Cyberpunk Review » Tetsuo II: Body Hammer

February 23, 2006

Tetsuo II: Body Hammer

Year: 1992

Directed by: Shinya Tsukamoto

Written by: Shinya Tsukamoto

IMDB Reference

Degree of Cyberpunk Visuals: High

Correlation to Cyberpunk Themes: Medium

Key Cast Members:

  • Taniguchi Tomoo: Tomorowo Taguchi
  • Rating: 4 out of 10



    Overview: Unlike the tagline (should not be missed…), I think its quite OK to miss Tetsuo II, especially if you’ve already seen the real thing. In Tetsuo II, Tsukamoto substitutes a larger budget in lieu of the unique and innovative narrative we find in Tetsuo - the Iron Man. The compromise is bad all around. For starters, this style of merging man and machine works FAR better in B&W than it does in color. The surreal believability factor of the FX drops significantly in color. As for the story, the whole idea of centering the conflict around a family setting significantly lessens the power of his earlier story, as does Tsukamoto’s attempt to add a more coherent narrative. While his point still seems to be the same one, its told with lots less force, in a far less interesting way, and also in a far less shocking way.

    The Bottom Line: I can take screencaps of this if anyone is dying to see the visuals (I understand it’s out of print), but it’s just not a great movie. Tetsuo: Bodyhammer is OK to see this as long as you understand you’re getting a Japanese Cyberpunk movies that’s far less than Tetsuo - Iron Man, or even less than Rubber’s Lover, for that matter. I’ve heard people comment that Bodyhammer sucks so they aren’t interested in seeing the first one - don’t buy this reasoning. While the first screams uniqueness, Body Hammer whimpers “cash in on my earlier success by cutting back the edginess and going more mainstream.” It even stars Tomorowo Taguchi again, who attempts to reprise the same role and crazed scream faces - only this time it comes across more as the last show in a long day of staged repeat performances, similar to what you might find in a theater act at an amusement park late on a Sunday evening. In that sense, Body Hammer comes off as a sequel in true hollywood style.

    ~See movies similar to this one~

    This post has been filed under Horror, Man-machine Interface, 4 Star Movies, Japanese Cyberpunk, Cyberpunk movies from 1990 - 1999 by SFAM.


    June 29, 2006

    Glam Creature said:

    After finally seeing this movie last nite, I couldn’t agree with a lot of previously red reviews and opininions, stating that this movie is very bad. Of course, it was a Tsukamoto’s failure trying to incorporate unpolished narrative cinematography elements, probably influenced by American SF movies (as “Terminator”) into his experimental visual style of “Tetsuo”, but I liked this movie pretty much, especialy the ending.

    SFAM said:

    Hi Glam, a number of folks feel that way. I just felt that story and symbol-wise, it was an immense drop-off from the first one. It really did have the “cash-in on success” type feel for me, whereas the first one was completely innovative, and had a significant message to tell. This movie seemed to lack that.

    August 7, 2006

    Adam Doub said:

    Truely a spectacular trainwreck, but I guess I can sadly say that I did enjoy a couple of it’s elements. This is a good example of a “sequel” that you could basically slap any title on and it still do just as good (or bad?). I guess it was difficult to make a follow up of the original Tetsuo, the groundbreaking low-budget film that basically began the rebirth of Japanese cinema. There are just too many things wrong with Tetsuo II to even begin to be associated with it’s predecessor. Oh, and on the side note…while the original Tetsuo had an absolutely wonderfully inspirational Industrial soundtrack, this movie had very little of this. If I never hear the horrible chase-scene music from this film again, it will be too soon.

    SFAM said:

    Hi Adam - agreed. Although I’ve run into enough people that seem to really like Tetsuo II that I might try giving this another go. Truly though, I watched it twice before doing the review so I don’t see my grading changing much.

    March 2, 2009

    pcptorpedo said:

    I would have to disagree with this review. From what I have read, Tsukamoto wanted to revisit the same themes, not cash in. I thought it was interesting how he reworked similar material, it seem fresh and vital. It was certainly not the masterpiece that tetsuo was, but I thought it was a solid movie, and interesting as part of Tsukamoto’s evolving themes throughout his work.

    Great site, by the way, I’ve seen a few japanese cyberpunk movies I’d never heard of before.

    June 11, 2009

    a said:

    This movie is amazing.

    July 29, 2010

    Shinoda said:

    Indeed, this movie is much worse than the first one, however I feel that it has a certain unique charm, one that few films manage to match.
    Then again, what do I know? I mean, I kinda liked Gunhed…

    December 27, 2010

    capnsid said:

    Check out the seriously twisted (with American stars, no less!) Tesuo The Bullet Man. Another fine product, brought to you by Shinya (mushimushi) Tsukamoto

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