What is Cyberpunk? The concept can be traced back to 1927’s Metropolis, and even further than that. It is usually associated with high technology and low lives with advanced science themes. It deals with the corruption of artificial intelligence and how loners handle their dystopic settings. Cyberpunk asks the question, what would happen if man’s creations became too much and rebelled? What if beings from other planets were more powerful and capable than us?
(Warner Bros, 1982, all rights reserved.)
Blade Runner (1982)
★★★★★ out of five
A precursor and one of the main pioneers to the cyberpunk genre. Based on the 1968 novel, Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?, it’s set the far distant future of 2019 in Los Angeles, California. Genetically engineered replicates, that can’t be distinguished from regular humans, are created to do dangerous/illegal work around the city. Blade runners are set out in order to destroy the androids since they bring nothing but trouble. Its dark, shadowy, and hazy cinematography emits a nice ominous balance for the dystopian setting. The eerie soundtrack by Vangelis uses plenty of synthesizers to add on the retro-futuristic vibes. A must see for those curious about/or a fan of the cyberpunk genre.
(Sony Pictures, 2008, all rights reserved)
Tokyo Gore Police (2008)
★★★ out of five
Set in futuristic Tokyo, a scientist has found a way to create a virus that turns people into monstrous creatures that can grow machinery when they lose a limb. An outcast by the name of Ruka, who knows how to dispatch these creatures, agrees to help the police while also trying to figure out who assassinated her father years ago. It’s downright gross and absurd, and while you’re watching it you’ll be confused, but when it’s over you’ll have a feeling of “oh my God, I should watch that again.” It’s one of those films that it’s so bad, it’s an adventure. It’s directed by worldly renown special effects artist Yoshihiro Nishimura, who worked on the Japanese thrillers Suicide Club and Sion Sono. Warning: graphic self harm scenes
(Triangle Staff, 1998, all rights reserved.)
Serial Experiments Lain (1998)
★★★1/2 out of five
Not a movie, but still an interesting show if you love your mind being screwed. Lain is a young girl and an outcast to her family and peers. When a classmate of hers commits suicide, their spirit comes to her through her computer, telling her that they haven’t really died, but instead have “abandoned their flesh.” This person tries to contact Lain to obsessive amounts and begs her to join them in the internet world. The entire series is Lain slowly going psychotic and “being erased” from existence. The only downside to this series is that there’s just one season.
(British Lion Films, 1976, all rights reserved.)
The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976)
★★★★ out of five
Thomas Newton (David Bowie) is a humanoid alien that visits Earth to obtain water to bring home to his dying planet. He gets distracted and meets a reserved girl named Mary-Lou who introduces him to alcohol, sex, and many other Earth customs. He develops addictions and his relationship with Mary is strained. His identity is put on the line when someone figures out what he is and struggles to come clean to Mary-Lou. It’s based on the 1963 novel of the same name. While it didn’t do particularly well on its initial release, it has gained a huge cult status over the years, due to its visually striking imagery and of course the beautiful David Bowie.
(Toho, 1988, all rights reserved.)
★★★★1/2 out of five
Tetsuo Shima is a psychic teenage biker in Tokyo 2019. Akira is an imprisoned boy that developed God-like abilities when the government did awful experiments on him. Tetsuo wants to free Akira but the leader of his biker gang will do anything to prevent it. Thirty-one years earlier, the city is destroyed when World War III begins. When it is rebuilt, it is called Neo-Tokyo and now is an overpopulated industrial city. Akira is considered a huge landmark in Japanese anime and helped increased the popularity of it in America and the cyberpunk culture.
Be sure to grab the futuristic October issue of Kirameki, which I will be in giving more movie reviews of my top three Cyberpunk films from this list. It comes out October 15th! It’s always fun working with them.
P.S. I have been asked to be involved in a new little project that I will be participating in soon. More details next week!