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Beyond Outrage

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(2012)

To Americans, Takeshi Kitano may be best-known for his role in the 2000 flick Battle Royale; in his native Japan, however, he’s the country’s version of Martin Scorsese (if Marty also served as star), a writer/ director who shines brightest plying his talents in the realm of violent crime tales, including Sonatine, Brother, The Blind Swordsman: Zatoichi and Outrage.

That last one is the 2010 predecessor to Beyond Outrage — or Outrage Beyond, as the titles read — in which Kitano returns as Otomo, an organized-crime vet nearing the end of a prison term. So instantly absorbing is the film, I forgot Kitano was the main character until he finally showed up after a 25-minute absence.

Otomo insists he’s through with the yakuza (the Japanese mafia), but the yakuza isn’t through with him. A weaselly detective (Fumiyo Kohinata, Audition) uses Otomo like a chess piece in order to turn two allied gangs against one another in an all-out war.

Keeping track of who is who isn’t the easiest of tasks, but viewers will be drawn in nonetheless (and shouldn’t get attached to anyone). Beyond Outrage ends with a literal and figurative bang yet feels less like closure and more like a lead-in to a trilogy-capper. — RL

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