Reviewed By-Steve Genier
Directed By-Ishii Sogo
Cast-Asano Tadanobu and Nagase Masatoshi .
At first I didn't know what to make of this very odd short film from Ishii Sogo(Crazy Thunder Road, Gojoe), but as time went on and I mean a short time, I began to realize just how great this film really was. Shot in stunning black and white, Ishi gathers all the elements and fits them in a perfect puzzle. The marriage between score and visuals guide you through a surreal world of sorts full of electricity and that's no understatement either. Don't spend too much time trying to figure out the storyline, there isn't much of one to follow. Rightfully so, there's too much eye candy to follow along with the audio temptations galore. Very powerful score provided by MACH 1.67 and Onogawa Hiroyuk, one that have you watching this just to hear it. The character build ups are incredibly inventive as well, built through a series of visuals and very little dialogue. I GOTTA BUY A GUITAR!!
Our story begins with a bunch of little kids playing around a hydro field, while one of them becomes adventurous by climbing one of the towers. There's one single scene of imagery that is so simple but yet so powerful, a beed of sweet rolling down the boys face and looking down before the inevitable to happen. Reaching the top, he's struck with lighting and awakening the dragon inside him. Dragon Eye Morrison (Asano Tadanobu) is born!! As he grows older, he struggles with the rage inside him. There seems to be no positive outlet except anger. This is depicted in a series of scenes where you see EDM knocking out his would be bullies. Punishment, electric shock therapy. This continues until present day, where EDM figures the only way to tame his dragon is by feeding it electricity. Hence the ELECTRIC GUITAR! It soothes his soul and becomes one with the dragon. As most of EDM's character is built up, there's another element that is introduced, THUNDERBOLT BUDDHA. Ishii carefully weaves the two characters separately until pretty much till the end. Then as symbolized with EDM finding his pet dragon dead, the fight begins. Turn up the amp, this is where the fireworks really start to fly. The battle between the two electrically charged foes will have you out of your seat and running for cover.
After watching this a few times, observing Asano Tadanobu's portrayal of Dragon Eye Morrison, I can see where Takashi Miike got the idea on why he casted Tadanobu in ICHI THE KILLER. Both EDM and ICHI's KAKIHARA character show very similar characteristics, psychotic, unpredictable and ruthless. It's funny because at first glance of ED80000v, I didn't really notice that connection except that I kept wondering how familiar the lead actor really was. There were several things about this film along with that observation, the one main element being the pace of this short film. Although it only being 55 minutes in length, you feel like your being treated to a full-featured film. This will have you glued to the screen even during the end credits. Between the catchy tunage and electrifying scripture.
The pounding soundtrack from MACH 1.67 and Onogawa Hiroyuk has a direct effect on you, it's like a catchy tune that gets massive air time on the radio and has you wanting to go out and buy the whole album without knowing what the other songs are like. Sogo is like the Japanese version of Tarantino and how he manipulates the viewer with placing the right songs and addressing the scenes accordingly. Which reminds me, I still have to order my copy! Along with this highly addictive score that creates a natural high, the visuals only adds to that drug. There's no need for colour here, again Sogo uses the black and white most effectively. Sharp and fast imagery with seamless edits control the flow of this crazy trip and has your head buzzing for more whilst finishing. There is a definite side-effect after watching EDM 80000v, your brain starts to crave for more until it's satisfied with the next viewing. It's like that Lay's commercial, "Bet ya just can't eat one!", in this case "Bet ya just can't watch this just once!"
My choice of guitar, or should I say viewing material was the original Japanese DVD release from Pioneer. This special edition continues the high octane provided by the movie itself. Jam packed with extras, the only problem being no English subtitles. No problem, the countless amount of features such as trailers, behind the scenes, frame by frame presentation and my favorite, the diary presentation from the film's various premieres around Japan are still highly entertaining regardless. This dvd also provides DTS surround sound, and believe me this is the only way to watch this film. Without the DTS, there's just no justice done. Letterbox 16:9 and very sharp picture wise. This a must for any Japanese or Asian cinema fan.
Story-4 Bitch Slaps
Picture/Audio-5 Bitch Slaps
Extras-4 (would be 5 if there were subs)
Overall DVD-4 Bitch Slaps