Electric Dragon 80,000V
- Original title
- Electric Dragon 80,000V
- Running time
- 55 minutes
- 24 July 2001
by Tom Mes
Words cannot begin to describe this film. A 55-minute hyperkinetic descent into electro-charged punk madness, set to an eardrum-shattering industrial punk/noise soundtrack, Electric Dragon 80,000 V transcends film to become an overwhelming, all-immersing experience. Just hope and pray that you still have all your brain cells after you emerge from it.
Made at the same time as Sogo Ishii's somptuous swordplay spectacle Gojoe, and sharing the same lead actors in Asano (the co-originator of this project) and Nagase, Electric Dragon is a return to the spirit and shape of Ishii's anarchic punk epics of the early 80s Crazy Thunder Road (Kuruizaki Sandaa Rodo, 1980) and Burst City (Bakuretsu Toshi, 1982). Shot in black and white on the rooftops and in the back alleys of Tokyo, the two leads play high voltage superheroes out to destroy each other, which they try in the most spectacular ways imaginable. In between bouts they recharge themselves using electric chairs, electric beds, wall sockets and entire power stations.
Electric Dragon was produced by the Suncent company of eccentric producer Takenori Sento, a man with a willingness to take risks on projects that stray from the beaten path. The same year as this piece of sheer cinematic delirium, Sento also produced Naomi Kawase's intimate Hotaru, Shinji Aoyama's much-lauded Eureka, Tomoyuki Furumaya's autobiographical festival favourite Bad Company (Mabudachi) and the aforementioned Gojoe. An eclectic mix to say the least and one that proved to be Sento's undoing: the commmercial failure of Ishii's double bill spelled the end for Suncent.
The bankruptcy of its production company did not stop Electric Dragon 80,000 V from gaining wider distribution than that for which its commercially unattractive running time would seem to mark it out. DVD editions exist in several countries, and its audiovisual bombast make it particularly well-suited for Blu-Ray treatment. Regardless of format, any occasion to watch this film should be grabbed without hesitation. Sit down, tune in, and experience a glorious, one-hour, unadulterated brain killer of a film. This, ladies and gentlemen, is CINEMA!