Yakuza

Outrage Beyond

It’s not entirely accurate to say that Takeshi Kitano‘s Outrage played Fantastic Fest in 2010. More apt would be to say that it carved a grisly gash into our brains as we squirmed and squealed with delight. The gangster cinema auteur from the land of the rising sun returns with both figurative and literal vengeance with Outrage Beyond. It’s a safe assumption that the sequel cannot be evaluated without discussing the intimate details of the first film. Therefore for those unacquainted with Outrage, now would be a good time to go sharpen your katana, or sing karaoke. Not Journey, just saying. All clear? Ok. The corrupt police officer from Outrage, Kataoka, orchestrates a coup to try and unseat the two reigning Yakuza bosses-of-bosses. These were the two vile snakes who betrayed Otomo (“Beat” Takeshi Kitano) to his incarceration and ultimately, seemingly, his death. The coup goes south when a vital conspirator turns out to be less than trustworthy. Now, yet another struggle for power is brewing in the Japanese underworld. The situation getting desperate, only one man can possibly set all this nonsense right…but he died. Right?

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According to Deadline Tokyo, John Woo will director his first non-Red Cliff movie since 2003′s Paycheck. Fortunately, he’s chosen something that will definitely facilitate the use of slow motion doves. He’ll be tackling the world of the Yakuza for a remake of the 1963 Seijun Suzuki film Youth of the Beast, which will aptly be titled Day of the Beast. Production will be handled by Lion Rock and Nikkatsu – Japan’s oldest major movie studio which celebrates a full century in business this year. According to the release, the movie “follows a western outsider with a grim past as he becomes embroiled in a global turf war between a vicious new breed of Yakuza and old school Cold War Russian mobsters. It’s an action-packed saga of loyalty, revenge and redemption which erupts in the heart of Tokyo.” Yes, yes, and yes. The original was a 60s-trippy, frantic crime story with a lot of ins and outs (and whathaveyous), so it’ll be fertile ground for Woo to get as weird as he wants to be.

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After the debut of last year’s criminally underseen and severely underrated Warrior, writer and director Gavin O’Connor did manage to find one major silver lining – the adoration of scads of brand new fans who loved his film and wanted to see more of his work. Fortunately, while Warrior went without much of the notice it deserved, O’Connor has not, as the filmmaker has been steadily lining up work in the months since the film hit theaters. Next up, Universal Pictures has picked the director to helm Yakuza, “a contemporary Japan-set thriller” that focuses on “an American intelligence expert who becomes embroiled in the affairs of a notorious yakuza godfather and finds himself plunged into the violent criminal underworld and toxic landscape of post-tsunami Japan.” The film’s script was penned by Chap Taylor (Changing Lanes), but O’Connor will now rewrite it, along with Josh Fagin. Imagine Entertainment and Brian Grazer are producing. While that storyline sounds a bit done-before, setting it in a modern time period adds some intrigue and, paired with O’Connor’s knack for getting emotional performances out of beefy brawlers, Yakuza could end up being something special.

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Some trailers are of the “Must-See” variety, some are of the “Officially Cool” variety and then some are in a category all their own.

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published: 04.17.2014
B-
published: 04.17.2014
D+
published: 04.17.2014
B-
published: 04.16.2014
B+

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