Jan 6, 2009

Electric Dragon 80000V

Electric Dragon 80000V is a fun Japanese cyberpunkish film that I have been enjoying more with each subsequent viewing. The film follows a reptile investigator named Dragon Eye Morrison who has an unhealthy obsession with both lizards and guitars. It seems that Electric Dragon 80000V director Sogo Ishii has an odd and “lost in translation” obsession with American rock group The Doors and Jim Morrison. Whatever Ishii’s interpretation of The Doors meant, he was able to make an entertaining and unique film filled of obsession with electricity, guitar solos, lizards, and respectable archenemies.

Dragon Eye Morrison does some heavy shredding on guitar producing an unrelenting storm of electric guitar noise. Morrison plays live performances for himself in his apparent and on public bridges in the middle of the day in a city. He had a little accident with some power lines as a kid and now unleashes his electricity in the form of Japanese punk noise. Dragon Eye Morrison is also known to do some ass kicking as the reptilian part of his brain loves violence. Only a deranged former TV repairman named Thunderbolt Buddha is any match.

The antagonist relationship between Dragon Eye Morrison and his mysterious enemy Thunderbolt Buddha borders on the homoerotic. Thunderbolt Buddha seems to have an envious respect for Morrison that results in confrontation. Thunderbolt Buddha cuts up Morrison’s precious sleek guitar and kills his homeless lizards. Angry as a Hiroshima atom bomb victim, Morrison speeds over to Buddha like a wave of chaotic electricity. Upon meeting Dragon Eye Morrison he says, “Why did you make me mad?!” Thunderbolt Buddha simply and ingeniously responds to Morrison with, “I wanted to see you angry.” Naturally, the two supernatural dudes battle it out. When the battle finally ends, only Morrison is left standing in front of Buddha’s mask which has “see you around” written on it. That is what I a call gentleman’s fight.

I was given a DVD copy of Electric Dragon 80000V by a very dear lady. She also happened to watch the film with me and was immediately offended by it. She could not believe that a Japanese man could act like he was so cool while he was strumming his guitar. To say the least, she had a complete and utter desire to beat up Dragon Eye Morrison. In all honesty, upon first watching Electric Dragon 80000V it can be too unintentionally funny. It doesn’t take long however to realize that the film is beautifully shot, sleekly edited, original, and full of life. That’s a lot more than I can say than about the majority of recent films I have seen.

-Ty E

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