AS the old saying goes, it's all fun and games till someone gets hurt. That can't be more true in Outrage Beyond - the blood-soaked sequel to 2010's equally hyper-violent Outrage - as the baddies in the yakuza flick double cross, betray and put gang loyalty to the test before pulling out their guns in the gory finale.
Like the original, it's written, directed and stars Takeshi Kitano - Japanese cinema's answer to Chow Yun Fat. For over three decades, he has plied his trade on both the big and small screens and while he's always been a household name domestically, his international breakthrough came in the 90s when blood-thirsty thrillers like Violent Cop, Boiling Point, Hana-bi and Brother elevated him to cult status overseas.
Though the 66-year-old appeared to mellow with age in the new millennium as he moved into experimental arthouse dramas like Dolls, Taskeshis and Achilles and the Tortoise, Kitano revisited the world of yakuzas three years ago with Outrage. It was a box-office smash and a trilogy has been spawned with a third film in the works.
This first sequel follows more or less the same plot device used in the original - bad guys argue, shout a lot and then shoot each other. The slow-burning plot simmers with violence but it's also less graphic than the first film and bullets only start flying in the last half hour.
Caught in the middle of the chaos is Kitano's character Otomo. The yakuzas thinks he's dead after the gang war in the first film but Otomo is actually in prison. Crooked detective Katako (Fumiyo Kohinata) decides to give him an early release in a bid to crack down on the Sanno clan which is growing bigger by the day.
Using Otomo as his pawn, Katako tries to play him off between the Sanno and Hanabishi families in hope of starting a yakuza war. It's a game with high stakes and Otomo once again find himself inevitably drawn into a bloody feud that he wants no part of.
It's a complicated web of characters and you need effort to remember who's who as the war of words escalates with each scene. It doesn't help that the dialogue is spat out at machine-gun speed and new characters are introduced as quickly as they are killed off.
But that's Kitano for you - he knows how to shock his audience when one least expects it so those who are weak in the stomach best stay away from this.
And despite the slower pace - Outrage Beyond could use more action and less talk - this is still mostly killer stuff.