Superman Returns/Review

From The Grindhouse Cinema Database

< Superman Returns

If you were expecting a review of 2007’s multi-million dollar Bryan Singer directed super-hero snooze-a-thon then you better wake up and smell the Kryptonite because those crazy Turks beat the U.S. to the box office by almost 30 years. Yes in 1979 the majestically monikered Kunt Tulgar directed the real ‘Superman Returns’.

Country boy Tayfun has just graduated from school and plans to head off to the big city and a career in journalism. Before bidding him a tearful farewell his parents have a confession to make. ‘You are not our real son’ his father tells him. ‘We found you inside a rocket-shaped machine in our garden’ says his mother. Tayfun appears completely unimpressed by this revelation even when his mother places a glowing green lump of Kryptonite rock in his palm. ‘I want to go to my room’ he says.

Faster than a speeding bullet Tayfun packs his suitcase and departs, Kryptonite in hand. He heads to a cave where the green rock explodes and a vision of his real father, wearing a glittery sweater emblazoned with a big letter ‘S’, appears to inform him of his cosmic heritage and accompanying super powers. We soon see that these include the ability to manipulate the keys on a typewriter with telekinesis and seeing through ladies clothes via x-ray vision.

Cut to a newspaper office in the big smoke. Tayfun is sweet for the beautiful Alev; the Turkish Lois Lane. Alev’s scientist father is working on a formula which will turn a Kryptonite meteor into a source of sustainable energy. A colleague of the Professor’s named Ekrem has invented a machine which, when powered by the Kryptonite, will turn any metal into gold and cause people to explode. Desperate to get his hands on the Professor’s formula Ekrem has Alev kidnapped but Tayfun swiftly pulls his underwear on over his blue tights and takes off in pursuit.

Turkish Superman Pic001.jpg Turkish Superman Pic002.jpg Turkish Superman Pic003.jpg

Scenes of Super-Tayfun flying are achieved via the special effects technique of projecting footage of random buildings and boats passing by on a wall behind him or else with a plastic Superman action figure held up in front of said scenes. Alev is saved but the Professor’s formula is stolen. On witnessing the Son of Krypton take flight for the first time Alev promptly faints. Viewers may be inclined to do the same.

The Kryptonite is being kept at the Arkeoloji Muzeleri (that’s the Museum of Archaeology to any non-Turkish speakers in the audience) and next it’s the Professors turn to be ‘napped - Ekrem’s goons threatening to kill him if his daughter doesn’t hand over the special K. Appreciative attention should be paid at this point to the quality and selection of moustaches sported by said goon squad; these fellas sure know how to cultivate a set of handlebars I’m telling ya.

Super-Tayfun swoops down and floors the ‘tash gang then proceeds to do exactly what it says on the tin by catching a speeding bullet in his bare hand. The Turkish man of steel is gonna need all the cosmic powers at his disposal in the film’s all action climax if he’s to succeed in averting a fatal train collision and disable Ekrem’s deadly Kryptonite-ray doohickey.

Just when you think you’ve seen it all: Mexican wrestlers vs. Aztec mummies; Tokyo attacked by a giant moth; a girl vomit up her entire intestinal tract (thanks Maestro Fulci). Just when you think that nothing is going to surprise you, the well-travelled cinephage with your jaded addiction to the bizarre, ever again . . . then you discover Turkish genre movies and suddenly your jaw is back on the floor.

‘Superman Returns’ is one wacky fish – the acting is pure daytime soap opera with a side order of ham, the fight scenes enthusiastically slapstick and the special effects utterly inept. The editing of both images and music is mind-bendingly manic and illogical and only serves to intensify the films irreverent, chaotic charm. It borrows liberally from the musical score of Richard Donner’s 1978 Superman movie - recycling footage, characters or music from Hollywood hits being commonplace in a lot of Turkish sci-fi and action films. The famous James Bond theme even appears in one scene. Obviously the film cannot hope to compete with the U.S. blockbuster on any technical terms but it is insanely entertaining none the less and I know which of the 2 I would rather be watching.

Fans of Weng Weng, El Santo & Jaka Sembung will want to add the Turkish Superman to their roster of international superhero favourites. Thumbs up Kunt!


Narcan is the GCDb's esteemed UK contributor. As a youth his earliest exploitation film experience was a My Bloody Valentine/The Funhouse midnight double bill. Grindhouse icons that he holds in highest regards are Christina Lindberg and Frank Henelotter. Two of his favorite exploitation genres include Nunsploitation and Lucha Libre.

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