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Tetsuo II: Bodyhammer Review

Image for Tetsuo II: Bodyhammer
★★★★★

An hour-long zero budget black-and-white cult oddity which contained some of the strongest and strangest ideas and images to grace the screen in recent years, propelled its director, Shinya Tsukamoto, into the dingbat genius category.

It was inevitable, then, that someone would give him a decent budget to elaborate on his vision. Although in colour and with a more complex story that owes a debt to David Cronenberg's Scanners, this hallucinatory sci-fi art item duplicates the fleshmetal-twisting extremes of its predecessor. A stereotyped Japanese urban man (Taguchi) is targeted by an underground movement of mutating skinheads who kidnap and horribly murder his son. Assaulted with a rivet-gun, Taguchi begins to mutate, sprouting pipe-like guns from his chest and turning into a tank.

An internal coup in the mutant faction unseats the mad scientist in charge of the bizarre experiments and puts into power a sleek young monster, who enters into a personal conflict with Taguchi that absorbs all the human and mechanical objects in the vicinity and is explained with a strange childhood flashback. With broad plot strokes that simply serve to bring on the effects, this is mainly a catalogue of variations on the human form, ultimately creating one of the strangest hybrids the cinema has ever seen as the hero's body is absorbed into a mechanical colossus. Truly bizarre.