'Burst City: Special Edition' [Blu-ray]
(Michirô Endô, Shigeru Izumiya, Takanori Jinna, et al / Blu-ray / NR / (1972) 2020 / Arrow Video - MVD Visual)
Overview: In a derelict industrial wasteland somewhere on the outskirts of Tokyo, two rival punk bands and their unruly mobs of fans gather for a Battle of the Bands-style protest against the construction of a nuclear powerplant, bringing them head to head with the yakuza industrialists behind the development of their turf.
This extraordinary celebration of Japan's punk music scene of the early 1980s thrust Sogo Ishii (now known by the name of Gakury Ishii), the underground filmmaking wunderkind behind such works as Half Human: Einstürzende Neubauten (1986), Angel Dust (1994) and Electric Dragon 80,000V (2001), to the next level and is regularly cited as an early landmark in Japanese cyberpunk cinema.
Blu-ray Verdict: Simply put, and telling it like it truly is, without the work of Sogo Ishii there would be no Takashi Miike or Shinya Tsukamoto.
That becomes quite clear in the opening minutes of 'Burst City.' The hyper-kinetic beginning of the film with its lightning fast editing and violent images together with the use of music were obvious influences on Miike's 'Dead Or Alive' and 'Blues Harp' as well as a number of other films.
And the camera-work, use of black and white photography and cyberpunk imagery were later recycled in Tsukamoto's 'Tetsuo' films as well as the brilliant 'Snake Of June.'
'Burst City' is essentially a feature length punk rock music clip. The film is set in a kind of post-apocalyptic Japan where everyone is a punk, a freak or a brutal cop.
There are non-stop riots in the streets, non-stop punk concerts, non-stop gang warfare, non-stop police brutality and non-stop car chases.
So yeah, 'Burst City' is one hell of a wild ride and it left me feeling spun out and wow, the soundtrack is made up entirely of awesome Japanese punk rock and fits the images perfectly.
In closing, 'Burst City' is powerful, frenetic, feral, rabid cinema that feels like a transmission from the gutter of the future. An '80s Japanese Sci-fi Punk Rock Musical, is how I wished I could have ended this review, but I cannot.
For as much as I wanted that to be my bottom line, I thought it might be a little misleading. Sometimes it can be fun to get together with some friends, get some pizza, and put on a low budget movie.
But when you do that, you ought to choose a movie that is easy to watch. After all, the focus is hanging out with friends. This won't work if you try it with 'Burst City.' It's just that good! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
Original lossless mono Japanese soundtrack
Optional English subtitles
Brand new audio commentary by Japanese film expert Tom Mes
The Punk Spirit of 82: Sogo Ishii on Burst City, an exclusive new 56-minute interview with the director
Bursting Out, an exclusive 27-minute interview with the academic and independent filmmaker Yoshiharu Tezuka on Jishu Eiga and the making of Burst City
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Chris Malbon
+ FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by Mark Player
Amazon Purchase Link