Burst City has been described as a cross between Mad Max and a punk rock concert film.
There’s something to that description, but it’s hardly adequate. Nor do the claims that it is little more than a series of musical performances with hardly anything to connect them do much justice to the film.
Yes, it starts that way, assaulting the audience with with random bursts of seemingly unrelated film. In fact, it continues to do so throughout most of its nearly two-hour running time, deluging us with car races, bands fighting each other on stage for control of their instruments, violence, murder, corporate intrigue and routine clashes with the police. But somewhere along the line a surprisingly cogent plot emerges from the chaos – at about the same time that it descends into an all-out war between the punk denizens of Burst city,the corporate goons and the police.
Perhaps my favorite little touch is that the members of the band, who strut about on stage with almost god-like confidence, are almost incapable of holding down the simplest jobs in the real world.
While I prefer Sogo Ishii’s later film, Electric Dragon 80,000 V, Burst City ultimately delivers a wild explosion of cinematic thrills. If you’re patient enough, at least.
Oh, and you’ve gotta love those white, Stormtrooper-style riot police with the rocket launchers.