Okay, okay, Dr. Freex
admits it - he loves kung fu films. Not just any chop-socky "Master,
he insulted our schoolPOW WHACK CRUNCH", but the really over-the-top
ones. He also has a soft spot in his heart for ungainly rubber monsters
(and if you're reading this, chances are, you do too). And superheroes.
So he loves Inframan.
Let us ignore the fact
that this film is apparently made up of episodes of a television series.
Let us ignore the fact that this TV series is an obvious rip-off of
the Japanese Ultraman. And let us definitely ignore the fact
that the prefix infra- means "under", as in "Infrastructure".
("Look! It is Underman!" just doesn't have the same
Who cares? This movie
I first saw this when
I took my little brother to see it at a drive-in movie when it was first
released in 1975. As I recall, the second movie on the double bill was
The Towering Inferno. It was a memorable evening of bad cinema.
It seems the relentlessly evil Princess
Dragon Mom (Terry Liu) has been sacked out at the center of the earth
for ten million years, and she and her monster gang have gotten up on
the wrong side of the bed, big time: mankind, which evolved during her
nap, is given the choice of slavery or destruction. Luckily for us all,
the brilliant Professor Chang (Wang Hsieh) has just enough time to turn
the heroic Science Policeman Rayma (Li Hsiu-Hsien, Mr. Fists of Fury
himself) into the powerful cyborg Inframan!
Dragon Mom has a seemingly
inexhaustable supply of Skull Warriors (read: cannon fodder) and about eight rubber-suited
nasties as her heavy hitters, and a nearly non-stop kickass-athon follows.
Of course, Rayma, being the hero, knows kung fu - but so do all the
monsters! We pause for plot development every now and then, but
never for very long. There's something about Chang's dead wife. Rayma's
pal Chu Ming is hypnotized by the eyes painted onto the palms of the
She-Demon, and betrays everyone. Dragon Mom then throws him into a lava
pit, 'cause she doesn't like traitors. She has apparently read Management
Secrets of Vlad the Impaler.
Naturally, the professor
and his daughter (Yuan Man-Tzu) are captured, Inframan has fun stormin'
the castle, gets frozen, and realizes how to get out of this predicament
by having a flashback to a scene we have never seen before. Dragon
Mom seeks to exploit the knowledge Chu Ming stole for her - that IM's
weak spot is his hands - but ha ha! the wily
Chang has installed the devastating Thunderbolt Fist since that set
of blueprints! IM proceeds to wipe the floor with all and sundry! A
good time was had by all! -30-!
It is impossible to approach
Inframan as anything else but what it was meant to be - cheesy
fun. This ain't art, it's Entertainment, pure and simple. A lot of attention
has been directed over the last few years at Hong Kong cinema, largely
(I believe) for just that reason - they still know how to have fun.
Thank God Joseph Brenner brought
this over in 1975. Had it been discovered today, they'd have slapped
some Anglo teen gymnast/bad actor in the title role and cut all the
fight scenes back into the new footage, as any number of Saban cannibalizations
Don't get me started.
Just don't get me started.