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中國超人 (1975)
The Super Inframan

Reviewed by: calros
Date: 03/10/2012
Summary: Inframovie

This movie is worse than the Japanese Sci-Fi TV series from the 60s. It is a show for kids, and that means that the adults will not understand some points of the story and, even worse, they will have nightmares at night. The characterizations of the monsters are cheapy muppets, the F/X are stupid (excepting the sequences of the enlarging of the monsters and the Inframan which are very well done), the set decorations are naive and the action scenes are boring. But the worse thing about this movie is its script: clumsy and too much childish.
I only made a review of this movie because I do not want it be highly scored with an average of 8 points when actually it only deserves an average of 3.

Reviewer Score: 3

Reviewed by: ewaffle
Date: 02/20/2010
Summary: Silly and fun

“Inframan” gives us a pretty good idea of the type of movie about to unspool in the first few seconds when what looks like (and probably was) a plastic model of bird flops to the ground in front of a bus full of kids. Their chaperone and the kids escape but the brave driver falls straight into hell through the cracks in the earth from the bird.

The bird is harbinger not of spring but of the evil Princess Elzibub who has come from outer space to take over the world. Monsters, skeleton men and a very comely second in command will make sure her wishes are carried out. The monsters are reminiscent of those devised by Maurice Sendak in “Where the Wild Things Are” or even his sets for the opera “The Magic Flute”. There is non-stop action as the outnumbered and outgunned defenders of earth face the seemingly inexhaustible force of the princess. The action scenes aren’t very good as such—since everyone is wearing some type of costume and some (the Mutant Drill, the Plant Monster and several Snow Monsters are encumbered with heavy, clunky outfits that don’t lend themselves to the stances, punches and kicks of traditional Shaw Brothers martial arts, although that is what they have been given to do.

The worst special effect is the wig worn by Wang Hsieh which looks strange and makes him look ridiculous. The wig, which shifts position slightly from one scene to the next, combined with an outrageously campy costume which is highlighted by a three-quarters length lab coat made of a shiny fabric, contrasting epaulets and Edwardian cut lapels don’t really give him the gravitas needed for his character, a brilliant scientist who is also a brilliant military strategist. Terry Lau Wai-Yue goes him one better, wearing a black plastic minidress, with a gold belt that has a huge gold skull as its buckle, knee high boots, elbow length gloves, a headdress with horns and a beak plus a vest that has large golden claws over her breasts. Dana’s costume is in the same vein but of silver and without quite so many horns and beaks.

The skeleton men wear black tights with bright white bones painted or sewn onto them. They carry what might be a unique weapon—at least one I hadn’t seen before. It looks like a short spear but instead of a traditional spearhead it has a bulbous ball at the end with a sharp point coming from that. They are used as clubs, occasionally as spears, but their real usefulness comes when the skeleton man is cornered—it turns out that the ball is actually a bomb which explodes when smashed against an opponent or anything else. Clearly this use of the weapon would be as a last resort since it destroys itself in being used.

The monsters (Drill, Plant, Ice) don’t rely on weapons—each of them has a powerful ray that shoots from this hands, his horns or his feet, immobilizing or killing whoever it hits. These rays are counteracted by Inframan’s—he is designed to be immune to thunder, water and fire plus deadly rays. He also has X-ray type vision and a special way of seeing that allows him to find a monster that has made himself invisible.

It is all good fun although the editor made a couple of bad mistakes when he included some extreme close-ups of the monsters, showing seams and stitching in the fabric costumes. Even without this none of the monsters are frightening as such although the Plant Monster who invades the research center with acid spewing and self regenerating tentacle like branches and roots is a worthy movie demon.

For years I had seen “Inframan” on the HKMDB list of Top 25 Films and ignored it as an error. Having seen it I agree with those who rate it highly—it is a lighthearted, funny, action-packed piece of cinematic fluff which never takes itself seriously.

Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: dandan
Date: 11/21/2006
Summary: crappy-tastical!!!

if you're familiar with the japanese films / tv series of 'ultraman' and 'kamen rider', then you'll know what to expect with hong kong's 'the super inframan'. this is a campy sci-fi action film, that focuses on a group of evil, rubber suited mutants, frozen during the last ice-age: now they're back and, lead by princess elzibub (lau wai-yue), they want to take over the world.

luckily professor lui (wang hsieh) has been working on the design of an inframan and rayma (a young danny lee) is willing to have the professor's bionic implants inserted into his body, turning him into the super inframan!!! now, he's our only hope...

now, on one hand, there's some pretty cool effects, nice costumes and fancy set design, on the other hand, there's some pretty crappy effects, ridiculous costumes and cardboard looking sets. the film is short (84 minutes) and it manages to cram in three pretty long action sequences, along with the tiniest bits of story and little, to no, character development.

danny lee does some good work, especially when all his jumping around and fighting is done in a red rubber suit, that i can't imagine was particularly comfortable. a special mention goes to dana, who play's the evil princess's henchwoman, 'witch eye'; she's strangely foxy in an evil way...

silly, silly, fun, fun!!!

Reviewed by: j.crawford
Date: 10/15/2006
Summary: cooler than cool

The Super Inframan is the guiltiest of all my guilty pleasures. Images from this film are always somewhere in my mind's eye and sometimes pop out at the strangest, most inappropriate moments. Director Hua Shan handles the material with verve unmatched.
The film features a young, handsome Danny Lee Sau-Yin in one of his early leading roles. The whole film is just cooler than cool.

Reviewer Score: 9

Reviewed by: mrblue
Date: 09/17/2005

A group of monsters led by the evil Princess Elzibub are taking over the world, and only Inframan can stop them. That's about the depth of the plot. Super Inframan was developed by the Shaw Brothers studio as a Chinese version of the popular Japanese children's show "Ultraman", and it's pretty shameless in ripping off that program, right down to the transformation sequences where Danny Lee (yes, he plays something other than a cop here) becomes the pumped-up hero.

Even though this is first and foremost a "kid's movie", it's still pretty fun for adults. The picture is unintentionally hilarious; some of the monsters (which include a giant plant, some weird thing with drills for hands, and a hot lady with eyes on her palms) are so ridiculous that they have to be seen to be believed. And the script -- oh, the script -- I'm really surprised that the actors managed to deliver some of the lines in here with a straight face. Of course, there's also the stock characters, like the mandatory cute-girl-in-distress and the dreaded annoying kid, which provide plenty of laughs as you wonder exactly why Inframan would bother saving them.

But despite the cheese factor and low budget, Super Inframan still manages to deliver some solid action, especially considering that it's guys fighting in big rubber suits for the most part. I also enjoyed some of the set and character designs -- all in all, the movie does have a kind of cool visual style. And really, it brought back some nice memories of sitting around the TV on Saturday afternoons, watching the latest monster flick. As long as you don't try to attempt to take Super Inframan seriously in any way, you should have a good time with it. At the very least, it provides some excellent "Mystery Science Theatre" fodder to go along with a few adult beverages.

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Reviewed by: MrBooth
Date: 06/20/2004
Summary: If any film deserves the title "Camp Classic" this is it.

Before watching this film I'd never considered the question "Is it possible for a single film to be both the best and the worst film in the world?". Whilst it's probably over-generous to suppose that director Hua Shan set out to answer this question in 1975, THE SUPER INFRAMAN is definitely a candidate for the award. The name sums it up perfectly - the Japanese created ULTRAMAN as one step up from the American SUPERMAN, so in response Hong Kong created INFRAMAN - which would be one step beneath a normal human being, technically speaking But, a "Super Inframan" is presumably a man so crap he becomes incredibly good... which sums the film up nicely. So stupid it's brilliant, so ridiculous it's inspired, and so cheesy it's.... well, just incredibly cheesy

The plot appears to be that a group of ordinary humans were buried beneath the earth during the last ice age, where they adapted to the harsh environment and became monsters. 10,000 years later they decide that being buried under the earth is getting a bit old, and break out to enslave the human race. Luckily a Chinese research scientist has prepared for just such an event, and created a technology capable of transforming a human being into an incredibly powerful Inframan. Danny Lee is picked as the subject for the experiment, which as luck would have it works rather well.

I haven't seen the Japanese ULTRAMAN to see how the HK interpretation compares, but the Shaw Brothers definitely struck gold with this film. It's a mad mad film, with a crazed villain that looks like a Valkyrie and her army of monsters with rubber suits and silly names like "Mutant Drill", engaged in open warfare with the team of scientists and their kung-fu powrered Inframan protector. The film has pretty high production values, with some great sets and sometimes great special effects, and more cheesiness and stupidity than any film has a right to contain. It's full of quotable lines (mostly from the villainess) and fantasy action... sublimely ridiculous. If any film deserves the title "Camp Classic" this is it.

