Taking Sides: Tetsuo The Iron Man vs Tetsuo II: Bodyhammer

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Which of the two "Tetsuo" movies are the best? Would you plump for the original, B&W, grimy+disjointed film, or would you go for the "reimagined" second film, different story, colour, higher budget?

Chriddof (Chriddof), Tuesday, 11 March 2003 13:22 (11 years ago) Permalink

The first one. That is the first one I saw. At the time, I was bartender, so one afternoon I rolled a joint and saw this on my own. Incredible movie ... all these sensations. This movie left an indelible impression, I can tell you that.

The second one left a delible impression.

  • Akira (1988) - Katsuhiro Ôtomo [1 DVD, Amazon US]

    Artist-writer Katsuhiro Ôtomo began telling the story of Akira as a comic book series in 1982 but took a break from 1986 to 1988 to write, direct, supervise, and design this animated film version. Set in 2019, the film richly imagines the new metropolis of Neo-Tokyo, which is designed from huge buildings down to the smallest details of passing vehicles or police uniforms. Two disaffected orphan teenagers--slight, resentful Tetsuo and confident, breezy Kanada--run with a biker gang, but trouble grows when Tetsuo start to resent the way Kanada always has to rescue him. Meanwhile, a group of scientists, military men, and politicians wonder what to do with a collection of withered children who possess enormous psychic powers, especially the mysterious, rarely seen Akira, whose awakening might well have caused the end of the old world. Tetsuo is visited by the children, who trigger the growth of psychic and physical powers that might make him a superman or a supermonster. As befits a distillation of 1,318 pages of the story so far, Akira is overstuffed with character, incident, and detail. However, it piles up astonishing set pieces: the chases and shootouts (amazingly kinetic, amazingly bloody) benefit from minute cartoon detail that extends to the surprised or shocked faces of the tiniest extra; the Tetsuo monster alternately looks like a billion-gallon scrotal sac or a Tex Avery mutation of the monster from The Quatermass Experiment; and the finale--which combines flashbacks to more innocent days with a destruction of Neo City and the creation of a new universe--is one of the most mind-bending in all sci-fi cinema. --Kim Newman for amazon.com

    Jan Geerinck (jahsonic), Tuesday, 11 March 2003 14:43 (11 years ago) Permalink

  • Sorry about that

  • Tetsuo: The Ironman (1988) -- Shinya Tsukamoto [1 DVD, Amazon US]

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    Shinya Tsukamoto draws on the marriage of flesh and technology that inspires so much of David Cronenberg's work and then twists it into a manga-influenced cyberpunk vision. A man (Tomoroh Taguchi) awakens from a nightmare in which his body is helplessly fusing with the metal objects around him, only to find it happening to him in real life... or is it? Haunted by memories of a hit and run (eerily prophetic of Cronenberg's Crash), the man knows this ordeal could be a dream, a fantastic form of divine retribution, or perhaps technological mutation born of guilt and rage. Shot in bracing black and white on a small budget, Tsukamoto puts a demented conceptual twist on good old-fashioned stop-motion effects and simple wire work, giving his film the surreal quality of a waking dream with a psychosexual edge (resulting in the film's most disturbing scene). The story ultimately takes on an abstract quality enhanced by the grungy look and increasingly wild images as they take to the streets in a mad chase of technological speed demons. This first entry in his self-titled "Regular Sized Monster Series" is followed by a full-color sequel, Tetsuo II: The Body Hammer, which trades the muddy experimental atmosphere for a big-budget sheen but can't top the cybershock to the system this movie packs. --Sean Axmaker

    Jan Geerinck (jahsonic), Tuesday, 11 March 2003 14:45 (11 years ago) Permalink

  • The first clearly blows the second out of the water - it's one of the most hideous and fantastic films I've ever seen. Tetsuo II has a terrible digital rock soundtrack, and stylistically is pretty conventional - at least, as far as Japanese cinema goes.

    Jason J, Tuesday, 11 March 2003 17:05 (11 years ago) Permalink

    6 years pass...

    I just watched Tetsuo last night...music was the best thing about it IMO. I cld have done without seeing the woman drill-raped to death.

    we are normal and we want our freedom (Abbott), Wednesday, 4 November 2009 04:33 (4 years ago) Permalink

    I'm glad I watched it tho.

    we are normal and we want our freedom (Abbott), Wednesday, 4 November 2009 04:33 (4 years ago) Permalink

    hi! I'm the freak who likes tetsuo II better than I.

    everything tsukamoto did afterward blows them away tho.

    鬼の手 (Edward III), Wednesday, 4 November 2009 14:20 (4 years ago) Permalink

    what did he do afterward? I didn't like Tetsuo II much

    someone I'm Facebook friends w/ who lives in Japan reported disappointment after seeing Tetsuo III The Bullet Man (which apparently is in theaters over there) but I don't even know if it's the same filmmakers or what

    dmr, Wednesday, 4 November 2009 15:55 (4 years ago) Permalink

    yeah, tetsuo III is tsukamoto too, I'm not hearing good things about it.

    the great tsukamoto films are in his run from 1995 - 2004

    tokyo fist
    bullet ballet
    gemini
    a snake of june
    vital

    鬼の手 (Edward III), Wednesday, 4 November 2009 15:59 (4 years ago) Permalink

    he played ichi's "father" in ichi the killer

    鬼の手 (Edward III), Wednesday, 4 November 2009 16:09 (4 years ago) Permalink

    a snake of june
    POSSIBLE SPOILER: Didn't know shit about Tsukamoto when I saw this (though I had seen TII:B), so I totally wasn't expecting the prehensile penis.

    calumerio, Wednesday, 4 November 2009 16:13 (4 years ago) Permalink

    although I've never heard them make any specific references to it, I suspect chuck palahniuk and david fincher owe tsukamoto a huge debt

    let's just say tokyo fist is eerily similar to fight club

    鬼の手 (Edward III), Wednesday, 4 November 2009 16:15 (4 years ago) Permalink

    similar enough that I am editing wikipedia right now

    鬼の手 (Edward III), Wednesday, 4 November 2009 16:19 (4 years ago) Permalink

    I saw Tetsuo I in the theater in '92. Loved it.

