Sunday, October 15, 2006

Super Inframan Returns

Finally! A domestic release of one of my very favourite insane action films on DVD - The Super Inframan, 1975's Hong Kong ripoff of Japan's Ultraman, which I knew as Infra-Man when growing up. Back at the 1979 TIFF (back when it was the Festival of Festivals) Infra-Man was shown as part of the amazing 'Buried Treasures' sidebar, programmed by no less a man than Roger Ebert, who knows camp when he sees it.

The film can best be described as a cross between a sci-fi kung-fu monster movie and an episode of H.R. Puf'n'Stuf. Ebert described the titular hero (played by future HK star Danny "Inspector" Lee) as "a bionic combination of Bruce Lee, Superman and a pocket calculator". He saves the world from the evil Princess Dragon Mom and her army of demons, including bad guys in skeletal suits on motorbikes, a giant blob on legs and robots with fists that fly off their arms on springs.

Super Inframan came out a year or so ago in Asia as part of Celestial Pictures' massive restoration and DVD release of the entire Shaw Brothers catalogue - the Region 3 version was only in Cantonese and Mandarin. But the fine people at Image Entertainment picked up the rights to about 70 Shaw titles for NTSC release, including this one, and have in their wisdom included the crazy English language track for our version. It's probably the only film I prefer to watch dubbed.

Here's a Bin Laden-esque transmission from Princess Dragon Mom, culled from the old panned-and-scanned VHS - now imagine this presented in full-blooded ShawScope! Run, don't walk...

Thanks, Avary!

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