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July 4, 2011

Movie Review: Tetsuo: The Bullet Man (2009, MPI/IFC Midnight)

Shinya Tsukamoto's 1989 hit Tetsuo: The Ironman was really an original piece of cinema 21 years ago. It echoed much of David Cronenberg and David Lynch's work and really brought "cyberpunk" full circle. His sequel, Tetsuo: Body Hammer, changed things up a bit but still displayed the eye-candy that made his debut so successful. Tetsuo: The Bullet Man is the third film in the trilogy and possibly the most manic ride of the three, but is it the best?

Buy Tetsuo: The Bullet Man on DVD

Anthony (Eric Bossick) is an American businessman living in Tokyo living with his wife Yuriko (Akika Mono) and young son Tom (Tiger Charlie Gerhardt). Yuriko is a paranoid mess and is on the verge of becoming a complete basket case. One foggy Tokyo day, Anthony decides to take a stroll down a busy city street with Tom. Being the responsible parent he is, he lets Tom dodge cars in oncoming traffic. The inevitable happens and is hit - purposely though. This throws Anthony into a body-changing, metal nightmare filled trip through hell. Soon Anthony becomes a metal bullet shooting machine taking out anyone getting in his way. With this newfound powerful ability, Anthony takes full advantage and attempts to hunt the creep down who rolled over his kid.

There's no denying, Tsukamato can lay on the visuals and construct some truly disturbing imagery with his flashy editing; the only problem is are that his characters (especially his leads) are pretty life-less and depressing. The death of Tom should have been more effective as the loss of a child is such a cathartic thing to convey to the viewers. Here it's wasted. Tetsuo: The Bullet Man does entertain even though it's empty in some areas. At a brisk 70 minutes the running time is perfect.

Tetsuo: The Bullet Man isn't a bad film - it's actually very impressive technically but it’s my least favorite of the trilogy. Regardless, Tsukamato and fans of outrageous Japanese genre films should at least check it out once.

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