7.0/10
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Tetsuo: The Iron Man (1989)

Tetsuo (original title)
Not Rated | | Horror, Sci-Fi | 1 July 1989 (Japan)
A businessman accidentally kills The Metal Fetishist, who gets his revenge by slowly turning the man into a grotesque hybrid of flesh and rusty metal.

Director:

Shin'ya Tsukamoto
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2 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Tomorô Taguchi ... Man
Kei Fujiwara ... Woman
Nobu Kanaoka ... Woman in Glasses
Shin'ya Tsukamoto ... Metal Fetishist
Naomasa Musaka Naomasa Musaka ... Doctor
Renji Ishibashi ... Tramp
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Storyline

Mad with pain by the festering wound in his thigh, an extreme sado-sexual "Metal Fetishist" dashes out into the street, and is accidentally hit by the car of a white-collar worker and his girlfriend. But, strangely, instead of dying, the salaryman finds himself before a mysterious and agonisingly majestic transformation--one that twists and bends the pliable human flesh, inextricably intertwining it with the strong and cold iron. Now, there is no turning back, and nothing can stand in the way of the glorious final mutation. Is this the beginning of a new era? Written by Nick Riganas

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Horror | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Japan

Language:

Japanese

Release Date:

1 July 1989 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

The Ironman See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| | (extended cut)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Portions of the film are used as a music video for Machine Gun by Portishead. See more »

Quotes

Metals Fetishist: Together, we can turn this fucking world to rust!
See more »

Crazy Credits

(after end credits) GAME OVER See more »

Alternate Versions

Tetsuo The First Cut is an extended version released on DVD, running 10 minutes longer than the original 67 minute running time. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Electric Dragon 80.000 V (2001) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Manga-influenced man vs. machine Japanese scifi film with a razor-sharp visual style
30 November 2005 | by Ham_and_EggerSee all my reviews

It's so visually striking that you could never fully describe Tetsuo in words. But here are a few that apply: Japanese, hyperactive, perverse, industrial, surreal, Faustian bargain, contrasty, black-and-white, Kafkaesque, scifi, stop-motion, manga-influenced, revenge, technology, alienation, supervillains.

Shinya Tsukamoto is an actor (he's the antagonistic "Metals Fetishist" here as well as Jijii in Ichi the Killer) as well as a ground-breaking writer/director/cinematographer. Tetsuo's influence can be seen clearly in directors as diverse as Darren Aronofsky, Takashi Miike, and even David Cronenberg.

There is definitely a plot, but due to the non-linear editing and sparsity of dialogue you'll need to pay close attention on a first viewing or else you'll be overwhelmed by the engrossing visual style (which might be a good thing). It's filmed in contrasty black-and-white. Each frame is cramped and chaotic, much of the time it's filled with wires, pipes, chain-link fences, and all the other incidental debris of life in the late 20th century... which suddenly seems significant and even menacing.

Towards the fifty-minute mark (it's 67 min. total) the willful excess starts to feel a little too excessive, perhaps the manga influence is a bit too strong. But Tetsuo finishes strong, with an end that's at once unexpected and inevitable. Highly recommended.


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