Director: Takeshi Kitano
Writer: Takeshi Kitano
Cast: Beat Takeshi, Nao Ohmori, Ken Mitsuishi, Ren Osugi, Tatsuo Nadaka, Ikuji Nakamura, Toshiyuki Nishida, Hakuryu, Sansei Shiomi, Hiroyuki Ikeuchi, Pierre Taki
Running Time: 104 min.
By Matija Makotoichi Tomic
Even before he would go on to direct his senior citizen “yakuza” comedy Ryuzo and the Seven Henchmen, easily his least memorable effort, Kitano said that the producers wanted him to make another Outrage movie. With Outrage Beyond being his first sequel and a notable box office success earning twice as much the original did, Outrage Coda was a logical move (at least to a producer’s logic) that would complete the first trilogy of this filmmaker’s career. It’s been five years since his slightly weaker, more dialogue, less action Outrage sequel was released, still feeding the fans with a nice pile of yakuza bodies scattered around Tokyo. The first Outrage surprisingly turned out great considering that the plot was just wrapped around a thrilling number of imaginative cold blooded executions devised beforehand. All this considering, it was reasonable to expect that the final chapter of Kitano’s warring yakuza clans saga should be every bit as violent, with the needed amount of blood, bullets and bakayaro’s.
Not to say that it isn’t, but Outrage Coda is a slow burner that fails to ignite. Similar to its predecessor, it’s more about the spark that started the fire than it is about delivering the juicy stuff. This time that spark is S&M loving yakuza named Hanada, of Hanabishi family. During his visit to South Korea’s Jeju Island, he wanted to enjoy some unconventional service provided by two hookers, not knowing most of the restaurants and hotels on Jeju Island are owned by the powerful boss Chang. When hearing about girls being beaten-up and mistreated, Kitano’s character Otomo pays Hanada a visit demanding two million yen for compensation. Hanada’s decision however was not only to avoid paying, but also to kill the guy in charge of collecting the money. In yakuza code this means all hell could break loose if the situation is not handled properly, and of course, it isn’t.
After ten full years, first Outrage marked Kitano’s return to yakuza eiga. As a filmmaker who basically reinvented the genre in the 90’s, his new yakuza title lacked the emotional depth or the strength of his older movies. Same goes for Outrage Coda. While perhaps not as slick and stylish as the first in the series, the final chapter delivers more black suits and cars, as well as more yakuza mugs exchanging places on the hierarchical ladder of power. Judging from the opening scene, one would never say so, as we see Kitano sitting by the sea, with his sidekick-to-be quietly fishing next to him. By the looks of this it seems this new Outrage is taking a stroll down nostalgia lane to deliver something more in the vein of author’s 90’s classics. As it turns out soon enough, it’s not. It follows the same Outrage formula, but does manage to be slightly different again.
A lot happened since the time the first Chairman shared his concern with boss Ikamoto being a little too close with his sworn brother Murase. Without fresh (re)watching, potential viewers might find following the plot a heavy task. Sanno family has weakened and is now almost out of the picture, while Otomo is slowly taking central stage along with the spotlight. Which means more of Beat Takeshi’s shooting and shouting, along with some of his usual, impossible-not-to-enjoy, stone faced violence delivery. Together with Nao Ohmori, unforgettable Ichi of Ichi the Killer fame, he takes on the task of cleaning up the mess in his own way, this meaning yakuza bodies being gunned down in slow motion and Kitano making sure there’s no more Outrage sequels in a self-referential scene that has Sonatine written all over it.
Perhaps it wouldn’t be fair saying Hisaishi’s soundtrack is missing, his collaboration with Kitano included five movies only. Among them some of the very finest, with maestro’s minimal touch giving one of a kind, killer atmosphere. Keiichi Suzuki had the ungrateful role of stepping into his shoes, but did well, signing the soundtrack for all three Outrage films.
Displaying its director’s immaculate, experience-gained filmmaking skills, Outrage Coda is a movie you’ll love more or less depending on whether you’re more fond of the series’ first or second part. With all the fun cramped into the final third, there’s more dialogue-over-action quality here then some will be willing to tolerate. I have no real reason to say Outrage Coda is anything less than a good movie, it’s just one of those that you won’t regret watching, but still will not get much from it. Having the Outrage trilogy completed and out of the way, it will be interesting to see just what is Kitano planning on doing next.
Matija Makotoichi Tomic’s Rating: 7/10