Jared Leto Yakuza Movie 'The Outsider' Savaged by Critics, Twitter

The Outsider, a new Netflix original film that debuts on the streaming service March 9, features Jared Leto as an American who ventures into Japan’s criminal underworld to join the yakuza. Turns out, it’s every bit as awful as it sounds, at least according to critics.

The Outsider didn’t have to be yet another story about a white dude who manages to insinuate himself into a historically inaccessible Japanese subculture just to have sex with the most coveted native woman around and then ruin everyone’s life in the noble pursuit of something no one asked him to do in the first place. You’d like to think that Hollywood would eventually learn from the mistakes (or even the title) of The Last Samurai, and perhaps one day it will. But today is not that day,” says IndieWire’s David Ehrlich, the fatigue of sitting through this film in its entirety clearly weighing on him like a damp duvet.  

The Daily Beast’s Karen Han notes, “The fact that the filmmakers have no interest in Japanese culture beyond stripping it for visual cues is never more apparent than in how the film ignores its specific (and somewhat ironic) context of post-occupation Japan,” latter summarizing the film as “bafflingly bad on every level.”

In The Guardian, Charles Bramesco makes a similar point, “The tell, the dead giveaway that this film appreciates the concept of Japan far more than its reality, is Nick’s unequivocal victory over the civilization he purports to love.”

Another delightfully acidic review, this time from Andrew Barker of Variety, likens the film to “the cinematic equivalent of a study-abroad student showing off the kanji forearm tattoo whose meaning he never bothered to learn.”

Twitter also got in on the schadenfreude fun, even though the movie hasn’t even come out yet.


You’ll be forgiven for confusing the reception of The Outsider with that of several other films in recent memory, such as last summer’s joyless live-action Ghost in the Shell reboot with Scarlett Johansson, in which [SPOILERS] she plays a dead Japanese woman who is brought back to life in the "enhanced" form of a white-lady robot. Or Cameron Crowe’s 2015 flop Aloha, widely criticized for the casting of Emma Stone as Allison Ng, a character of Chinese and Pacific Islander ancestry.

Looks like everyone’s practicing their sickest burns in advance of the release of Ready Player One, the dead-eyed nostalgia buffet set to pander its way into your heart March 29.

Are you strangely drawn to the glow of this dumpster fire, enough to possibly hate-watch The Outsider this weekend? Or will you be making better use of your time by doing literally anything else? Let us know in the comments.

Join the Discussion