"Ironic Japanese Gangster Story"
What You Need To Know:
The gangster violence in OUTRAGE is designed to show the painful consequences of such violence. The movie also clearly shows the yakuza gangster lifestyle to be a particular kind of real evil, despite parallels to other areas of life. Hence, the movie’s title, OUTRAGE. However, there’s really no one to root for, and the violence and foul language are excessive. OUTRAGE also has brief sexual content, gambling, and drug references.
(B, PaPaPa, LLL, VVV, SS, NN, AA, DDD, MMM) A light sense of moral outrage and original sin in an ironic take on gang warfare among Japanese gangsters in Tokyo, but with many details portraying very strong pagan, immoral behavior; 53 obscenities (some “f” words but also some light obscenities) and two GDs; very strong graphic violence includes man’s face smashed, two men forced to cut off a finger for making a mistake, drill used on man’s teeth in retaliation, point blank shootings, man strangled when rope around his neck is attached to a roadside pole while he’s in a moving car, bomb explodes in small restaurant/luncheon diner, and bloody corpse of woman shown; depicted fornication in one scene and implied prostitution; two scenes with brief upper female nudity; alcohol use and drunkenness; smoking and very strong drug references including drug sales; and, gambling, crooked gambling, corruption, police corruption, protection racketeering, gangster lifestyle, severe forms of punishment and discipline to maintain control and save face, lying, deception, shakedowns, betrayal, revenge, etc.
OUTRAGE is an ironic gangster movie from Japan about a gang war among the Yakuza. There’s really no one to root for as the story plays out, and the content is somewhat excessive, but watching the movie is a bit like the experience of watching a harder-edged combination of the first two GODFATHER movies and John Huston’s gangster comedy PRIZZI’S HONOR with Jack Nicholson, though the Japanese movie is more brutal and jaded. This last fact will limit its appeal.
The story opens at a conference of Yakuza gangster families in Tokyo, led by “Mr. Chairman,” a crafty older man. Mr. Chairman asks his right-hand man, Kato, to warn one gangster leader, Ikemoto, about his dealings with family outsider Murase. Ikemoto asks his usual enforcer Otomo, who runs his own small family, to make an obvious move against Murase by opening an office in his territory.
One thing leads to another, which, of course, results in violence. Suddenly, an all-out gang war breaks out, followed by a ruthless series of conflicts and betrayals. Soon, several yakuza clans are battling for turf, and their bosses fight to rise through the ranks by scheming and making short-lived allegiances. Otomo becomes caught in the middle. Eventually, just trying to survive becomes everyone’s goal. An ironic game of survival of the fittest ensues.
Veteran actor and director Takeshi Kitano (aka Beat Takeshi), who also plays Otomo, adds a heavy dose of comic irony to this dog-eat-dog tale. However, he shoots the violence in a realistic manner that shows the pain it causes. As he says in the movie’s production notes, “I intentionally shoot violence to make the audience feel pain. I have never, and I will never shoot violence as if it’s some kind of action video game.” Thus, noses are broken, teeth are destroyed, people are shot point blank, and fingers are cut off in the yakuza tradition of being punished for making a really bad mistake.
Setting aside the violence, Kitano says his movie is designed to reflect what often happens in other organizations in politics, corporate culture, and even academia. “It’s all about a game of survival among self-serving men,” he says. “Although pledged to a group, the characters act independently and only think about themselves.”
That said, the movie clearly shows the yakuza gangster lifestyle to be a particular kind of real evil. Hence, the movie’s title, OUTRAGE. Of course, when you decide to sup with the Devil, as the saying goes, you better have a long spoon!
The brutality of the gangster violence in OUTRAGE hopefully will warn most people away from becoming part of gangster groups like the Yakuza or the Mafia. Still, the violence is excessive, as is the movie’s foul language. OUTRAGE also contains brief sexual content, brief nudity, gambling, and references to drugs and police corruption.