ELECTRIC DRAGON 80,000 V (2001)



ELECTRIC DRAGON 80,000 V is a great cyberpunk-SF-rock-electro-madness & weirdness from the unsung great Sogo Ishii – more typically Japanese prime qualities packed in its medium running time than most features can boast! Forget duelling banjos: how about duelling electric guitars? Yep, it's 21st century, after all, and who could be better to announce it but Sogo Ishii?

This is the DVD review of his cult film.

You’d never think that a 55-minute film could be graced with so many extras, but the good people from Discotek are there to prove you wrong – and to put to shame most DVD presentations of feature films. First of all, the film itself is in glorious black and white (anamorphic widescreen), with Japanese audio in 2.0. Stereo, 5.1. and DTS 5.1. and with very good white (but legible) subtitles. Then we come to extras: the usual ones, like chapter selection and trailers (among them is one for Ishii's amazing BURST CITY, already available and already reviewed here), and the REAL extras.

The latter include 'Making of', divided into four chapters: 'Title design' and 'Filming snapshots' contain numerous sketches and photos in an excellent frame stylized like the film itself; 'About the Tattoo Illustrations' merges drawings and text written by Hiroki Mafuyu about his concepts; and finally, there is something called 'Synthesized Images' where storyboards, photos and actual scenes (before and after special effects) are commented (for more than 20 minutes) by Ishii and the visual effects guy. Then you have the 'Interviews' section: it is unnecessarily divided, but contains mostly shots from the film's premiere, press conference and an event two months later, when the film has already become a cult phenomenon (just wait to see the kind of applause Tadanobu Asano gets!). These interviews are also in black and white, in line with DRAGON'S style.

There is also a section 'Final Showdown' – which is nothing more or less than the actual ending of the movie, extracted as the 'real meat'. To top all of this, there's a second disc too: a CD with the 'eardrum-shattering industrial/punk noise soundtrack' by Mach 1.67. The discs are in the usual plastic slipcase protected by the carton one (with different covers! yippie!). All in all: this is the definitive version of ELECTRIC DRAGON to own and cherish!

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