Saturday, December 3, 2011

Outrage - Movie Review

Here's a time where I was looking forward to a movie for all the right reasons.  It's about the Yakuza!  Sweet!  I love gangster or crime movies.  It's also getting great reviews on  Okay, good sign!

However, after watching Outrage, I kind of feel a little outraged towards some of the reviewers on  I'm calling bullshit on them.  I found Outrage to be wildly disappointing.  I almost have to wonder if they watched a different movie than I did.

A warning up front that this is a foreign, subtitled film, which may put many of you off right from the beginning.  I know lots of people that don't like subtitles.  Even I have a hard time with them if I'm not in the mood.

Spoilers ahead...

It basically starts out with a misunderstanding between Yakuza clans.  The 'misunderstanding' may have actually been a setup to push a confrontation, but I'm not sure.  The 'Chairman', basically the Yakuza's big boss, tells the clans to work it out, but at the same time he pushes particular people do take actions on others.  Kill this guy, rough this other guy up, take over their turf, etc.  This leads to a string of Yakuza killings, where each killing demands a retaliation.  Eventually, nobody is left.  Seriously, everyone dies in this movie.

I'd talk more about the story, but I felt that's pretty much all there was to it.  It's a bunch of homicidal maniacs killing one another over insults or turf.  Maybe it's because Outrage is subtitled, but I spent half the movie trying to figure out who everyone was and keeping it all straight.  I still didn't do a very good job of it.  There are so many characters and clans that it's hard to keep it all worked out.  Plus, it doesn't help that they are all pretty much wearing the same black suit and looked similar.  Maybe if I had some familiarity with the actors prior to seeing the movie, I might have had an easier time knowing who was who.

There are a lot of things I just thought were silly about this movie:
  • There are many times where people don't notice guys standing directly next to them with guns.  At one point a guy is getting out of a car, and another car pulls up immediately beside him.  He doesn't even give a glance to the car that's less than three feet away from him.  Anyway, the guy pulls out a gun and shoots the dude.  No peripheral vision at all.
  • It also irritated me that none of the clan members were smart enough to see that they were all being manipulated by The Chairman.  It was so obvious that they were.  It was clear that nearly everyone in the movie had ulterior motives and couldn't be trusted.
  • Oh, and here was my favorite scene:  A guy walks into a room with a machine gun.  The four guys already in the room all stand up upon seeing this.  Rather than duck behind the cover they were sitting on, or pulling our their own guns, they just stood up like they wanted to get shot.  Then, they all start doing what I like to call the 'I'm getting shot in a hail of bullets' dance.  You've seen it before: the person  usually has his arms at a 45-90 degree angle and then starts to alternately straighten them, while swinging their torso from right to left, while also simultaneously shrugging his shoulders.  It's always amazing to me how many bullets a man can take doing this dance before going down.  Here's the kicker, one of the guys in the this scene starts doing his dance before any bullets hit him.  In fact, he's standing behind another guy, who has barely yet stood up to receive his bullets and react to them.  The squibs weren't even going off yet to show they had been hit.  It was hilarious.  I probably watched that scene like give times.
Outrage felt very cheap and low budget.  There were many scenes that ended with fade-outs that looked like the kind of effect done with a camcorder.  Other times the camera cuts away or only gives you an obscured view of the violence, where I think a little more brutality would have worked here.  It's all about people killing one another, why sugarcoat it or be tame?  It is plenty violent, and there were a few creative killings, but something about it all seemed very fake to me.   There a kill towards the end that I thought was particularly cool, but even then, the scene was cut up funny and I had to watch the scene a few times to figure out exactly how it happened.  Outrage did have a little style about it though, I'll give it that.

The move is basically just a bunch of Yakuza guys killing each other.  You don't care about any of the characters, because you don't now anything about any of them.  None of them have personalities and can easily be swapped out for one another.  They were a bunch of cardboard cut-outs, who's only purpose in the film was to take a bullet.  I think this is part of why I had a hard time keeping track of who anyone was.  There was nothing distinctive about how any of them behaved.  Think about gangsters in Tarantino or Scorsese movies; even though they are bad people or doing bad things, you are interested in them or even care about them, because you at least have a sense of who they are and they've shown you some kind of personality.

Outrage was written, directed and stars Takeshi Kitano, who has done many other movies that have been received well.  I have to wonder if this is an example of a reviewer'sOutrage and it turns out that I've seen a few Takeshi films before.

Maybe it's a cultural thing, but I didn't get Outrage.  I just can't find anything to really recommend about it to others.  I was initially enthusiastic about a Yakuza movie, but came away from it not caring about the movie at all.  I advise you to skip it.

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