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Tetsuo: The Bullet Man - IFC Midnight - DVD Print E-mail
User Rating: / 2
Written by Jay Creepy   
Monday, 12 June 2017
Severed Cinema review of Tetsuo: The Bullet Man on DVD from IFC Midnight


AKA: Tetsuo III: The Bullet Man, Tetsuo Project, Tetsuo: O Homem Bala, The Bullet Man, Tetsuo: O anthroropos sfaira, Тэцуо: Человек-пуля, Tetsuo: The Bulletman.

Directed by: Shinya Tsukamoto
Written by: Shinya Tsukamoto, Hisakatsu Kuroki
Produced by: Shinya Tsukamoto, Shinichi Kawahara, Masayuki Tanishima
Cinematography by: Satoshi Hayashi, Shinya Tsukamoto, Takayuki Shida
Editing by: Shinya Tsukamoto, Yuji Ambe
Special Effects by: Shinya Tsukamoto, Masaya Kitada
Music by: Chu Ishikawa, Nine Inch Nails
Cast: Eric Bossick, Akiko Mono, Stephen Sarrazin, Shinya Tsukamoto, Mike Duncan
Year: 2009
Country: Japan
Language: English
Color: B/W, Color
Runtime: 1h 12 min

Distribution: IFC Midnight

Aye, Japanese films have always pushed the boundaries, as has the pop culture and the pornographic culture. Maybe there's still a few people who consider Japan and their movies as simply, Godzilla, Red Angel and Seven Samurai. I doubt it because near enough every cult film lover has come across Takashi Miike and his glorious wet display of flicks. Audition and Visitor Q, amongst others, began a landslide of discovery for many viewers as Tartan and more video/DVD labels pumped out one after another onto a hungry market. Similar to when John Woo and Samo Hung were 'discovered' by a lot of the world.

Like any bombardment, there's always a beginning which pre-dates the first explosion. Before all of this, those geeky ladies and gents in the knowledge of cult city, who exchanged tapes and read magazines found a cheeky and totally jaw dropping film in the late ‘80s or early ‘90s, depending how fast you were, called Tetsuo. Black and white, full of fast MTV visuals, loud industrial music, in yer face good and bad stop motion, all telling the simple tale of how, if you put enough metal inside your body you will become a machine like cyborg with a drill for a cock! Plus you have to deal with a metal fetish lover. Yep. And it was ahead of anything else on the market at the time.

Director, writer, producer, editor, actor and so on, one man army, Shinya Tsukamoto, followed this breathless manic vision with a loose sequel, Tetsuo: Body Hammer, a couple of years later. In colour, with the same extreme invasion of the senses. The budget was bigger and the man/monster/machine quite simply fantastic, as two metal weapon body brothers collide after many years. The fan base loved it as much as the first!

Following with titles like the gloriously erotic, A Snake in June, and the action drama, Tokyo Fist, it wouldn't be until 2009 that the third and, so far, the last, Tetsuo movie emerged. Now this time, not so many people rated it. Had it been too long since part 2? Or did he take it all a bit too far?

I've had the DVD in my collection for around four years now, unwatched, so I figured, since I love the first two, I'd have a gander with a clear head and see what's happening. It has been a long time since I have entered Shinya's realms.

Tetsuo: The Bullet Man is the same style with a loud industrial mayhem of a soundtrack and the film has a kind of black and white sepia touch. For a long time we observe a body horror nightmare suffered by our central character, Anthony. He wakes up beside his son, whilst his wife sits in a separate room. Ahh, everyone speaks English this time around, which robs some of the atmosphere of the others, somehow. “He turned into something black and dark and attacked me.” she says. She is clearly shell shocked by a ruthless dream herself.

Soon after, his son, Tom, is run over by an unseen driver. He doesn't just run over Tom, he revs his engine whilst on top of him, moves the car back and forth as the child screams below. Anthony reaches the now empty car as his son's blood runs out along the road. The blood has a lot of smoke and steam similar to his own we witnessed earlier as he cut his finger in a brief scene. He hears clanging banging machines in his mind. He's in a rock video frenzy as static and water and shadows dance (at one point it looks like a Korn video) Like Tetsuo II, his child's death is obviously triggering a transformation -- which goes a bit too long. Suddenly the film title onslaughts its way on screen. Whoa, epileptics and anyone with a nervous disorder caused by loud bangs should not view this one.

