Review: Outrage (DVD)

Magnet brings Takeshi Kitano's violently witty & entertaining yakuza film to DVD.

  • Director: Takeshi Kitano
  • Starring: Beat Takeshi, Jun Kunimura, Sôichirô Kitamura
  • Year: 2010
  • Runtime: 109 Minutes
  • Company: Magnet
  • Format: DVD
  • Discs: 1
  • Video: 2.35:1 - 16:9 - Widescreen
  • Audio: Japanese 5.1 Dolby Digital
  • Region: 1
  • Released: 1/31/2012

Takeshi Kitano notably burst onto the late 80's-early 90's Japanese film scene in front and behind the camera with a violent and idiosyncratic look at gangsters, police and the human condition. After much critical & financial success abroad with his bleak and unique films centered around the yakuza (Japan's organized mob) and a career defining role in Kinji Fukasaku's classic Battle Royale, Kitano aimed to carry that success over stateside. That film would be Brother, Takeshi's English film debut that ultimately flopped and was met with non too favorable reviews, leading Kitano to retreat back to his home country and abandon his trademark yakuza based stories. That is until now with the release of Outrage, Kitano's first Japan set mobster film in over a decade, that is certainly a return to form.
Mr. Chairman (Sôichirô Kitamura), big cheese of the Sannokai crime clan, is not too happy. A "brother" pact made in prison between Sannokai under-boss Ikemoto (Jun Kunimura) and rival yakuza leader Murase (Renji Ishibashi) has caused a weariness in loyalty. Mr. Chairman orders Ikemoto to sever the pact immediately but with a catch, pin the falling out on Murase. Ikemoto tasks his own under-boss Otomo (Takeshi "Beat" Kitano), a no-bullshit taking relic enforcer, to carry out Mr. Chairman's wishes. What seems like a simple chore becomes the first step in Mr. Chairman's insidious plan to create a power struggle between the rival gangs that will lead to their demise.
In many mafia and mob related films, the perks of being a gangster is greatly glorified with the riches, attention and security that comes with the life. Most interesting in Outrage is how Kitano is aware of those luxuries and that these mobsters can have whatever money can buy, but chooses to show a menial and mundane outlook on this underground world. If Outrage teaches us anything it's that being in a yakuza means you sit around, and wait. Akin to a faithful dog, waiting until your master unchains you to attack any trespasser. When the order is given though, all bloody hell breaks loose. When scripting the film, Takeshi Kitano mapped out all of the kills first and created a story around them, leading to some truly brutal standout moments concerning a dental saw, box cutter and a tongue severing uppercut. Kitano brilliantly makes these cringe inducing moments become symbolically metaphorical that adhere to the plot while making it highly entertaining in it's execution.
Outrage is surprisingly witty thanks to Beat Takeshi's deadpan delivery that is both humorous and deadly serious. One minute Takeshi's Otomo is calm and collected, the next he's shouting, "fucking asshole" and breaking faces without sweating a drop. It's the essence of cool but also a personal look at a man fed up with how this once old school professional society is crumbling. The finale suggests a vicious cycle that will continue on, making you sympathize with Otomo. Filled with excellent performances, a welcomed techno-esque score and a surprising amount of bloody orchestrated violence, Outrage is a vicious look at the innards of yakuza life that is well worth your time. 

  • Video
Magnet's 2.35:1 framed disc looks as good as a DVD can with a nice anamorphic widescreen transfer. At times the picture leans towards the soft side but overall is visually pleasing. Detail, skin tones and color looks just fine, which I guarantee is boosted in clarity on the Blu-ray disc. Video-philes will certainly want to pick up the HD release for maximum picture quality.
  • Audio
A sole Japanese 5.1 Dolby Digital 5.1 track is included with optional English subtitles which is quite effective. Very loud and bass heavy when it needs to be, especially in the films various violent scenes. Offers a nice display of multi channel use for effects, score and dialogue which is always clear.

Bonus Features
  • Featurette - "Cast Interview: Making Outrage"
The main actors talk about filming, their characters and what it's like being directing by Takeshi Kitano.
  • Documentary - "Outrage Inside Out"
This lengthy feature is a fly on the wall behind the scenes doc on the making of the film, including on set interviews and a look at Kitano's directing style.
  • Featurette - "Cast Panel Interview"
Takeshi and other actors discuss the production of Outrage and their characters in the film. This starts to veer into overlapping information territory but it's still worth a watch.
  • Featurette - "Premiere Q&A"
The majority of main actors of Outrage attend the film's premiere in Shinjuku, Japan where they discuss their time working on the film and what it's like collaborating with a legend such a Beat Takeshi.
  • Featurette - "Cannes Red Carpet Premiere"
A quick look at Beat Takeshi arriving at the prestigious French film festival, greeting fans and mingling with press.
  • Trailers
An English and International trailer is included for Outrage, with more trailers for current/upcoming Magnet/Magnolia films