Monday, 6 October 2014
Tetsuo II: Body Hammer
Lacking the frenetic, fevered energy of its forebear, Tetsuo II: Body Hammer is instead a series of dreamy interludes linked by variations on the same chase. Tetsuo: The Iron Man was a waking nightmare in which a young man struggled to cope with the changes his body was undergoing. Body Hammer, although apparently unconnected, deals with metamorphosis as an ancient abuse regurgitated in times of extreme stress. Iron Man was concerned with the present, Body Hammer is about tapping into the past and divining memory.
Taniguchi Tomoo and his family live in an apartment straight out of an aspirational hi-fi advert. Tomoo looks like a Steve Ditko drawing, his wife is permanently dressed for a minimalist fashion shoot. This time Tokyo is shot with cool blues, focusing on glass buildings and an attendant sense of alienation. When his son is kidnapped by a team of muscle bombers, Tomoo pursues, his body stretching and exploding to reveal a rib cage made from pistols. Iron Man felt like a city collapsing in on itself, effluence and people mixing to create a creature able to survive in this steaming pit. Body Hammer instead has a city in stasis. Mutation is something to be forced, often leading to rusty, clattering failure. Tomoo then represents a pure evolutionary leap. He is the new life form, a stumbling mix of concrete and artillery. A mobile city state able to consume weaklings and spit out carnage.