Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Super Inframan (1975)



I'm sure no one, not even Eiji Tsuburaya , would expect what was gonna happen after the TV-series Ultra Q (1965) and it's spin-off, Ultraman (1966). No one knew the legal hassle that would follow in Thailand and with Sompote Sands and nowadays even the oldest fart actually believes that Power Rangers is an American only product. But in-between all this Shaw Brothers decided to try their luck in the Tokusatsu-genre with the absurd, crazy and 100 % wild The Super Inframan - with a little help from Japanese cinematographer Tadashi Nishimoto and Ekisu Productions who did a lot of costumes and special effects for Toei during this time.

Demon Princess Elzebub (Terry Liu) wants to conquer the earth and after destroying a couple of cities just to show her power she unleashes a (small) army of monsters, The Skeleton Ghosts and Ice Monsters, to take care of the rest. What she don't know is that Science Headquarters has been working on a secret weapon, Super Inframan - based on the body and mind of high ranking officer Lei Ma (Danny Lee). When the Plant Monster attacks their secret base Super Inframan must get into business fast and soon he and his merry men is fighting rubber monster after rubber monster, all more dangerous than the one before!

The Super Inframan is a fantastic production, carefully copying Japanese shows like Ultraman and Kamen Rider, but still keeping a Hong Kongnese identity with lots of kung fu and a nice cast consisting of - among others - Danny Lee and Bruce Lee-wannabe Bruce Le. Even if it has two scenes with big monsters, this is not the vision with the movie. Instead it's human-sized monsters dominating and having close-up battles with both Super Inframan and his colleagues at the Science Headquarters. The energy is even higher than the Japanese counterparts with tons and tons of fighting and melodrama that takes a new turn every fifth minute or so. It's a very colourful film with imaginative monsters and action around every corner.

What I miss is the giant monsters. Sure, we have the Spider Monster doing a battle with Super Inframan at some desolate place, just crashing a few electrical lines - and the Plant Monster is doing his stuff at the beginning - not to forget the footage of burning and destroyed cities, but that's about it. All the other monsters stay true to their size and seems happy with just lurking in the bushes and attacking our heroes when they least expect it. This doesn't mean it's a cool and awesome movie, but those expecting big monsters should be prepared and ready for a minor disappointment.

This is what I call a movie you should be watching with friends, like almost every form of Tokusatsu p. It's made for being a social movie, something that will be even more enjoyable and brilliant together with other fans of the same kind. It's not a deep story and there's not even an hint of a message (not what I could detect), which is quite nice sometimes. Everywhere it's mentioned that Goliathon (aka The Mighty Peking Man) is some sort of a sequel to this one, and while it's a brilliant and crazy monster movie I never found any really proof for this. It's just a monster movie set in China, just like this one (ah, and once again Danny Lee in the lead - but without using his Super Inframan powers) and I highly recommend you all to watch it - and squeeze in The Oily Maniac if you want an awesome triple feature!

2 comments:

Gekko P. said...

Nothing compared to real good tokusatsu, but I still love it. First and unique example of a mix between HK and Japan sci-fi.

Anonymous said...

"The Super Inframan is a fantastic production, carefully copying Japanese shows like Ultraman and Kamen Rider, but still keeping a Hong Kongnese identity with lots of kung fu"

Watching that trailer made me very happy, looks like a entertaining film.


"The energy is even higher than the Japanese counterparts with tons and tons of fighting and melodrama that takes a new turn every fifth minute or so. It's a very colourful film with imaginative monsters and action around every corner."

Yeah, looks like it.


"and I highly recommend you all to watch it - and squeeze in The Oily Maniac if you want an awesome triple feature!"

You lucky bastard....you have seen Oily Maniac..?

I heard good things about that film.

Great review, ninja, this is kind film I will be looking for.

Megatron