Takeshi Kitano is a Japanese action legend, but outside of Hana-Bi and Sonatine, it seems his film history does not hold up very well. There may be exceptions I haven’t seen of course. One of those exceptions is not Outrage. Kitano’s first yakuza film in a decade, he stars (as Beat Takeshi, per usual) as a mid-level yakuza hitman who ends up as the last honest gangster in a feud between two families started by the double dealings of his slimy boss who has loyalty to both families. To save himself, he turns against one, starting a war between the two that Kitano finds himself in. He finishes the war by offing the head of one family, only to have Mr. Chairman of the other have him killed. It’s every man for himself in this bloodbath. And in fact, bloodbath seems to be the point, as Kitano finds new and grotesque ways to show killing and maiming on the screen. That’s fine if it leads to something interesting, but Outrage doesn’t. It’s also sidetracked by a plot about a corrupt ambassador from a generic African country who is running drugs in the embassy. The gangsters force him to turn the embassy into a casino (plausible, I know) and the plot and Kitano’s direction turns into racial caricature. There’s little character development of anyone and characters move in and out so quickly it’s hard to keep track of most. And it doesn’t really matter since their ultimate purpose is to die on screen. The story of gangsters with loyalty isn’t new and the telling of it here isn’t fresh.
The action is pretty solid and it’s not a terrible film. But it is disappointment and easily skipped.