    When it was over, this very old woman came hobbling out of the theater. The ticket guy asked her what she thought and she said "oh, it was very nice."

    Nate Carson, Wednesday, 4 November 2009 23:40 (4 years ago) Permalink

    "let's just say tokyo fist is eerily similar to fight club"

    huh? Wasn't Tokyo Fist about a boxer who wasn't very good who keeps getting knocked out by his pal who doesn't even practice with one punch?

    Philip Nunez, Wednesday, 4 November 2009 23:49 (4 years ago) Permalink

    Body Hammer was awful. I don't remember liking Bullet Ballet much, but Tokyo Fist is pretty good.

    We call them "meat hemorrhoids" (Alex in SF), Thursday, 5 November 2009 00:01 (4 years ago) Permalink

    I had no idea he made so many movies actually. Apparently there is a Tetsuo III.

    We call them "meat hemorrhoids" (Alex in SF), Thursday, 5 November 2009 00:03 (4 years ago) Permalink

    a professor i know shows tetsuo to an intro film class. amazing undergrad mindfuck

    amateurist, Thursday, 5 November 2009 00:07 (4 years ago) Permalink

    I saw Tetsuo I in the theater in '92. Loved it.

    When it was over, this very old woman came hobbling out of the theater. The ticket guy asked her what she thought and she said "oh, it was very nice."

    looool.

    this one took me back a few years...

    so, my grandma used to exclusively watch ABC. mostly soap operas and game shows. one day, I came home, and inexplicably, she's ventured way out to the movie channels. and she's watching rambo 3. (!!) rambo is killing tons of dudes during the scene I walked in on. (of course.) I ask her what she thinks, and she just shoots me a huge grin. ^__^

    ( - _ - ); (Alan N), Thursday, 5 November 2009 06:03 (4 years ago) Permalink

    Wasn't Tokyo Fist about a boxer who wasn't very good who keeps getting knocked out by his pal who doesn't even practice with one punch?

    ― Philip Nunez, Wednesday, November 4, 2009 6:49 PM (1 hour ago) Bookmark Suggest Ban Permalink

    a salaryman alienated by the shallowness of modern life retreats into a subculture of ultraviolent fistfighting, sparking a love triangle with his weirdo girlfriend and a sardonic, amoral fellow boxer

    a surreal film with graphic depictions of ppl getting their faces beaten to a pulp

    tokyo fist came out a year before fight club was published, premiered at the 1995 toronto film festival

    however a short story version of fight club was published right around that time... hive mind at work?

    鬼の手 (Edward III), Thursday, 5 November 2009 20:25 (4 years ago) Permalink

    Aronofsky's 'Pi' gets cited a lot as a Tsukamoto-borrowing.
    The two short films he did before Tetsuo are kind of fun to see & are basically even rougher drafts of the same ideas.

    xcixxorx, Thursday, 5 November 2009 20:34 (4 years ago) Permalink

    Tsukamoto started making movies at the age of 14, when his father gave him a Super 8 camera. He made a number of films, ranging from 10-minute shorts to 2-hour features, until his first year at college when he temporarily lost interest in making movies. Tsukamoto then started up a theatre group, which soon included Kei Fujiwara, Nobu Kanaoka, and Tomorowo Taguchi, all of whom would continue to work with Tsukamoto up through the filming of Tetsuo: The Iron Man.
    One of their theatre productions at this time was Denchu Kozo no boken. At the end of the production, Tsukamoto didn't want to waste all the effort they had put into building the set, so he decided to shoot a film version.
    Tsukamoto's early films, Futsu saizu no kaijin (A Phantom of Regular Size) and Denchu Kozo no boken (The Adventures Of Electric Rod Boy) made in 1986/87, were short subject science fiction films shot on colour 8 mm film. In both films he made aggressive use of jarring editing, stop-motion animation, bizarre sound effects, and grotesque or outlandish subject matter. Denchu Kozo concerned itself with an unhappy young boy with an electricity pylon growing out of his back, who is transported into the future and must do battle with cyborg vampires trying to destroy sunlight

    I really want to see this.

    The people of Ork are marching upon us (Matt #2), Thursday, 5 November 2009 22:23 (4 years ago) Permalink

    Is he responsible for that 10,000 volt movie with the guitar as electro-weapon battle?

    Philip Nunez, Thursday, 5 November 2009 22:36 (4 years ago) Permalink

    That one was directed by Sogo Ishii.

    xcixxorx, Thursday, 5 November 2009 22:47 (4 years ago) Permalink

    2 years pass...

    Is the first one "available," as Alfred would say?

    World Congress of Itch (Dr Morbius), Tuesday, 8 May 2012 16:14 (2 years ago) Permalink


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