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Home | Film Reviews | Asian Reviews | Film Review: Tetsuo: The Bullet Man (2009)

Film Review: Tetsuo: The Bullet Man (2009)

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An American named Anthony is living and working in Tokyo and married to a Japanese woman. When their son is killed by the same driver who creates the Tetsuos in previous films, he makes the transformation into Tetsuo


An assault on your senses… this was the first and presiding thought that came over me as I dug into Shinya Tsukamoto’s latest and long awaited follow up to the Tetsuo lineage. Though I only mean that in the most satisfying bizarre cyber punk gone techno way. Shinya Tsukamoto first introduced his brand of mind sensitizing visions in his first release with the subtitle of Iron man. Now several years later we return to the them with a brand new set of tools and visuals at his disposal. To try and consume his works like a walk thru the park is not recommended. You have to almost leave your body and take in the sounds, the imagery and the premise that is combined like industrial strength glue. Yes, there’s no getting away from the industrial edge, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. While we take in the rather fragmented story, there is also no denying the powerful mix of sounds that attack you at every moment. In fact, fans may find themselves transported alone by the rather hip industrial fueled soundtrack mix. This film also features a special theme track contributed and composed by Trent Reznor himself. NIN may have not been a alternative back in the early days but its certainly has come full circle with this special treat.

Anthony (Eric Bossick) in some bizarre mishap, watches as his son is murdered in front of him per an enigmatic car one night. The howl experience is further strangened as the car emits some sort of oily goop that proceeds to transfer Anthony into psychedelic mode. Now, don’t ask me how, but somehow this experience begins a transformation of a machine and man that combines his human DNA with a industrial metal. (we learn the reason later)

When Antony starts to resemble more metal than man, he begins to seek out answers. Answers that reveal a government covert project that his father abandoned long ago. The project is called Tetsuo. We get the sense of an early tinkering with the phenomena of man and machine mixed into an organic way. Though this has now carried forward into his son many years later. We also learn that Anthony has part android DNA from a rash decision by his father to restore his mother per way of android herslef.This transformation is a threat to the organization who first dreamed of a weapon usage but now has to destroy its legacy.Soon Anthony has become a full fledged robot man that gets stronger with anger.

I had very high hopes for this one film from it start, but I can’t say that it progressed in the same fantastical way that its former films have. In fact, it becomes so disjointed and kinetic to watch that one will most certainly leave the viewing with a headache and a vague understanding of what they just watched. One thing that I was a fan of from the first film, was the incredible display of stop motion usage and progressions. This approach and the ever evolving machine man spectacles were left out of Bullet man making it’s last act somewhat lethargically difficult to watch. There is a final confrontation, but it’s not in the former vein of what we are used to. Some of the logic, the revelations of android is lost in the transition a bit in what ultimately turns out to be more of an art film. There is no denying Shinya Tsukamoto’s genius though that genius may fall short when it comes to consumer grabbing appeal. “Tetsuo: The Bullet Man” is a bold attempt that falls short of expectations. It has incredible high points, don’t get me wrong. but its also a required taste.Great soundtrack, great editing….too much to watch and not enough detail leaves this recommendation on the fence.

Tetsuo – The Bullet Man (2010)

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