Runs Fri., Jan. 17–Thurs., Jan. 23 at Grand Illusion. Rated R. 112 minutes.
“I’m getting too old for this shit,” says an aging yakuza after being released from jail to rejoin the gang wars. That the speaker is director and star Takeshi Kitano, now 67, and that this is the long-delayed sequel to his 2011 Outrage, only underscores his point. Otomo has been at it too long. He really ought to retire from the killings, vendettas, and endlessly discussed grudges among the crime clans of Tokyo and Osaka . . . but they just keep pulling him back in.
The problem here—for Otomo, for Kitano, for us—is that we’ve all seen this movie too many times before. The old guard of Beyond Outrage insists on suits and ties and elaborate meeting protocols as they debate old feuds and plan new alliances (always with plans for future betrayal, of course). The new guard is represented by treacherous, ambitious Ishihara (Ryo Kase, back from Outrage), who demands that his elders learn how to master hedge funds and other means of modern criminality. The impudence! Next thing you know, he’ll have the yakuza using Snapchat and Skype!
Otomo, caught between the two gangs being gamed by Detective Kataoka (Fumiyo Kohinata), is a man accustomed to traditional tools: knife, gun, and power drill. (In one concession to technology, however, he finds a novel use for a baseball pitching machine.) As usual, Kitano effectively deploys his lopsided, stroke-ravaged deadpan to the proceedings, but it’s hard to tell if Otomo is just weary or outright bored. As director, Kitano stages the same revenge-planning scenes over and over again, the gangsters lit from above, so that their eyes are dead and coal-dark. The first Outrage was no classic, but a solid return to yakuza-land; this one makes it seem better in retrospect.