Watching this movie, I felt young again, like I had stumbled on a really great b-grade SF movie one day while cutting classes. Maybe it was the Japanese actors, maybe the F/X (OK, so they're cheesy, but hey, they get the point across.)
The sound track is aggressive industrial, which I imagine is a redundant description. The camera angles, often off-kilter and not centered on the action, seemed an inspired mix of creative amateur and Fritz Lang.
The Body Hammer is a story about discovering one's roots, regardless of how ugly those roots may be. Young family man. Father of two. Lovely wife. All of a sudden, his life starts coming apart at the seams. These large thugs keep showing up, attempting to kidnap his children. When he is finally driven to violence, he undergoes a change: a radical, body- mutating change. Turns out he is a living gun. When he's subjected to enough stress - weapons emerge from within him. Underneath his mild exterior lives a grotesque monster of destruction, chaos, and revenge.
How did he come to be this way? Who are these mirrorshaded punks stalking his comfortable existence? What is the power behind the factory that creates these killing machines out of men? Can you read the subtitles -- does it matter if you can't? What is the deep underlying symbolism that seems to bubble beneath the obvious?
Check out Tetsuo 2: The Body Hammer and fish for the answers to these and many other ponderous questions.
Tetsuo 2: The Body Hammer
Directed by Shinya Tsukamoto
A Kaijyu Theater Production
1992. Presented by Toshiba/EMI
Not yet available on video.
Here is the TEXT POPUP for Tetsuo 2: The Body Hammer:
Some people in the west were dismayed by the violence of this film. Nevertheless, I only wish that by witnessing someone who wants to live honestly in a modern society but finds himself becoming unavoidably evil, the audience can feel the clear and serene world which actually lies beyond what you see as "violence."
- Shinya Tsukamoto
During my informal interview with Shinya, he gave the following curious description of The Body Hammer: "It is about the city as an ultimate form of domination. The city nurtures you like a mother, but it can also come to dominate you. In the end, urban society itself is the final enemy to the film's protagonist and it must be destroyed.
- Gareth Branwyn