26. "Infra-Man/The Super Infra-Man" (1975), Directed by Shan Hua
I'm not a big martial arts fan, but I love this movie. It looks like "Mighty Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers", but predates it by many years and is way better. Not better because it's less cheesy or more serious, but because it's cheesy in a superior way, if you can wrap your heard around that idea. It's about an alien princess with Power Rangers-esque monster henchmen who wants to enslave the human race/take over the world, and a scientist who builds a cyborg suit for his heroic friend to wear so he can save the world by defeating she and her monsters.
I once read a quote that said all Jackie Chan movies are like porn, in that you sit through the dialog-heavy scenes between the fighting scenes bored, impatiently waiting for the next action sequence. In this movie, I sometimes had the opposite reaction as I actually found a lot of the fighting more tedious and enjoyed the dialog scenes more because they were so amusing. Some of the fight scenes were really entertaining too, though. It was always fun to see Infra-Man do a bunch of flips (for no apparent reason) before swinging into action, fly with his rocket boots, and cross his wrists to shoot lasers.
I love the charmingly low-rent special effects that show the earth being ripped open as the villain wreaks havoc, her goofy-looking monsters skulking around, and the hero using his crazy powers, but the dialog is what elevates this movie most. I'm usually vehemently opposed to dubbing, but it really is an asset to this movie. Even in the Chinese version of the movie, the names of the characters and their words are delightfully wacky, but both are so much better in the English dubbed version. For example, the villain becomes "Princess Dragon Mom" instead of "Princess Elzebub" and we get priceless exchanges like this.
Scientist (to group of government officials): "Things are so bad, they're worse than they've ever been."
Scientist: "Ten thousand people have died!"
Government Official: "Oh."
When Siskel and Ebert talked about the movie after they'd both seen it, Siskel singled out that last line as especially memorable, and I agree with him wholeheartedly. That line made a scene in the original that was played totally straight one of the funnier ones in a movie full of funny scenes, and it was all thanks to dubbing. One reason I'll always be indebted to Roger Ebert as a movie fanatic is because of his championing movies like this. He raved about it both in a print review and on the "Siskel & Ebert" show (twice!), and I'm so glad he did. He and Siskel's affection for this movie and its ridiculousness inspired me to track it down, and watching it was one of my best movie-related experiences this past summer.
Edited by Naisu Baddi - 11/8/11 at 4:45am