TETSUO III: THE BULLET MAN Movie Review
I’ve been watching a lot of Japanese horror movies lately (thanks Netflix!), so when I was given a
screener of TETSUO III: THE BULLET MAN, I had high hopes for it! I watched this movie over the weekend, and am still struggling on how to write a review. I truly have never seen a film like this before – and that is a good thing.
This is director Shinya Tsukamoto’s third installment of the Tetsuo franchise, and his first in English. Since this is the third film, I must be in the minority of thinking that this film was just…. odd. I understand the direction that Tsukamoto was attempting to move towards, but I just
don’t feel that Bullet Man actually ever got to that point.
Without giving too much away Tetsuo III: The Bullet Man is this: Anthony, the main character, is an American living in Japan. He sees his son get killed and this triggers a hulk like reaction which causes him to become The Bullet Man.
From there I’m not really sure WHAT happened. The directing style was just not my favorite. There
were FAR too many crazy montages of scenes set to a score that made me want to cover my ears – it was that loud. I understand that this is Tsukamoto’s directing choice; and that the films are known for their “cyberpunk” feel. While I understand that, I also don’t think any movie should make me feel like I’m Alex in A Clockwork Orange being brain washed. It was sensory overload!!
The story was lacking. Most of the time, I had no idea what was going on, the action scenes were just shot too quickly, and the sound fluctuated WAY too much! Action scenes (and even scenes where there was no action, just flashing images) were far too loud, and then scenes with dialogue were way too quiet. I changed the volume between 15 and 51 on my TV just to give you an idea.
I never cared about the characters. Not even a little. I felt bad for Anthony because he saw his son get killed; but other than that I never cared about one of the characters even a little bit. It makes a movie difficult to watch when your main character is discovering some heart-wrenching things about his family, but the story line hasn’t given you any reason, as a viewer, to care.
And oh my LORD the acting. Talk about lack of chemistry. I would have preferred to see the film in Japanese, at least I could have imagined that Anthony and his wife had some sort of relationship. The translation into English just left the actors with limited dialogue to work with.
The message of the film was also lost on me – mainly because, like I said, I had no idea what was happening through the majority of the film. Was it a story about Anthony and his “transformation”? Was it a love story? Was it a family drama story? Was the “mother” role supposed to be a larger portion of the film? I have no idea.
I will say this – the effects (those that I was able to see between the strobe like editing) were great. Wait, let me rephrase. The INITIAL transformation of Anthony to Tetsuo when he was half man/half metal android was great. The make up looked AMAZING and I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED the metallic tone to his voice.
If any of you have seen Tetsuo III: The Bullet Man, I welcome – nay, I ENCOURAGE – your comments. Even if you blast into me and defend the film for whatever reason, I would really, honestly, love to know opinions and thoughts.
Tetsuo: The Bullet Man is currently available on demand and in select theaters (New York – Now Playing / Detroit, MI – 2/4 / Chicago, IL – 2/11 / Columbus, OH – 2/11 / Hartford, CT – 3/4)
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