In the aftermath, Anthony and Yukiro are like zombies. He has shut down his emotions, she is prone to anger. As he walks the busy streets, the camera runs around fast closing the crowds around him like a fleshy fist. His face remains dead. Down a back street, whilst looking at a photo of Tom, he hallucinates a man kicking a wall until his ankle breaks, and his own hand made of metal.

I can't forgive. I can't move on.” he tells his father, who says, “Anthony, please don't think of revenge.” It falls on deaf ears. His Dad seems to know something, and fears what is coming. Both he and his wife are thinking of revenge. Alone in the bathroom, Anthony vomits blood and his body jerks around. Something is splitting the side of his face open. Quite unexpected and out of the blue, a chubby bloke wearing a cap fires a silencer through the front door, hitting Anthony’s shoulder. Our man escapes upstairs, in pain and confusion. The fella casually follows, blasting Anthony through the face. “Request immediate disposal. The informant was right.” says the gunman as he walks away on the phone. A sinister pair of shoes and legs appear in the doorway.

Dead already.” the stranger seems surprised looking at Anthony's corpse. He states it was he who ran Tom over. As he returns to his car, a far more changed Anthony dives onto the bonnet. He goes ballistic whilst the man stares rather calmly on. His team of gunmen watch and report, as the camera goes wild and gives the viewer a brain melting headache!! He can shoot guns from his body which totals the vehicle. Back home, glaring in revulsion at his reflection, Anthony receives a phone call: “Welcome to your new life. I hope you enjoy it.” The stranger claims to have stumbled on Anthony’s dark secret and wanted to yank it out of him into the open. Afterwards he gets a video message: “Tetsu. Tetsuo.” The video message continues welcoming him to the cult like group with blurred overkill images flashing about.

Venturing deeper into his new reality, Anthony now wearing a metal half-face, finds that his Mother and Father were part of something called the Tetsuo Project. It is the creation of artificial bodies. With that came fierce powers. His Father's notes explain his Mother's death and how Anthony features in the Tetsuo Project.

Next a SWAT arrive to kill him and his wife. However, their bullets do nothing but piss him off. The more they empty bullets into him, the more he grows into a massive nest of guns himself. He decimates all the soldiers, very quickly accompanied by wobble-cam vision. The stranger waits for survivors and kills them himself. He is the informant.

His wife pleads with a transformed Anthony. He tries to kill himself, but his body simply won't let that happen. “I can't even kill myself!” She tries smacking some sense into him, then hugs him to calm him down. Soon his Father arrives to fill in the blanks for both of them. What he adds onto the end is how, if Anthony's anger gets out of control, the weapon will be far too much.

This war isn't over ‘til I kill him!” Anthony tells Yukiro. She drops the bombshell of how she is pregnant and doesn't want him to kill more. He is scared the baby will have his genetics. She disagrees. They are halted by the arrival of the stranger, determined to slaughter them.

I can see why Tetsuo III found itself wallowing in a pool desperate to be liked by most. Too many fast and blurred scenes spoil this one. It feels like it is trying too hard to have a story but is simply a basic remake of Tetsuo II. Take away the stupid flashing and buggering about being over-the-top camera work and snappy editing, Tetsuo: The Bullet Man is an interesting, but not very remarkable follow-up. For the most part it does hark back to Tetsuo's promo vid raw punk feel, but it's not very deep elsewhere. Compared to the other two, the ending is a bit more upbeat, but feels somewhat like a commercial sell-out after all which has happened before, plus the grand showdown isn't so grand, more a stare down and grab.

The model work and make-up ranges from the insane, to clear zips on the 'metal' to the finale machine man as Anthony lets his anger take over, looking a bit like Michael Bay's Transformers. There's a few spots of CGI gore, which isn't too distracting since they happen while the camera crew are having convulsions whilst shooting the scenes anyway. Meanwhile, Erick Bossick as Anthony does okay in his role, which is mostly a routine of blank-faced stares and screaming. Shinya himself is billed as The Guy, a.k.a. the Informant, the Stranger, whatever. He's rather blank in this as well. Top marks to Akiko Mono who handles her material the best. Channelling anger, grief, desperation, and finally love.

IFC Midnight's DVD comes with a trailer for the film, plus a handful of promo trailers for others.





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 Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1, 16x9
 Region: NTSC R1
 Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1

 – Trailer


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