Written by: Michael Den Boer on June 26th, 2006
Theatrical Release Date: Japan, 1982
Directors: Sogo Ishii
Cast: Michirou Endo, Shigeru Izumiya, Takanori Jinnai, Shigeru Muroi, Shinya Ohe, Mayumi Ômura, Umanosuke Ueda, Machizo Machida
The Bands: The Stalin, The Roosters, Battle Rockers, Inu
DVD released: June 27th, 2006
Approximate running time: 116 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono Japanese
DVD Release: Discotek Media
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $24.95
Synopsis: In the near future Tokyo has become a desolate wasteland that has been overrun by street gangs. The Yakuza long for the old days when were a force to be reckoned with. They decided to destroy what is left of Tokyo and build it again from scratch.
Burst City immediately pulls you in with Sogo Ishii’s in your face direction and kenotic editing that predates many of the editing techniques that would become the staple of many music videos. The plot while thin doesn’t really get going tell almost thirty minutes into the film and patience is must since what follows is well worth the wait.
The punk rockers in the film are without a doubt anti establishment and society only see them as trouble makers. Ironically the Yakuza are the upstanding citizens in the film as they want to see Tokyo return to its former glory. While the punks are happy with the way things are.
There is fare share of violence in Burst City with the most disturbing bits involving S&M. The performances while not fleshed out are all really good and more then convincing in their raw intensity. Burst City’s soundtrack is the glue that holds everything together as it sets the mood and pace of the film. The concert clips are some of the best moments in the film. Overall Burst City is a powerful piece of filmmaking that has left its undeniable mark on many Japanese filmmakers’ and their films that follow in its wake.
Burst City is presented in an anamorphic widescreen which preserves the films original aspect ratio. Besides being shot in color and black & white various films stocks have been used through out the film with some of the offering heavier grain or lack of detail. There are no problems with compression or edge enhancement. During darker scenes some of background details lack the same clarity present in the rest of the film. Overall this transfer looks nearly flawless considering the films low budget origins.
This release comes with one audio option the films original Japanese language track which is presented in a Dolby Digital mono. The audio is razor sharp and it is best played loud to fully appreciate the films excellent sound track. English subtitles that are easy to read and follow have been included.
Extras for this release include an extensive stills gallery and trailers for Burst City, Electric Dragon 80,000 Volts and Zero Woman: Red Handcuffs. Other extras include three text pieces “Background on Burst City”, “Soundtrack Lyrics” and “About Se Saw”. All three are well written pieces that give fans of this film more info about its creation and the music included in the film. The best section is by far the one titled “Soundtrack Lyrics” which includes lyrics for all the songs included on the sound track except one which the band asked to have the lyrics not included. The final extra comes in the form of Liner notes about the film that were written by Tom Mes and they can be found in the DVD insert included with this release.
Discotek has also elected to release this film with an outer slip case that slide over the DVD keep case. The outer slip case comes with different cover art then the keep cases front cover. Overall Discotek gives Burst City its North American debut via their exceptional special edition DVD, highly recommended.