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Asian cinema: Japanese films

Outrage Coda film review: Takeshi Kitano ends yakuza trilogy with delightfully violent tale of power plays

Extreme violence and deadpan humour feature throughout the last film in Kitano’s yakuza trilogy, a blood-soaked revenge story that is heavy on dialogue and light on backstory

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 16 May, 2018, 3:00pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 16 May, 2018, 3:00pm

4/5 stars

Takeshi Kitano caps his yakuza comeback trilogy in fine style with a typically convoluted tale of shifting loyalties and underhand power plays within Osaka’s Hanabishi-kai crime syndicate. Honing in once again on the bureaucratic minutiae that entangles the scheming rivals atop the now all-powerful organisation, Kitano permeates these intricate dealings with his signature deadpan humour and punctuated outbursts of extreme violence.

The actor-director returns as poker-faced lieutenant Otomo, now living in exile on the Korean island of Jeju, where he works for local crime boss, Chang (Tokio Kaneda). When a holidaying Hanabishi gangster triggers a violent altercation at one of Chang’s brothels, Otomo is tasked with seeking compensation.

Returning to Osaka, Otomo sets in motion his revenge plot against the syndicate that ousted his own Sanno-kai gang.

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Dialogue-heavy and devoid of non-essential backstory, Outrage Coda can be difficult to follow at times, even for viewers who have seen the first two chapters.

Suffice to say that all three of the Hanabishi’s most powerful members see this new development as an opportunity to seize control from their rivals. But for all their carefully considered betrayals and double-crosses, none could have foreseen Otomo’s nihilistic return.

Still best-known as a comedic television personality in Japan, Kitano’s films appear to emerge from a wholly different persona, and, perhaps as a result, tend to fare better overseas. News that he has parted ways with production company Office Kitano may see the 70-year-old filmmaker slow down, or seek funding internationally.

But whatever his future holds, Outrage Coda reassures audiences that Kitano’s cinema remains as delightfully scabrous and cold-blooded as ever.

Outrage Coda opens May 17

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