Jealousy, betrayal, revenge, ambition, and dissatisfaction with the boss are the staples of life within any Yakuza crime family. So says actor, film director and screenwriter Takeshi Kitano. And that’s just within a particular family. Per Kitano, these rivalries also spread to battles between crime families.
In the 1972 classic, The Godfather, the character called Clemenza (played by Richard Castellano) called it – going to the mattresses. A term meaning that as the gang wars raged, the participants holed up in safe houses that lacked sufficient bedrooms – so some had to make do with sleeping on mattresses on the floor.
In Kitano’s latest yakuza film called Beyond Outrage (2012) they didn’t bother with euphemisms – they just said – let’s wage war. This film is the sequel to Outrage, also written, directed and starring Takeshi Kitano.
His character is called Otomo, and terms like nasty, brutal, and ‘in your face’, are only the starting point for this guy. We thought he might have been killed off at the end of Outrage, but now we find out that this was just the tale told to keep him alive while he did a stretch in prison.
As Beyond Outrage begins we learn that Kato, the new head of the Sanno family, who got to his position by bumping off the former head (via a betrayal by his body-guard), is not so well liked by some of the underbosses. especially because that same bodyguard was installed as a senior executive. Also right there near the top is Ishihara who was once Otomo’s right hand before betraying him (in Outrage) So the situation was ripe with dissatisfaction and jealousy.
In steps police Detective Kataoka played marvelously by Fumino Kohinata. Kataoka takes money from the Sanno family. He also takes money from a competing family, based in Osaka, called the Hanabishi. He does major favors for these gangs in exchange for plenty of Yen as well as an occasional bust. In short, Kataoka’s game plan is to play one gang off against the other, take money from each, and use his occasional busts to help him rise in the police ranks.
Almost before you settle into your seat, a Sanno underboss is having a meet with the head of the Hanabishi (engineered by Kataoka of course). And just as of course – this underboss will not survive once the Sanno gang finds out.
So we go back and forth – antagonists become allies, allies become antagonists, and Kataoka will have Otomo released from prison and injected into the midst. Immediately the stakes are ratcheted up.