Ishii (now known as Sogo Ishii) was born January 1958 in Hakata, Japan.
He is a film director and writer, often credited for introducing the
Cyberpunk Wave to Japanese Cinema with his BURST
CITY (1982). He also evolved into a major
award-winning director after releasing his surreal masterpiece LABYRINTH
OF DREAMS and the exceptional chambrara actioner GOJOE.
first of the following short films (PANIC IN THE HIGH
SCHOOL) was actually a high school project, shot in 1976
and helped him gain entrance into the prestigious Japan University as
a film student. He established an off-campus production annex called
Crazy Movie Society. There, Ishii and future-Nikkatsu director
Yukihiro Sawada began story-boarding a new film that would depict the
debilitating stress of college entrance exams. That project would become
the basis for Ishii's second short film (ISOLATION 1/880,000).
In tandem, during this time, he also reworked PANIC IN
THE HIGH SCHOOL into a full feature which would eventually find
graduation, Ishii went to work for Toei Studios where he fine-tuned
his craft and directed his early Cyberpunk movies. Between studio projects
he dabbled again with the short-film format, resulting in his third
project CODE NAME: ASIA STRIKES BACK (1983). The
fourth one came many years later, after Ishii befriended actor Tadanobu
Asano during the LABYRINTH
OF DREAMS shoot. In 1997, they formed
an industrial punk band called Mach 1.67 , playing
sporadic gigs and recording albums for the next ten years, while both
continued active schedules in the movie business. Their music served
as the soundtrack for ELECTRIC DRAGON 80,000 V.
The band would break up in late 2001. Asano had
become a major Japanese movie star (with the release of ICHI
THE KILLER, SURVIVE
STYLE 5+, VITAL,
et al) and simply no longer had time nor the ability to continue;
while Ishii - now in his early 60s - was forced to take a reprieve for
several years due to health issues.
PANIC IN THE HIGH SCHOOL
(1976) starring Masanobu Umezu
Here is the story
of an embarrassed student who decides to kill his overbearing teacher
and spread terror to the students, when he brings a rifle to his high
school. This short film (15 minutes) was shot when Sogo Ishii was a Senior
in his school. It stars fellow student Masanobu Umezu [in his only film].
also known as ONE DIVIDED BY 880,000 (1978)
starring Hidehiko Masaki ˇ Izumi Yamazaki ˇ Yumino Chikamatsu
but socially awkward boy has failed the college entrance test three times
and is preparing for his 4th [and final] attempt. But the stress is too
much to bear and he has become dangerously unhinged.
CODE NAME: ASIA STRIKES BACK
Japanese title AJIA NO GYAKUSHU (1983)
the bomb, four soldiers with extrasensory powers are sheltered in an underground
bunker where they continue training to expand their psychic abilities,
while fed information from their leader "K" via computer. Many
years later, when the transmissions stop, the four become restless. One
of them, Kic, wants to leave the bunker and fight the enemy above ground.
They finally open the shelter door to find...
Sogo Ishii plays a character named Brain in this short film (above pic,
LEFT). (30 minutes)
ELECTRIC DRAGON 80,000 V
(2001) starring Tadanobu
Asano and Masatoshi Nagase
Morrison was shocked by high voltage wires when he was young. This caused
his brain to activate the 'reptile' cells which are normally dormant in
humans. Whenever his anger mounts, he discharges electricity uncontrollably,
calmed only by playing his electric guitar. When he is challenged by (the
even stronger) Thunderbolt Buddha, all hell breaks loose in the city.
Besides the aforementioned Tadanobu Asano, this film features cult actor
Masatoshi Nagase, best known for the Japanese MIKE
HAMMER films, Seijun Suzuki's PISTOL
OPERA, and STEREO
FUTURE. (55 minutes)
collection of four Japanese short films on one extended DVD
with English subtitles; fullscreen format, 150 minutes),
DVD encoded for ALL REGION NTSC WORLD FORMAT
Recommended for Mature Audiences