Burst City (1982)

Burst City (1982)
  • 560
  • Genre: Action
  • Release year: 1982 ()
  • Running time: 115 min
  • Original Title: Bakuretsu toshi
  • Voted: 560

Punk rock gangs and music groups clash with one another and the brutal police force in a futuristic Tokyo setting.

  • Cyberpunk Pioneer by 2

    I'd like to start this comment section by first off saying I do enjoy and appreciate to a certain extent the cinematic agenda of "cyberpunk cinema". I really enjoyed Fukui's "Rubber's Lover" and I appreciate the aesthetic genius of films like "Tetsuo", "Pinocchio 964", even the recent "Bottled Fools". But with that said and done, that is basically what all these films are, simply aesthetically pleasing. That statement reaches its height with this earlier film called Burst City by cyberpunk pioneer Sogo Ishii. With so clever, innovative and kinetic cinematography Ishii just creates a clash between Mad Max and Rock n Roll High School. There is no substance to this style, not even some of the obscure images that one may be used to from seeing Tsukamoto's earlier films. And actually in some ways, Burst City's style obstructs the viewer from any type of cohesion so what ensues is total anarchy. I was really excited about seeing this early film from Ishii too because I first really enjoyed the psychological thriller "Angel Dust" and then came to enjoy his return to form in "Dead End Run" but "Burst City" turned out to be a major disappointment.

  • A cinematic punk rock manifesto!!! by 10

    Without the work of Sogo Ishii there would be no Takashi Miike or Shinya Tsukamoto. That becomes quite clear in the opening minutes of BURST CITY. The hyper-kinetic beginning of the film with its lightning fast editing and violent images together with the use of music were obvious influences on Miike's DEAD OR ALIVE and BLUES HARP as well as a number of other films. And the camera-work, use of black and white photography and cyberpunk imagery were later recycled in Tsukamoto's TETSUO films as well as SNAKE OF JUNE.

    BURST CITY is essentially a feature length punk rock music clip. The film is set in a kind of post-apocalyptic Japan where everyone is a punk, a freak or a brutal cop. There are non-stop riots in the streets, non-stop punk concerts, non-stop gang warfare, non-stop police brutality and non-stop car chases. This film is one hell of a wild ride and it left me feeling spun. The soundtrack is made up entirely of awesome Japanese punk rock and fits the images perfectly.

    BURST CITY is powerful, frenetic, feral, rabid cinema that feels like a transmission from the gutter of the future.

  • A hyperkinetic punk film of intensity by 10

    A shame few will get the chance to see this movie. It was suggested to me as a Japanese Death Race 2000. Oh, but it is so much more. A dystopian future against a backdrop of angry Japanese punk rock. Burst City is a raw look at an overamped society with its frantic, hyper camera work and loud brash music. As a fictional peek into punk rock, Burst City is still leaps and bounds above any other attempts. Well worth the look. Be prepared to search, however, and I don't believe there is a subtitled or dubbed version in existence. This is a shame as the film deserves greater exposure.

  • Crap City ? by 1

    I have seen a lot of Japanese Movies, and this must have been one of the worst i have seen in all those years. The Punk Music might be appealing to some people, but the rest of the film is awful. The so called Camera-work looks like they just ran around with the Cam, the "violent" scenes some People liked are cut fast and filmed with an extremely unsteady Camera so you don't see anything at all. Weird Gangs fighting each other makes it looks like an extremely cheap "The Riffs" aka "Bronx Warriors" RipOff, which was originally released 1982 as well. All in all the movie just was a mix of pointless and bad fights, mixed with punk music... Even for a giant Musicvideo the Visuals are extremely bad. Don't let yourself fool you by People how compare this to work by Miike or Kitano, because even their worst movies look like Oscar-winners compared to this waste of material.

  • This is a really really strange movie but I find its enthusiasm kind of endearing. by 9

    The premise of the story is vague and there seems to be a couple different plot lines. First, a pimp and one of his girls are trying to get out of the slums. He pimps her out to a crime boss whose into S&M. That boss and his syndicate are trying to destroy the slums in a crooked construction scheme. For labor, the syndicate enslaves the city's population of mentally disabled homeless. Meanwhile, two rival gangs/bands drag race, fight, and crash each other's gigs to dominate the punk rock scene. The rivals are also fighting against the police because, well, you know, it's the police.

    Burst City uses a lot of shaky hand-held camera-work. Not because they were going for some aesthetic effect but because it's cheap. In much the same way, there is an overall lack of lighting. Burst City jumps between plot lines and characters spending little time establishing either. The combination results in a movie that has the potential to be very confusing, if not incoherent.

    In all honesty, I've seen this one and a half times. A few years ago, I attempted to watch it but I was too sleepy. I couldn't concentrate. This time I watched it on a flight from Baton Rouge to Lincoln. Unfortunately, I was a little sleepy this time too. I zoned out for just a minute and when I zoned back in, some character (I didn't know who) was killed (somehow) by someone (probably the syndicate) and, in response, the two rival gangs started fighting each other. The character was never mentioned again so I don't think it was that important.

    "80's Japanese Sci-fi Punk Rock Musical, need I say more?" I wanted that to be my bottom line but I thought it might be a little misleading. Sometimes it can be fun to get together with some friends, get some pizza, and put on a low budget movie. But when you do that, you ought to choose a movie that is easy to watch. After all, the focus is hanging out with friends. This won't work if you try it with Burst City. It may just be a little too much to simply throw on the TV. That said, I give it a 4.5/5 because of its spirit.

    From what I've read, Burst City was created by a couple punk bands who wanted to put out a movie featuring their music. The film's potential shortcomings are necessary evils when you consider this motivation. They didn't have the budget for smooth sophisticated cinematography or lighting but so what? They wanted to make a movie and they did it. It also helps that the music is awesome.

    After watching this movie, I got into a punk rock mood so I re-watched the big budget, mainstream, Brass Knuckle Boys which is about a punk band from the 80's reuniting and rediscovering punk. Speaking of Brass Knuckle Boys, looking over my posts, it seems I never wrote a review about it. I will post that soon as well. Anyway, I am working on a post the compares and contrasts the depiction of punk rock in Burst City and Brass Knuckle Boys. In the meantime, I would recommend Burst City particularly if you are a fan of punk rock; it is a cool movie.

1Gakuryû Ishiidirector
2Hiroshi Kobayashiproducer
3Jûgatsu Toiwriter