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February 13, 2012

Movie Review: Outrage: Way of the Yakuza (2011)

Takeshi Kitano’s illustrious film career has seen many notable contributions to Japanese cinema, both as actor and director. Many folks in the states or outside of Japan were not introduced to the man’s talents until the late 90's and early 2000's until films like Boiling Point, Fireworks, Brother and Kinji Fukusaku’s masterpiece Battle Royale bursted onto the scene. Magnet has just recently released the Yakuza thriller Outrage: Way of the Yakuza and it seems very certain that even in 2012 the 65 year-old actor hasn’t lost a “Beat”.

Buy Outrage: Way of the Yakuza on Blu-ray or DVD

Outrage: Way of the Yakuza is pretty simple Japanese gangster fare on paper, as it mainly follows the various vendetta’s of powerful yakuza’s and their desire to stay atop the food chain amongst the other crime syndicates. Kitano plays the role Otomo, an underboss that will stop at nothing to maintain standing for the family.  This inevitably leads to some of the most raucous and memorable violence that I’ve seen in years from a crime film in a few years.

It’s not so much that Outrage is particularly graphic; it’s just that some of the violence is absolutely excruciating to watch.  Early on in the film a yakuza is do the standard punishment of slicing his finger off, only the tool used is hardly “standard”- it’s box cutter!! There’s another scene in a dentist’s office that I won’t even go into that takes the gratuitousness to another level.

Kitano really does an admirable job with the overall look of the film. I was very impressed the camera-work and variety of shots that strung together each violent set-piece. There are some panning shots that are especially effective and cleverly done and I also was pretty impressed with the set design. The narrative wasn’t particularly effective with it's many gangster movie cliches but that didn’t effect any of the entertainment level.

Magnet has included several extras on the Blu-ray: Cast interviews, a few making of Outrage featurettes, a Q&A and of course a trailer to round out the package. Outrage may not become a classic but there’s no denying that it’s a nasty, fun piece of cinema that will please yakuza fans and Kitano admirers. Recommended.

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