Monday, December 28, 2009

The Turkish Superman (1979)

The Turkish Superman

Turkey 1979 colour

Fullscreen, in Turkish with English subtitles

aka Süpermen Dönüyor/”Supermen Return”

Director Kunt Tulgar

Cast Tayfun Demir (Tayfun/Süpermen), Güngör Bayrak (Alev), Esref Kolçak (Profesor Hetin), Yildirim Gencer (Ekrem)

Welcome to filmmaking in a country that doesn’t subscribe to international copyright laws. Welcome to an industry that stole from its Hollywood masters out of sheer survival. Welcome to the wild, wild world of Turksploitation, and welcome to another glorious plundering of late 70s Hollywood, and you have to admire the tenacity of a producer trying to do a Hollywood special effects blockbuster for the price of a can of crab juice. It’s Supermen Return, or affectionately known as The Turkish Superman, featuring a man of steel so odd looking and so expressionless you’d swear he was one of those hypno-dolls hiding behind an enormous pair of toy spectacles.

Plot-wise it’s a direct rip: Superboy’s dispatched from his crumbling planet of Krypton, and is found by a kindly Turkish couple who raise him as their own and call him Tayfun. Once the secret of his past is revealed, he goes to work for a newspaper next to a gorgeous Margot Kidder substitute named Alev, whose father just happens to be Professor Metin specializing in the properties of kryptonite. Naturally there’s an arch villain (complete with villainous black duffle coat) who wants the kryptonite for his alchemy machine, and thus begins an endless succession of kidnappings – first the girl, then the professor, then Superman himself, who’s slowly learning to harness his abilities, including the power to see through women’s clothing.

Is it as bad as it sounds? Well, that depends on your concept of awful. Let’s just say it’s deliriously bad, in the best possible way, and for all its cheapdash chicanery and assiness, it does have an effective moment or two of action. You haven’t lived, people, till you’ve seen the Turkish Superman rear projected onto a dark room full of Christmas decorations, or heard distorted music thieved from at least six James Bond films – and of course the 1978 Superman. Seriously, if Christopher Reeves was alive today he’d be spinning in his wheelchair, and that’s exactly what your head will be doing as we head with capes flying into Turksploitation country with The Turkish Superman. (Andrew Leavold)

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