Tetsuo II: Body Hammer (1992)

tetsuo ii body hammer poster 1992 movie
7.0 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Acting: 6/10
Visuals: 8/10

Creative and visual

Not as good as the original, works better in shorter doses

Movie Info

Movie Name: Tetsuo II:  Body Hammer

Studio:  F2/Kaijyu Theater/Toshiba EMI

Genre(s): Horror/Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Release Date(s):  February 1992 (Fantasporto Film Festival)/October 3, 1992 (Japan)/August 15, 1997 (US)

MPAA Rating: R

tetsuo ii body hammer tomorowo taguchi transformed

I’m having a really bad week…

Taniguchi Tomoo (Tomorowo Taguchi) finds his childhood is a blank.  When his young son Minori (Keinosuke Tomioka) is kidnapped by skinheads, Taniguchi is shot with a strange bullet and discovers things are happening inside him.  Taniguchi’s wife Kana (Nobu Kanaoka) doesn’t know her husband now and rage is fueling Taniguchi’s decisions…there is power building inside Taniguchi, but it might not be what it seems.

Written and directed by Shinya Tsukamoto, Tetsuo II:  Body Hammer (鉄男II Body Hammer) is a Japanese cyberpunk body-horror movie.  The movie follows Tetsuo:  The Iron Man from 1989, and it premiered at Fantasporto Film Festival.

Tetsuo:  The Iron Man was a strange movie.  It felt like a rather long music video and was completely unique.  It is experimental and edgy…and a real creeping horror in a zombie-infection type of body horror.  Tetsuo II:  Body Hammer is a follow-up that keeps many of the elements but feels more finished in its presentation.

tetsuo ii body hammer gun arm man

Have you seen John Connor?

That finishing both shows more skill by Shinya Tsukamoto, but it also feels less inventive.  The movie is much more plot based and has more dialogue.  While as a viewer you struggled with Tetsuo:  The Iron Man to determine what was going on (and at a breakneck speed), Tetsuo II has you questioning why things are going on.  The “why” of the story is revealed, but it too is a long, strange trip that might need some deciphering after a first watch.

Though titled Tetsuo II, the film is largely a stand-alone with similar themes and ideas of the first one.  The metal fetish worshippers and the transformation of Taniguchi feel more like a semi-remake and expansion of the first film instead of a completely new story (think The Evil Dead and Evil Dead 2).  The real fun of both movies isn’t necessarily the script but the path it takes.

tetsuo ii body hammer visions

You spin me right round baby right round like a record baby

That path is a path through some of the most bizarre filmmaking.  The movie has the “hero” transforming into a metal monster and killing his way through the enemies.  It is a cyberpunk nightmare of the fusion of flesh, metal, and technology (still very comparable to Videodrome).  Tetsuo:  The Iron Man told the story through mostly moving pictures and stop motion, but this version (though using those techniques) follows a slightly more traditional style of shooting.

Tetsuo II:  Body Hammer and the preceding film are films that just need to be seen to understand.  They are weird, they are wild, and they are relatively short.  Shinya Tsukamoto is a unique director with a very unique vision, but he also seems to be tapping into bigger ideas that are both universal and specific to his culture.  Long live the metal!  Tetsuo II:  Body Hammer was followed by Tetsuo:  The Bullet Man in 2009.

Related Links:

Tetsuo:  The Iron Man (1989)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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