A precursor of the Japanese underground cyberpunk movement of the late ‘70s to early ‘80s, Ishii Gakuryū (formerly known as Ishii Sōgo), established a dynamic scream of a cinematic voice in BURST CITY (1982), an insanely energetic, action-packed, post-apocalyptic film about rival biker gangs in Tokyo. This film not only mixes the director's attraction for all things industrial, hardcore and punk rock, but also was a benchmark film that inspired then-young directors such as Shinya Tsukamoto and Takashi Miike.
Another seminal film in his post-apocalyptic punk rock oeuvre is ELECTRIC DRAGON 80.000V starring young bucks Masatoshi Nagase as Thunderbolt Buddha and Tadanobu Asano as Dragon Eye Morrison, electricity-wielding urban warriors who compete for power, and featuring one of the most electrifying and stimulating soundtracks ever.
Then, Ishii just disappeared from the scene and took a long hiatus. But fans can rejoice again as he has re-emerged and delved into the punk rock tropes of his most famous films with his latest, THAT’S IT. Specifically inspired by J-rock band Bloodthirsty Butchers’ 1999 song, “Soredake,” the film stars Shota Sometani (who is this generation’s Tadanobu Asano), Erina Mizuno and Go Ayano, and focuses on a young hoodlum who tries to escape from his miserable life by stealing gold but accidentally ends up acquiring valuable information, thus infuriating a powerful underworld organization.
Already pushing 60 years old, THAT’S IT shows little sign of the director slowing down. Instead, he’s embraced his punk rock aesthetic of BURST CITY and ELECTRIC DRAGON 80.000V, as well as other classics like CRAZY THUNDER ROAD and SHUFFLE. THAT’S IT is a kinetic, cinematic fever dream full of sound and fury!
— Anderson Le