I just watched one of the most hilariously bad movies I have ever seen. I had seen it once before but at that time I had a bit too much to drink and fell asleep so I didn't remember anything specific about it. When I saw it available cheap on Amazon I threw it on another order to get free shipping.
The title of this cinematic treasure is Super Infra-Man (released as Infra-Man in the US), and it comes to us courtesy of the Shaw Brothers of Hong Kong. Apparently Ultra-Man was very successful in Hong Kong so they figured they could mix it up with Kung Fu and get...a spastic train wreck of a movie. Toss in a bizarre English dub that renames all the characters for no reason, makes the film make even less sense than it already did (my copy has the original Mandarin version as well) and, in one scene, actually forgets to dub several lines of dialog.
The film begins with a family driving along who suddenly see a monster. They stop, the monster disappears, then a huge crack appears in the road and swallows the car with Dad in it (Mom and the kids get out). Next we get a scene with people running around some cardboard buildings which are on fire. These two scenes are meant to represent that monsters are attacking all over the world and killing millions. Professor Cheng (Liu in the Chinese version) arrives at the Science Center to find a throng of reporters asking him what's going on; having no answers, he blows them off and goes inside, where he receives a transmission from the evil Princess Dragon Mom (Elzebub in the Chinese), who demands (surprise!) that mankind surrender. When she is refused, she, her flabby assistant SheDemon (WitchEye), a bunch of expendable minions in skeleton suits (called "skeletons" in the original, called "hey you" in the dub) and some mutant monsters (who have names in the original but are also just referred to as "you" in the dub, even though the original US version had a scene in the credits giving them all new names) attack the Science Center where the Professor is operating on Rei Ma to turn him into Infra-man, because only a superhero can save the earth now.
According to the Wikipedia page on this crap, several prominent critics gave this good reviews, which boggles my mind. Don't get me wrong, the movie is entertaining if, like me, you like bad films (or if you're a five-year-old). Some Japanese companies helped with sets and costumes. I will say, most of the sets are pretty good. The costumes are another matter, particularly the ones for the monsters, which would embarass a fifth-grader going trick-or-treating. There are also some incredibly stupid things in this movie. For example, early on the bad guys capture one of the Science Center guys and brainwash him, then send him back. Based on his behavior he could have a sign on his chest saying "I've been brainwashed" but even though Rei Ma is suspicious and someone is told to watch him, he is allowed to move freely about so he can steal the plans for Infra-Man. Man, even Killers From Space* wasn't that stupid. Then there's the sound effects. Whenever there's a fight scene, the punches and karate chops are made to sound like car doors slamming-even when they don't land. There were scenes where I actually wondered if the foley guys were watching the film when they did their work. The special effects are lame as well. Every time Rei Ma transforms, he suddenly seems to teleport to where he stands in front of a blue backdrop. I actually wonder if they intended to use a blue-screen process then forgot to finish it by matting in the proper background. After this we get a shot of Infra-Man lying on a (clearly visible) glass table to simulate flight, even though he has nowhere to go as the enemy is right in front of him. He also has a number of super powers with varying degrees of silliness. The one I like is his special kick move, which he has to charge up by doing (at least three) back flips. Then rockets shoot out of his heels, but instead of sending him flying backwards as the laws of physics would indicate, he flies toward his enemy and blows them up. One of the great moments in the English dub-a Moment of Zen, if you will-is where the Professor tells Rei Ma he will give Infra-Man Thunder Ball Fists; Rei Ma replies "I can have such a thing?".
Needless to say, good triumphs over evil in the end, but not before one final bit of stupidity from Our Hero. Facing the evil Dragon Mom in her Dragon form (another silly costume), Infra-Man uses the Deadly Light Blades installed in his Flashing Thunder Fists to cut her head off, only to have it grow back. So he cuts it off again, and it grows back again, and again...five times he has to do this before he gets the drift and uses his Thunder Ball Fists (come on, do you think they would make a big deal about them and not use them?).
If you like movies that are insanely bad, then you should definitely check this one out. The DVD also includes a metric ton of trailers; unfortunately, most are in Chinese with no subtitles. There is also an interview with the director but that is a .pdf and you'll need to stick the disc in your computer to read it.
*In Killers From Space a nuclear scientist dies in a plane crash and is resurrected and brainwashed by aliens. When he shows up at the base with no memory and a scar on his chest, he is first confined to the hospital and then sent home, as he is regarded as a security risk. Mind you, this does not stop him from stealing the data, but at least they try (if you've never seen this piece of cowflop, know that it is one of the worst sci-fi movies ever-if you must see for yourself I recommend the Film Crew version).
You look at it, I'm bitter.