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Saturday, November 24, 2018

OUTRAGE CODA -- DVD Review by Porfle

Here's another intense, violent, and utterly no-nonsense Yakuza thriller from writer-director-star Beat Takeshi (HANA-BI, BOILING POINT, VIOLENT COP), who makes these films with the skill and determination of a fine artist wielding a sledgehammer.

OUTRAGE CODA (Film Movement, 2017) takes us into the heart of the Yakuza organization once again, and it's a really scary place to be.

When they aren't sitting around bleak, joyless offices intimidating each other with their power and position, maneuvering themselves up the ladder while always keeping an eye out for treachery and deception from all sides, they're in constant fear of making a wrong move that some boss or rival group will perceive as a capital offense.

Takeshi (who you may also know from BATTLE ROYALE, MERRY CHRISTMAS MR. LAWRENCE, and the TV series MXC) knows his way around this kind of filmmaking like a master, but he also knows when to break through all these complicated plot machinations with the occasional burst of blood-curdling violence, which is also a way of life with the Yakuza.

To this end, he stars as Otomo, a former big shot in the organization (whom we met back in OUTRAGE: WAY OF THE YAKUZA) now spending his mellower years working in South Korea for the Chang family.

Otomo is the kind of guy you don't mess with, even when you're his friend and you go fishing together. If he gets mad, he just might pull out his gun and shoot up the fish that you're reeling in.

Otomo is also the kind of guy that the scary guys in the organization are afraid of--with good reason--and when a blustery young would-be underboss of the Hanabishi family offends both Otomo and the Chang family on their own turf, killing one of Otomo's men in the bargain, Otomo takes it personally.  Very personally.

That's the set-up of OUTRAGE CODA, and despite how intricate and plot-heavy the story may seem at times, it's all just an excuse for Otomo's growing outrage to channel itself into those bursts of action and violence which make Kitano's crime dramas so exhilarating and even frightening to watch.

Until that happens, though, the dramatic interactions between rivals within and without the two warring factions grow increasingly absorbing as relationships gel between various characters, all of whom are expertly played by an outstanding cast.

There are no good guys here--as in the original OUTRAGE: WAY OF THE YAKUZA, there are only varying degrees of bad guys, some of whom we begin to root for over the others if they show even a hint of loyalty or integrity.

Somehow, Otomo earns our respect and support because he's (a) a straight dealer, and (b) is the baddest of the bad despite an almost placid demeanor.  Once he goes into action, though, he has no qualms about laying waste to an entire roomful of the opposition's most well-armed and well-heeled assassins.

The DVD from Film Movement is in 2.40:1 widescreen with 5.1 and 2.0 sound. Japanese with English subtitles.  Bonuses consist of an interesting making-of featurette and trailers for other Takeshi films.

I missed the middle entry in the trilogy, but I can only assume that OUTRAGE CODA is a fitting end to it because the finality comes as a shock.  It sends this gritty and uncompromising crime thriller off on a haunting, melancholy note, and serves as another feather in the cap of the fascinating filmmaker known as Beat Takeshi.


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