Two years after leaving the grungy cyberpunk calling card Tetsuo: The Iron Man, Shinya Tsukamoto reenters the world of flesh and metal metamorphoses with a more narratively ambitious film that is neither sequel nor remake,... more » but a rethinking of the ideas on a bigger scale with more impressive effects. The film begins in the recognizable world of the thriller, where a young middle-class couples see their son kidnapped by mysterious hoodlums, and then takes an abrupt turn into an underworld of cybermen led by a mad scientist performing twisted experiments. The father (Tomoroh Taguchi, returning from the first film), filled with rage and shame at his powerlessness, suddenly transforms into a robotic warrior and becomes overwhelmed by the power, simultaneously terrified and ecstatic. Unlike in the original, Tsukamoto offers an explanation, for what it's worth, but the power lies not in the story but the nightmarish imagery and the themes of the marriage of flesh and technology, metal and magic. With an ample budget at his disposal (not to mention color), Tsukamoto ups the conflict to a battle of biblical proportions while maintaining the brooding, terrifying, nightmarish quality. Tsukamoto's gory, violent vision of technology run amok is not for everyone, but fans of David Lynch and David Cronenberg will find his dangerous visions just as creatively disturbing. --Sean Axmaker« less
"this is one of the most intense films i've ever seen. it is more or less the same story as tetsuo: the iron man, but it goes much farther, and much more completely insane.it's definitely not a film for everbody, as many japanese films seem to have a hard time hitting home with western audiences. but if you enjoy eclectic, chaotic, and definitely too intense film, i'm sure you'll enjoy this manic trip through one man's evolution into mechinization.very visual in nature, and the sound is unbelievable. very truly one of the most effective and memorable films i've seen to date."
Low Budget Science Fiction Horror Action Art Movie
"Comparisons will obviously be made to David Lynch and Cronenberg, but if you like those directors and have a taste for low budget foreign horror movies then you will love Tetsuo II - Body Hammer.Basically this is like a live action Magna cartoon and can be watched as a stand alone without seeing the original Tetsuo. Where the film scores in aces is with the editing and camerawork. Shinya Tsukamoto is held in great esteem by directors like Quetin Tarantino, who once asked if Tsukamoto would work on an American film with him. Tsukamoto responded by saying Yes - If he was allowed to nuke Hollywood.The plot is crazy and revolves around a Tokyo businessman, Taniguchi, whose son is kidnapped by a cult of demented nazi-type body builders led by a villain who has the special power of being able to turn his body parts into mechanical firearms. Taniguchi discovers that he too has similar special powers and proceeds to try and wipeout the gang in a Superhero sort of way.There is lots of arty nightmare sequences and action, although the film does loose its pace in parts. At its heart, Tetsuo II is a movie about a superhero with a grotesque gift. It is violent at times but the plot is actually coherent and the story is a lot of fun.Considering the budget limitations the filmmakers have done well and Tetsuo has quite a cult following and it is easy to see why directors like Tarantino recommend it. So if you have a taste for low budget weirdness, then this movie is a must."
Tetsuo for the common folk?
Charles G. Fry | Madison, WI | 08/11/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Tetsuo II is the proto-type of a truly disappointing 2nd edition of a great movie. The original Ironman has such great visuals, great music, and hyperkinetic elements, it is a completely unique movie experience. Not one that necessarily makes a lot of sense from a story point-of-view, but even that adds to the experience.But for some reason, Shinya Tsukamoto decided to tone down all the visual and music elements, and gives us a story in Body Hammer that is more straightforward. Is this a Tetsuo he thought might be more watchable by the standard movie goer? Big mistake!! The disappointment really sets in with the visuals: Ironman showed completely unique, detailed, and laboriously wacky visuals. Body Hammer looks like an Asian not-ready-for-class-B movie. The color is poor, and the special effects stink. The music is not up to Ironman's, either.The story does come together toward the end, and this is the only redeeming part of this movie. It is worth seeing only in making Tetsuo (Ironman) another new experience to watch again by filling in some holes in that story."
Cinematic masochism at its best!
Josh Leman | Littleton, CO United States | 10/10/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"What a crazy, crazy, crazy movie. Everything you think you've heard, everything you think you know about this movie is irrelevant if you haven't seen it. I think Shinya Tsukamoto is genuinely insane. Tetsuo II: Body Hammer is a nightmarish ride into hell and beyond, terrifying in its simplicity and intriguing in its complexity, and you absolutely will never, ever forget it. There's something hard to explain about this movie-- I'm kind of afraid of it, but nevertheless I feel like I have to watch it again and again and again. Watch it and you'll see what I mean. As for the DVD, it seems okay to me for a movie like this. It's a Japanese cult movie, so you can't really expect a pristine transfer, but what's there seems generally okay. I don't see the pixellation the other reviewers mention, and the movie is really dark and murky but I think that may have been what Tsukamoto wanted. As for the comment about the trailer looking better than the film, I really don't think it does. Parts of the trailer are in normal, full color, whereas most of the actual movie (including the exact same shots shown in full color in the trailer) was processed by its makers to make it appear in a somber shade of purplish blue. Other than that, it seems to be pretty much the same quality as the film itself. But I didn't see this film in theaters and I've never seen the VHS version, so I'm not much of an authority. But at any rate, Tetsuo II: Body Hammer will change your life. It will forever alter the way you think about movies and about yourself. Just go see it."
DEHUMANIZATION and MECHANIZATION
Foot Artist | Houston, Texas United States | 07/21/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"TETSUO II BODY HAMMER was to me, very similar to PI. It seemed to be more an exploration of textures and shapes than an attempt at linear storytelling. If you look at the reviews for the film PI you'll notice they contain similar complaints as the reviews for TETSUO II BODY HAMMER. Neither film was meant to be linear. This seems to have disappointed a great portion of the viewers. For them, the film is unfulfilling due to its apparent lack of coherence. When in fact, the point of the movie is exactly that, a study of disorientation created by technology and civilization. It is a psychological effect that the writer/director is aiming for. The viewer either will allow him that privilege or deny it to him. The viewer is always in control. There are psychological boundaries that the viewer will or will not allow himself to cross. This determines what mental "buttons" the viewer will allow the film to push.I enjoyed the cleverness of some of the special effects, and of course the colors and textures. These are the kind of films that are created for a very specialized audience. Not everyone is going to consider them worthy of note but that's ok. Those who do, will enjoy watching them over and over, and delight in the psychological effect of the ride.In case you're interested in other films that go for THAT psychological effect check out: PARIS FRANCE with Peter Outerbridge and Leslie Hope, A ZED AND TWO NOUGHTS, DROWNING BY NUMBERS, & PROSPERO'S BOOKS by Peter Greenaway, POISON by Todd Haynes, DR. STRANGELOVE by Stanley Kubrick."