Takeshi Kitano (aka Beat Takeshi), the director of Sonatine and Fireworks, returns to his gangster roots (and beats them to a bloody pulp) with this hardcore crime tale about a small Yakuza crew trying to keep the rivalry between two syndicates from escalating into an all-out war, a task that certainly has its share of (rather violent) difficulties. In this world, poor bastards meet their bloody demise via dentist drill and dudes get stabbed in the face when they're just trying to sit and enjoy the sauna; indeed, when he first started writing the script, Kitano conjured up the ways in which the characters would be killed and then developed the actual story around the killings. Kitano's great at this kind of stuff. . . but he's also getting old, and Outrage sometimes feels not so much like a playful self-homage but an overblown attempt to prove he's still got what it takes when it comes to conducting symphonies of ultra-violence. After a string of unconventional films that barely made a dime, the writer-director-star set out to make a movie that did nothing but entertain -- Outrage most certainly delivers in that regard, but hopefully Outrage 2 (which goes into production this year) will have a little less blood and a little more meat.
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