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Tetsuo: The Bullet Man [Import]

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Product Details

  • Format: NTSC, Import
  • Language: English
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: UNRATED
  • Studio: Ifc Independent Film
  • Release Date: June 28 2011

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 9 reviews
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Not nearly up to Tsukamoto's usual standard. Dec 23 2010
By Robert Beveridge - Published on Amazon.com
Tetsuo: The Bullet Man (Shinya Tsukamoto, 2009)

Shinya Tsukamoto, who was always a very good director, found himself a new level over the past decade, turning out phenomenal movie after phenomenal movie; he's the only director to have hit my list of the Best 100 Films of the Last Decade three times (2002's A Snake of June, 2004's Vital, and 2005's Haze). In fact, I love pretty much everything Tsukamoto has done, with two exceptions: the two sequels to Tetsuo: The Iron Man, both of which were, I assume, conceived, shot, and released for purely commercial reasons. First there was Bodyhammer, back in the mid-nineties, a murky, plotless mess that seemed far too focused on the special effects. Now we have The Bullet Man, the third film in the franchise, which if anything goes the opposite direction. Which would normally be great, except that the story is hackneyed and loose. This is exacerbated by the fact that Tsukamoto decided to shoot the entire thing in English, despite neither he nor co-screenwriter Hisakatsu Kuroki (assistant director on Bullet Ballet and currently writing the Gothic and Lolita live action adaptation--and if you're not hopping up and down at the prospect of that one you're either unaware of the source material or dead) has all that good a grasp of it.

Our iron man this time is Anthony (voice actor Eric Bossick), who kind of stumbles into the role after hit men start coming after him because of his tenuous (until they start hunting him, natch; it's there an Ebert Rule about that?) connection to a secret government project to create human weapons (which harks back to Bodyhammer). Needless to say, since they're threatening his family, he becomes said weapon, though he has some existential crises about losing his humanity. But not enough that it isn't really, really cool to be able to just keep going when the bad guys shoot you a couple hundred times.

The best thing about Tetsuo: The Bullet Man, as the best thing about all Tsukamoto films (and I say this as a huge fan of the filmmaker), is Chu Ishikawa's superlative soundtrack. Ishikawa's only equals on the soundtrack stage for the past twenty years have been Graeme Revell and Jeremy Soule, and once again Ishikawa, half of Tokyo industrial band Der Eisenrost, turns in a soundtrack that is both distinctively Ishikawa and perfect for the film. The second-best thing about Tetsuo: The Bullet Man is Tsukamoto's equally distinctive visual style (Tsukamoto not only directs, but does a great deal of the cinematography work; he's also listed as gaffer on this one), which over the past ten years has integrated traditional European thriller style (specifically giallo) into his trademark cyberpunk leanings. It's an effective technique, though probably more so on the sophisticated thrillers he's been doing more than a movie that goes back to Tsukamoto's heavily-cyberpunk roots.

Balancing out those two very strong points are a confused plot (one wonders how rushed this script was), some below-par acting (some? Pretty much everyone here), and a preponderance of the kind of Engrish that manages to be correct but oddly awkward.

I wanted to like it, I really did. But it's simply not up to the standard that Tsukamoto has set for himself over the past ten years. **
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A Non-Stop Assault On Your Senses--A Technical Achievement Lacking In Heart June 15 2011
By K. Harris - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
Love it or hate it, the "Tetsuo" trilogy from cult director Shinya Tsukamoto has been a visceral assault on the senses. Loud, chaotic, and innovative--the films graphically embody a realm where biology and technology merge in the ultimate expression of rage. In the latest, "Tetsuo: The Bullet Man," we are given a re-imagining of this horrific vision but made for broader appeal. With a more substantial budget, Tsukamoto has polished off some of the rough edges and made a terrific looking and sounding film. Once the narrative gets going, the effects are relentless and well done with the metal monster resembling a creature from one of H.R. Giger's nightmares. English speaking actors have taken on the main roles so, in all likelihood, the film might attract a number of newcomers who have not seen the other editions. That might be both a good thing and a bad thing. Fans of the original films might see The Bullet Man as somewhat of a retread, while new viewers won't have any preconceived notions. But movie goers who stumble upon this version by accident will likely be confounded by this extreme and incomprehensible tale.

