organised crime police detective Kataoka played by Fumiyo Kohinata is trying to play the rival gangs of the Sanno family and the Hanabishi family off against each other. But the plot fails to produce the result Kataoka hopes for and he has to move to Plan B.
This involves bringing yakuza killer Otomo out of prison and setting him against the Sanno family. Here the plot begins to be more coherent and also Takeshi as Otomo brings a strong screen personality to the otherwise gray suited cast of gangster characters.
The film also begins to display more of the signature Kitano humour especially when Otomo assassinates one of the gangsters by tying him to a baseball batting machine.
Kitano choreographs his violence, and there is plenty of violence, including a scene where Otomo kills a gangster with a drill harking back to the famous scene in Outrage, and the scenes are shot with a beautiful formality that is vintage Kitano.
But the film fails to reach the level of some of Kitano’s best such as Sonatine and Hana-bi. Kitano said he made the sequel because his producer asked him to and there is probably a lot of truth in this ironic answer. The film is bound to be big box office in Japan and cult followers of Kitano who will flock to the film in Europe will not be disappointed.
Director: Takeshi Kitano
Scriptwriter: Takeshi Kitano
DoP: Katsumi Yanagijima
Cast: Beat Takeshi, Tomokazu Miura, Ryo Kase, Fumiyo Kohinata, Toshiyuki Nishida