Dec 1, 2010

Tetsuo: The Bullet Man

The finished product of Tetsuo: The Bullet Man seems to be up in the air for viewers and fans of the original groundbreaking Japanese film. Some see it as a rehash of the original with newborn steel while general consensus sees if as it really is; uninspired, contrived, ultimately a dismal failure on all planes of production. Only in the last 15 minutes does this 80 minute kindergarten class for expired surrealism repay the incredible support given to Tsukamoto by the arthouse collective. Touted and sickly spread as being canon to only the first film, these ideologies of Raimi's whiteboard-wipe Evil Dead II tactic are fruitless pleas to direct attention to something undeserving of the most trivial festival award. Bullet Man is no more a continuation to Iron Man as Halloween III: Season of the Witch is to the Carpenter original. Taking chunk sectors of Body Hammer and expanding them vicariously, all to an ill effect, is the crime guilty of severe punishment. The Tetsuo condition worked amply enough as a spiritual and physical possession, not some traced cliche of a government funded scientific project, and that is the core concept in a new metal shell.

White scientist uses an attractive assistant to the Tetsuo Project, little does she know she is associating in the creation and corruption of genome into a biological weapon. Sort of like the Guyver except nowhere near as cool. A generation later, salaryman reborn but married to a Japanese hypochondriac who prophetically suffers from dreams of their son being murdered. He then is. Rather than stocking up on wholesale sympathy as Tsuakmoto should have done to somewhat give the story emotional padding, Tsuakmoto breaks out neo-romance as utilized in Tokyo Fist and to a similar degree, the wife becomes disgusted with Anthony's weak visage and attempts to impart her own vengeance on her son's mysterious murderer. Cue in Tsukamoto's reprisal of The Guy. Only in these scenes does something of a clout situate the steady leak Bullet Man suffers from since the show start. The Guy is as aimless as ever. In Iron Man, a purpose was served and punishment was carried out. Post-Iron Man, be that as it may, marks the feminization of metal and homoeroticism void. Too bad Shinya had to tuck his yellow tail in between his legs for he captured something as equally psychotic as the people who appreciate his rabid streams-of-consciousness. But to give sparse recognition, the action in Tetsuo: The Bullet Man is well-shot with much energy to spare.  Previous metamorphosis of Tetsuo, however, against the glaringly sterile Toyko cityscape, are obviously rubberized and no longer echo coils, rust, and sewage pipes. Wave goodbye to the raw rust aesthetic that popularized the first two of the Tetsuo (now)trilogy. In its place is stock footage and re-shootings of key scenes from the first Tetsuo and added with the format of Digital, really proves a shocking blow to experimental integrity of DIY filmmakers around the globe.

Making a return is Chu Ishikawa to score the film with his once-inspiring piston-repetition and slamming synth beats to reflect industrial labor. But something is amidst, Ishikawa's score for Iron Man was grainy, deconstructed, and hazardous. But this trite excuse of redoing something that was always perfect is indefensible to this now-digitally filtered and smooth soundtrack that reeks of glazed electronica. Consider me unimpressed throughout. However, Trent Reznor and Shinya Tsukamoto finally got together to do that collaboration they had been talking of since before the release of Body Hammer. Perhaps if I was a Nine Inch Nails fan, would I have more to speak on but for now it's simple facts. These include the vast departure taken from the soul of steel. A mint filtering has been applied to the busy streets of Japan which neglects the spirit of Tetsuo entirely and debunks Tsuakmoto's previous obsession with sweat. Where Tetsuo: The Iron Man reflected major elements of The Fly, Bullet Man clearly mirrors The Incredible Hulk, what with his infinite power, infinite rage element about him. And that is precisely what Tetsuo has become - a superhero.

It's sad to surrender so soon for Tsukamoto's career but it's becoming increasingly apparent that through the years, his heart softens and his once youthful rage and vision have become replaced with luxuries and family reconciling. After countless classics, after the warmth of kinetic hostility and psychosexual behavior spiced with fetishism, it all comes to an end due to an Americanized Tetsuo for the brainwashed masses. Accessible? Maybe, but the likes of which will never be on par to Tokyo Fist, Tetsuo: The Iron Man, A Snake of June, or, dare I say it, Bullet Ballet. Tetsuo: The Bullet Man isn't a final encore to body horror nor does it indulge in a pleasurable universe. I never push perfection but this is so far from it. Bullet Man serves as an obituary for Tsukamoto's artistic prowess. Rest in peace, Iron Man. We hardly knew ye.
Tetsuo: The Iron ManTetsuo: The Bullet Man


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