|Plot Outline: As a child “Dragon eye” Morrison was accidentally electrocuted while hanging on to an electrical tower. The shock from the electricity caused the part of his brain that helps to control emotions and acts of desire, to stop functioning. Now the only thing that can help him keep it together is playing his electric guitar (from which he conducts electricity). As Morrison lives out his days working as a pet detective hunting for reptiles, Thunderbolt Buddha (A man with half a golden Buddha head and half a normal head) decides to make “Dragon Eye” Morrison his enemy. When everything comes to a head, the two men will have to do battle!|
The Review: How does one begin to persuade others to see a film like this? That’s basically the job of a ‘reviewer’ isn’t it? To let other people know what films they should check out and what they should avoid. The only problem with Electric Dragon 80,000 V. (ED8V) is it’s not the kind of film you can just recommend for others to see. I think it takes a certain type of person to truly appreciate the film. I’ll just get the things that should scare people away first, then if you’re still around afterward you can contemplate whether it’s something you should see. For one, there’s basically no story to ED8V. The little plot that is here is only there so the film can actually have an opening and ending. The film has very little dialogue. Tadanobu Asano, the star of the film, probably only has seven lines throughout the whole film. The soundtrack is another thing that might scare some away, it’s made up of industrial and punk music that should blare as loud as possible. When the film was shown in theaters, the director made them turn the volume up as loud as it would go, thus killing dozens of people’s ear drums. The film is in complete black and white, and the film only has a 54 minute run time… that’s about it. If you think it sounds interesting and seems like something you might enjoy, see it now!
I first saw ED8V about a year or so ago. I don’t know why I picked it up, I had no idea what it was about and I only heard a short synopsis, but I guess my love for weird stuff just kind of took hold of me. Now I tell you this, I can’t think of one other film that has had the influence on my sense of style that ED8V has. It’s opened my eyes to so much. Like how powerful and important a film’s score can be, and what can be accomplished when a film has only one care: style. That’s what ED8V is about. Style and style alone. Sure, there might be some deeper issues lying in there somewhere, but ED8V stands as one of the most stylish lo-fi films ever made. There’s no complex camera angles or lush colors, the film has a beaten down and gritty look to it thanks to the black & white colors. What makes the film so spectacular to watch is the intense editing and the audio and visual. It’s a film tour de force in my opinion.
Of course, as I’ve tried my best to make it abundantly clear, the film just isn’t for everyone. It’s best to just look at the film as one large experiment by the director. He made this film with Asano and Nagase as they were all working on their other film Gojoe. I imagine they just hit the town on weekends, shooting whatever they could, then Sogo Ishii got in the editing chair and mixed it all up. That’s what’s so great about Japan right now. They’re taking chances that no other region is daring take. In my eyes, I think Japan has elevated cinema as a whole. ED8V is just another stepping stone among the many brilliant films released in the past ten years or so.
The only other thing I can comment on is Tadanobu Asano, but I don’t think I have to. I made a paragraph about him in my review for Shark Skin Man and Peach Hip Girl, and I think I made my case there. The man is a genius, pure and simple. Anyway, ED8V is a mad scientists experiment gone wrong. The film is exciting, but nothing happens. It’s beautiful, but grimy and gritty. It’s like a comic book, but is missing the story. The film defies all explanation and logic. If you’re up for something avante garde and something truly unique, Electric Dragon 80,000 V. is for you.