Although Outrage, aka Autoreiji was made in 2010, the sequel, Beyond Outrage did not get made until 2012; now Takeshi Kitano is back in this brilliant Yakuza sequel. Kitano wrote and directed both films under the Kitano banner and he reprises his role as Otomo, the lethal underboss in the original film.
Takeshi Kitano, who also goes by the name of Beat Takeshi, is an institution in Japan. There is a saying in his home country that Kitano is on television eight days a week. The popular performer started out in comedy after getting thrown out of the school where he was studying to be an engineer. After learning comedy, as well as singing and dancing from the famous Japanese comedian Senzaburô Fukami, he went on to become the second half of a comedy team called The Two Beat, which is where the name “Beat” Takeshi originated.
Kitano was well known for comedy, so much so that when he played his first serious character; a sadistic prisoner of war guard in the 1983 film Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence; audiences in Japan laughed at his portrayal. Kitano was furious that audiences did not understand his “switch” from comedy to drama.
His next two films insured that he was known for drama. The 1988 film Anego featured “Beat” Takeshi as a hitman which set up his 1989 film Violent Cop. Originally meant to be a comic caper, Takeshi rewrote the script and eradicated any comedic elements. Kinji Fukasaku was supposed to direct, but, Kitano took over helming the picture to ensure there was no way that audiences would think it was a comedy film.
This film was the start of the, now, 67 year-old actor/writer/director/producer in his long association with violent Yakuza films. Beyond Outrage is vintage Kitano, like a fine wine, Takeshi is back as Otomo in this Yakuza sequel smooth, silky and violent.
In the first film, Outrage, Otomo (Kitano) is an underboss in the Sanno family. The Sanno boss is in trouble with the Yakuza head family leader because of an allegiance he made with an opposing family boss while in prison. Sekiuchi, the Yakuza family head boss, plans the demise of his underling along with the other family’s leader Murase. Sekiuchi’s aide Kato, is led to believe that he will inherit the turf of both families.
In the resultant bloodshed, Otomo is banished and on his downward spiral, he is sent to prison. Once there, an old victim of his violence exacts retribution by stabbing Otomo. It leads to the rumor that Otomo is dead. Before the stabbing, Kato kills his boss and takes over running the Sanno family.
Beyond Outrage takes place five years after the events of Outrage. Otomo is still in prison, believed dead by the Sanno family, and the detective Kataoka, who arrests Kitano’s character was in the first film, is now not just a cop walking the fine line between crooked cop and gang infiltrator he is busily orchestrating a war between two of the largest Yakuza factions.
Both films have a touch of Shakespearean intrigue and double dealing on offer. Where the first film had only the sadistic Sekiuchi pulling the strings, in this film it is Kataoka. The detective pits not only Sanno family against rival gang Hanabishi, but, sets up in-fighting amongst the Sanno clan by revealing that Kato murdered the former family head.
Kataoka arranges to have the murderous Otomo released from prison early so that he can team up with another banished Yakuza, Kimura, the man who stabbed Otomo in prison in order to take on the Sanno clan and exact revenge for Otomo’s betrayal by an underboss; Ishihara. The body count rises as by the film’s end family members from both sides get taken out.
In some ways, Beyond Outrage is not quite as bloody as its predecessor. In ways of creativity, though, the “kills” are a bit more diverse. One Yakuza meets his end via a pitching machine and another gets drilled while being interrogated for information. While neither of these deaths come near the tongue “decapitation” of the earlier film, they come pretty close in terms of originality.
To get things moving quickly, the detective shoots at the Sanno headquarters and the increasingly paranoid, and guilty, Ishihara believes the perpetrator to be Otomo. He sends someone to “take care of” his former boss, but, Otomo is not easy to kill and he survives the attempt.
Unlike the first film, Takeshi is less active in the violence department. Everyone else seems to be killing left, right and center, while Kitano sparingly takes out enemies. His character seems to have lost the urge to kill, although he can still mete out death when needed. By the end of the film, and its final act of violence, it appears that Otomo has truly retired from the Yakuza world.
Beyond Outrage was filmed in 2012 and has only recently become available for fans of Takeshi Kitano outside of Japan. Unfortunately Asian films take a bit of time to reach Western audiences. For example, Outrage, which was filmed in 2010, did not get a DVD release until 2012 outside of Japan and other Asian countries. This sequel is just as entertaining as its predecessor and is equally Shakespearean in terms of plot. The DVD will not be available until March and after a short cinematic release it is available to rent via iTunes, Amazon.com and other streaming services. Definitely worth viewing and a must see for any Kitano fan. Takeshi is back and better than ever in this brilliant Yakuza sequel.
By Michael Smith