Let's be honest. Cohesive narrative and logical storytelling plays second fiddle to the in-your-face imagery within the film. The plot itself is fairly thin. A man discovers that he is a metal/human hybrid when confronted with extreme emotion. Why? Some back story about a government experiment gone awry and a long held secret that his scientist father has kept from him. But the secret is out and several factions are looking to send our hero back to the scrap yard. The entire picture takes place as a chase and a series of violent confrontations as the protagonist seeks to avenge the murder of his son even as a his own death is being plotted. It is all well choreographed, but truthfully--it can also be a bit repetitive. The transformation and metamorphosis is fascinating, but the film needs some softness under its hard edges.

The man's wife is along for much of the tumultuous battle and here is where the film needed to embrace its heart. If you recall the Jeff Golblum and Geena Davis version of "The Fly," there was love, confusion, revulsion and acceptance driving a very real love story at the center of the film. That sort of emotional complexity would have stepped this film up to the next level. There are moments where they hint at it--but neither character has been developed, so it's more superficial than stirring. In many ways, "The Bullet Man" is poised to be a divisive entertainment. Some will proclaim its brilliance while others will be numbed by its non-stop attack. For me, though, the film is a technical achievement that serves its metal creations better than its human ones. I can admire the film, but I never connected with it. Cold and remote, I just wanted to feel more involved--to care. Ultimately, I didn't really. KGHarris, 6/11.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
another wild ride April 1 2011
By Joseph L. Kolb - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
i really enjoyed tetsuo: the bullet man. it's not so much of a remake of Ironman as it is a reinterpretation of the basic theme of transformation. i do enjoy the first two tetsuo films slightly more, but that is not taking anything away from this release. my only complaints about this movie is the quick and choppy editing that is done during the action sequences. it seems a lot of directors use that editing technique to intensify the action/drama, but personally, i find it distracting and hard to follow. the other complaint is we really don't get to see any real "clear" transformation sequences of anthony (again, the editing was quick and dark). but saying that, it still is an enjoyable action-packed wild ride. ishikawa's soundtrack is again excellent too. i really enjoy that pounding industrial sound and the music goes well with the environments that tsukamoto envisioned. like many of the previous reviewers mention, if you're a big fan of the first movie, you may not like this one as much, but overall it is still vastly superior and more original than many sci-fi/horror films that are churned out today. i'm not too sure what's so "special" about the dvd slipcase edition as advertised. it's basically a cardboard slipcase over the dvd box. no special packaging nor information booklet provided. i do highly recommend this dvd though.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Good movie... I think March 13 2011
By Shannon Barnes - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
If you're already a fan of the Tetsuo movies then you probably won't be expecting this movie to make complete sense. I love all of Shinya Tsukamoto's films and admittedly I have no idea what's going on half the time. But be warned, though most of this film is in English, there is a chunk of it in Japanese and the only available subtitles are Chinese. This is the only reason I'm not giving this film 4 or 5 stars. If you're into movies where people turn to metal and smash stuff for no apparent reason I definately recommend this film, but maybe try to get a version with English subs.
back to cyber-surreal Jan. 9 2013
By Tom Foolery - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I really thought Tetsuo: Iron Man was a great film. Minimal dialogue, insane premise, apocalyptic desolation, bio-mechanical infections... It had a slew of things that had only been seen in cartoons, but in live action. Then, I saw Tetsuo II: Body Hammer, and promptly lost interest in the franchise with its overtly cartoonish scenes without attention to physics. This film, however, revived my interest in a cinematic move truer to the original film. Well played, Tsukamoto, well played. (DISCLAIMER: The physics and biology indicated in all of these films is questionable, its just that the second was over the top with it in my opinion.)

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