Director: Takeshi Kitano
Starring: Takeshi Kitano, Ryo Kase, Tomokazu Miura, Fumiyo Kohinata, Yutaka Matsushige, Toshiyuki Nishida
Set 5 years after the end of the first film, Kato (Tomokazu Miura) has grown the Sanno-kai into an organization with much influence and power, enough even to intimidate politicians. Anti-organized crime officer Kataoka (Fumiyo Kohinata) sets into motion a series of events that will see dissention within the Sanno family, the bold moves of an Osaka syndicate, and the return of Otomo (Takeshi Kitano), who saw his family destroyed by the power struggle over leadership of Tokyo’s most powerful crime family. Thought long gone, the sudden appearance of Otomo has Ishihara (Ryo Kase), Otomo’s former soldier and betrayer, on edge as he has risen to the number two spot in the Sanno-kai under Kato, and he would like nothing more than to see his former boss stay dead.
Takeshi Kitano directs this follow-up to his brutal and darkly comic 2010 film than sees the very few characters who survived the first outing return to wreak more havoc on the streets of Tokyo. With the new film, Kitano increases the focus on a much simpler tale of betrayal and power moves where loyalty and trust are difficult to come by. Where in the first film, Kitano seemed to relish in throwing in all the beloved yakuza film tropes and mixing well, Beyond offers a leaner and much more streamlined story of revenge to go along with the heaping helpings of violence and bloodletting.
A large cast populates the film as the wheelings and dealings of various parties collide. Kitano’s stoic but experienced Otomo delivers a giant of a performance. Much smarter after his experiences in the first film, he truly sees the yakuza hierarchy for what it is; back stabbing and paranoia at the top. He maintains a cold demeanor that belies his real loyalty and pride to his sworn brothers and those he trusts. New additions to the series include personal favorites, Yutaka Matsushige, Tomoyuki Nishida, Hirofumi Arai, and Shigeru Koyama. Each adds memorable moments to their scenes; from the batting cage introduction to the tense but terrific Otomo Hanabishi summit, the film has numerous great sequences that are both darkly comic and testosterone filled bits of badassness.
The film is typical Kitano; long cuts, hard looks, and yelling matches to rival any other. Photography doesn’t feel as dynamic but the film lends itself to numerous instances of quiet before the storm as violence erupts when you least expect it. Keiichi Suzuki returns to compose the score for the film and while good, I’d rate that it maintains the quality of the first instead of lessening or improving.
With improved storytelling and a much brisker pace compared to the first film, Outrage Beyond improves on the first film in virtually every way. An epic modern crime picture, I can’t think of many other films today that are willing to go to the places where this film does, but damn if Kitano isn’t at the top of his game for this one. Stunning in its execution and with one hell of a ending, seriously it’s perfect, the announced third film can’t come quick enough. Watch it again and show it to friends, this is one you’ll want to share.
You may enjoy this film if you liked: Outrage, Brother, Sonatine, and/or the Yakuza series of games.
Special Thanks to Magnet Releasing for providing access to a viewing copy!