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Tetsuo The Bullet Man May 31, 2010

Posted by oldboy in : Cinema, Asian Cinema , add a comment

The Third Tetsuo Movie to be released following the original “Tetsuo The Iron Man” (1989) and “Tetsuo II Body Hammer” (1992). The first film was an underground cult hit, a cult of which I’d like to proudly say I am part of. By constantly exposing oneself to as many movies as possible you sometimes find something unexpected that leaps out at you and takes hold of your mind. Tetsuo is the kind of movie that is more likely to melt your mind. It’s not for the timid or your normal movie going fan but for those of us who get it. We go nuts for this.

The third film had been rumored about for a few years and was more of a pipe dream than anything else. An American version was banded about with Tarantino involved some way, possibly as a producer or co-director but the predicted budget of the film would be too high for the concept they had in mind. Tsukamoto decided on bringing the film back to it’s roots in Tokyo. Nothing was heard and then in 2009 while Tsukamoto was promoting his upcoming film “Bullet Man” he announced it was going to be the next Tetsuo film.

The Tetsuo films have always been like a painting in motion. The film shies away from modern effects and continues in the fashion of stop-motion animation and prosthetics but lacking the S&M scenes found in the first movie. Electric drill anyone? The character of Tetsuo most certainly has attributes of Tetsuo from “Akira” (Manga). Both Cyberpunk films were released a year apart. Both characters go through similar transformations becoming uncontrollable weapons of destruction. The bullet man is the first Tetsuo movie that starts to move away from the artistic, visual side. There’s more dialogue for one thing, it starts to become more explanatory which can be explained by the fact that it’s shot in English in America and might be aimed towards western audiences more.It probably reveals too much, not leaving a mystery so much to ponder over.

I don’t know if I would call this a sequel, more like a retelling as Tetsuo II was of the original movie. What links these is the same character that tries to instigate the creation of the weapon/machine.This time we get more backstory of Tetsuo’s orgins, actually going as far as to explain the how and why of his creation. That of Artificial life. It may come as a strange concidence that at the time of writing this scientists have created a synthetic genome that can self-replicate, how we will measure or use this new “artifical life” remains to be seen in our world but “The bullet man” may be one view of how things might turn out. Do we learn about this new life or do we turn it into our wants and needs?

I don’t think the film entirely succeeds in it’s desires as a sequel but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t want to see another one. But how often are we going to rehash this story? There’s a possible hint at the end of a sequel “you don’t know what I’ll do inside you” but if there is a sequel I imagine it might be reset once more.
The actor who becomes Tetsuo this time is Eric Bossick, a video game voice artist and that shines through here. I think there is little emotion in his voice and it’s rather bland. Suited to video games but not for a movie. The voice seems detached from the actual character. I don’t think it’s a casting choice that would attract western audiences. He certainly has the ‘look’, rather plain undefined and clear features almost looking half Japanese. The dialogue itself here isn’t so much the problem, it’s the delivery of the lines, sounding unnatural and spoken as if it were being read from the script.

The soundtrack: Nine Inch Nails provide an excellent theme for this movie. Chu Ishikawa also returns to provide a classic opening Tetsuo theme.

The Cinema: I went to view the movie at Cinema rise, the style of that place certainly seems fitting to watch such a movie.

Favorite Quote: “You don’t know what i’ll do inside you” - The Guy

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