Ultimately, THE SUPER INFRAMAN is neither the best nor the worst film in the world, but it's a hugely entertaining piece of trash that is guaranteed to bring a smile to the viewer's face

Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: mpongpun
Date: 11/15/2003

If you like Japanese superheroes such as Jet Jaguar, Kamen Rider, and Ultraman, then this movie is for you! This flick was a Japanese co-production with Ekisu Productions as they helped provide the Shaw Brothers with the Infra-man costumes. Ekisu productions are the folks who made up the Kamen Rider costumes. Don't think that the Shaw's were trying to rip off the Japanese super heroes because they weren't. It was the Shaw's way of making a Chinese Superhero as the Chinese title suggests. Who needs Japanese Henshin heroes in China anyways? Nevertheless, the Inframan has a nice fanboy base in Japan. Any hoots, Princess Dragon Mom (Terry Lau Wai Yue) and her mass of mutants decide to take over the world. Luckily for the world, a genius professor (Wang Hsieh) has been working on his lifetime project which he calls the "Infra-Man". With little time to lose, the good professor gets one of his men, Rayma(played by Danny Lee), to become the Infra-man so that he can save the world from Princess Dragon Mom and her minions. This flick is one of the few times that the Shaw Brothers decided to delve into the Sci-Fi market. So enjoy Infra-man's thunderbolt fist and rocket kicks. See him flip and battle monsters while you can!

Reviewed by: pjshimmer
Date: 04/21/2002
Summary: unconventional Shaw Brothers

It's going to be a blast if you like ultraman, Power rangers, and those kind of things. but if you DON'T LIKE ULTRAMAN, then you probably should stay away from this movie. This isn't too different from an episode of Power Rangers (except it was made 20 years before), so there's really nothing new that you can look forward to. There are some kung fu, but those can be spotted on a typical PR episode too. All in all, not too bad, but not too good. Much worse than I expected -- but really, I should have known better.


Reviewed by: Inframan
Date: 10/29/2001
Summary: Not a dull moment in this movie.

This is one of my all time favorites. Its an Ultraman rip off but it has lots of what made Ultraman great. A campy villan, monsters, tons of action and bad dubbing.

It has a lot more action than the Japanese genre its copying, to bad the Shaw brothers didn't make any more Toku movies.

Reviewed by: hellboy
Date: 08/30/2000

A really fun movie that demonstrates how sheer insanity can overcome any budget. The green plant monster guy has green sneakers on, you can see the seam behind most of the monster costumes, and the total special effects budget looked like it cost $50 but this only helps to accentuate the film. This movie has everything you ever thought was cool about Ultraman, Godzilla, and Jet Jaguar combined! Inframan does crazy backflips! He has lasers! But most importantly he has his Thunderball Fists! I only wish they would release a good print of it here in the US. In US videotape versions, what was meant to be widescreen was cropped on the sides so during some of the climactic battles that involve Inframan shooting his enemies with lasers, you only see the laser and not the combatants! One can only hope that this film will get the same treatment that Mighty Peking Man received about a year ago, and get released back in theaters and on dvd! Plus it's funny to see a young Danny Lee in a shiny jumpsuit. 9/10

Reviewer Score: 9

Reviewed by: battlemonkey
Date: 12/21/1999

In the future, the earth is attacked by a blonde Chinese womannamed Princess Dragon Mom, who uses an army of mutants to wreak havoc. The relatively useless defense team of the earth creates Infra-man, a super-powered costumed hero, to defeat the creatures. Shaw Brother's only (that I know of) excursion into sci-fi is a load of fun, especially if you are also a fan of Japanese sci-fi shows like KAMEN RIDER and ULTRAMAN. Lots of kung fu and outlandish creatures and romping about in silly outfits. Must be seen to be believed.

Reviewed by: Brad.Daniels
Date: 12/09/1999

I saw this one in theatres years ago. It's a great spoof of Japanese monster movies. I was surprised to learn it was made by the Shaw Brothers.

Reviewer Score: 8