Tetsuo II: Bodyhammer

Tagged: Film

Film (1991). Kaiju Theatre Production for Toshiba EMI. Co-executive producer, director, co-cinematographer, editor, screenplay Shinya Tsukamoto. Cast includes Nobu Kanaoka, Tomoroh Taguchi, Tsukamoto and Toraemon Utazawa. 83 minutes. Colour.

This is in many ways a remake two-years later of Tetsuo, this time with professional backing and shot in colour. An office-worker (Taguchi, who also starred in the previous film) who is Amnesiac about his childhood is maddened by the kidnapping and murder of his own child, sprouts guns from his chest (to his astonishment) and sets out on revenge. The kidnappers prove to be a group of skinhead body builders who with special injections can become partly metallic. They are led by another metal-sprouting Mutant, Yatsu (Tsukamoto), who turns out to be the office worker's kid brother. Flashbacks reveal that their insane scientist father had conducted experiments on them. The bad brother Yatsu and the good brother clash. Good brother wins, but ends up barely human; now resembling a tank, he later shatters the city. The greater coherence of the remake – in the manner of an American Superhero comic – comes at a cost; this is more like a straight exploitation film (there is some arbitrary sexual sadism); the sound track is brilliant, but some of the deranged surrealist vigour is lost. However, the idea, stronger in this version, of aggression altering body image is an interesting metaphor and the cynicism about family values is unusual in a Japanese film. [PN]

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