The press for CRAZY THUNDER ROAD has run pretty much as I would have expected. ‘Hailed as Japan’s Mad Max’, reads one, ‘Japans MAD MAX’ reads another and ‘The inspiration for AKIRA’ reads another. All three of these writers are right, in their way. Post apocalypse cinema was often in vogue in the later 70s and into the early 80s. From Italian actions like THE BRONX WARRIORS, to American films like ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK. Sogo Ishii’s film has a lot of things on its side. It could be suggested as one of many films that inspired a move toward the video techniques of the future MTV. Sifting through the 70s harder filmic language to the more brass and bolder fast cuts, hard punches and explosive action.

Ken (Koji Nanjo) wants to take it all and move on. He is a gang leader who has been slowly dreaming of a better life. The reason is love. He and his girlfriend Noriko want to live outside of the casual beatings and horrors of crime. Jin (Tatsuo Yamada), wants to be Ken’s successor. He has a lust for blood and power, he also isnt interested in the yakuza kingpins or right-wing nutjobs muscling in on his patch. Will Jin’s violent desire to be the number one, allow him to take over smoothly or will blood and bones be spilled to solve the problem?

CRAZY THUNDER ROAD is most definitely a belter for film fans and genre junkies. With as much high-octane action as the best of the post apocalyptic films. It was one of Japan’s real success stories, which perversely also introduced the rabid 80s individualism to the world. At its best, CRAZY THUNDER ROAD is a spectacular assault on the screen. Dripping with so much energy that the screen fizzes. Rebellious in equal measure to being dynamic, the most potent parts of the film are the action sequences. They are framed, cut and fulfil their promise and our expectations.


Jasper Sharp on Jishu Eiga gives us a very schooled introduction to the director and his work. It might be small in time but it is very fact filled and masterly. Tom Mes commentary on the other hand is more broad in scope and discusses a tranche of valuable, if not sometimes divergent, points about the genre, the film and its very place in our cinematic world.


New master approved by the director
New interview with Gakuryu (Sogo) Ishii
Audio commentary by Tom Mes
Video Essay: Jasper Sharp on Jishu Eiga

Director: Sogo Ishii

Cast: Yamada Tatsuo, Ebisudani Hiroshi, Ooike Masamitsu, Nakajina Yosuke

Language: Japanese with English subtitles

Genre: Action, Punk

Year: 1980

Certification: 15

Runtime: 97 minutes + Bonus

Region: B

About The Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.