Foreign film gone horribly wrong:
Starring Cüneyt Arkın, Aytekin Akkaya, and Füsun Uçar
Written by Cüneyt Arkın
Directed by Çetin Inanç
This review is posted along with a review done by Nate of Million Monkey Theatre. The theme for our (very small) roundtable is Foreign Rip-Offs of Big Budget Western Movies. I've chosen the infamous "Turkish Star Wars", while Nate has chosen The New Barbarians, which is an Italian imitation of The Road Warrior. The title, Dünyayı Kurtaran Adam, translates into "The Man Who Saves the World." You may have heard of this movie, more commonly known in the western world as "Turkish Star Wars" because the movie steals a lot of footage from George Lucas' extra-popular movie. I knew it would be difficult to review because it's subtitled, and the movie might better be understood in its native language.
Of course, that was before I showed the movie to someone I know who speaks fluent Turkish. She told me this movie was ridiculous and didn't make any sense. So here it is.
Our story begins with a somewhat bizarre credit sequence. The titles appear hand-drawn on a black sheet that scrolls up past the camera, and can be difficult to read. Over this plays some loud, synthetic-sounding music that I do not think is original to the movie. Perhaps it was added to my copy. The lead actor, Cüneyt Arkın, is apparently a big name over there as well as a trained medical doctor. He should stick to medicine.
The credits soon end, and we're presented with the first of many baffling sequences of assembled stock footage. We see what appears to be some kind of throne, a Russian rocket taking off, and then some sort of planet approach the camera. We also hear the theme song to the old Battlestar Galactica TV show. Right away, this movie is totally unoriginal...
An unseen narrator explains the progression of humanity from our current stage into something called "The Galaxy Age". It doesn't make much sense, really, but I'll accept it for the sake of the movie. It takes hundreds of thousands of years to do it, but eventually humans are living on many planets living simple but happy lives. It's here that we see many shots lifted directly from Star Wars: Rebels wandering around a hangar, X-Wing and Tie Fighters flying around space (and no, I didn't know those names off the top of my head, I had to research them), and the Death Star gliding towards Alderaan.
Fig. 1 - Look familiar?
The scenes have little to do with what Narrator is saying; it's just eye candy, I guess. Anyway, humans were working at this point to learn the secret of immortality. However, at the time a process of nuclear weaponization and some intermittent wars of some kind were gradually causing the Earth to physically break apart into small pieces that floated away in space. So, the simple people were engaged in an arms race with each other? I wonder what Reagan and Gorbachov would make of this. The narrator tells us that "The War" was accelerating. What war? The Earth started falling apart very quickly for some reason when a new enemy appeared, a "strong and secret" one. Nobody knew where this enemy was hiding. Why is he our enemy? What is he doing? We'll never find out, because Narrator is asking the same questions! However, the Earth people had a secret weapon.
This secret weapon? It's a layer of compressed human brain molecules protecting the Earth from external attack.
I promise, I'm not wrong about it, and my Turkish-speaking friend agrees. The movie says that. A layer of brain molecules. You're telling me that a layer of various carbon compounds and water is keeping the Earth safe from alien attack? There's no point in trying to understand the movie, it seems. But let's put this aside for a moment. Narrator already pointed out to us that the Earth was disintegrating inside this shield. What's the point of a shield if the planet is already falling apart? Watching the movie at this point, I realized I was going to have a headache.
The whole time we hear this, we get to watch repeated segments of footage lifted directly from Star Wars. Unfortunately, whereas Star Wars was filmed in a wide-screen format, Dünyayı Kurtaran Adam was not, so the stolen footage is squashed horizontally to fit in the frame. The Death Star, which we see, looks like the Death Oval.
Anyway, the dreaded enemy could not penetrate our shield because they "did not have brains." I do love the blunt translation. However, no human warrior sent out to fight the enemy ever returned. The various tribes of humans banded together to try and fight this evil force. It would be nice if Narrator told us whether this bad guy had a uniting effect on the human race, but never mind.
And so, we meet our two heroes. They are Murat (Cüneyt Arkın) and Ali (Aytekin Akkaya), sitting in front of a rear-projection screen running disjointed images from Star Wars. They also wear motorcycle helmets to indicate that they are inside some kind of space fighter craft. Narrator is careful to point out that they are Turkish. After all, that makes all the difference.
From there, we cut to the dreaded enemy stalking about inside some strange subterranean-looking hideout. He is wearing a ridiculous costume: random swatches of fabric thrown over himself, some miscellaneous armour, a goofy hat that looks like an exaggerated police spike strip draped over his head, and a gold mask covering his face.
Fig. 2 - The Magician, antagonist of the film.
Yeah, okay. The only thing menacing here is the music, which I'm sure was stolen from another movie. Some evil looking attendants are around. The enemy, who is referred to as "The Magician" in the movie, tells us that he needs a human brain to get through the Earth's shield. If you don't question anything the movie presents to us, it goes down easier. Aren't there many humans all over the galaxy? Can't you just kidnap one and get the brain? He organized another attack upon Earth, and therefore queues up some more Star Wars footage, this time of some X-Wing fighters flying through space.
We cut back to Murat and Ali, who enter the fight in space. It's difficult to tell who the bad guys are here. You see, the movie has apparently assigned the X-Wing fighters to The Magician, but at times I thought Murat and Ali were in X-Wings. It's terrible.
And so, the great space battle of the film begins. There's lots of goofy splicing action going on here as Murat and Ali "descend" and "ascend" through the battle, something impossible in space without a frame of reference. I love how the images on the rear-projection screens behind their heads keeps cutting between unrelated action shots.
Down in the evil lair, The Magician is quite insistent about having the Earth destroyed. He simply cannot stress that enough. We see The Magician through what seems to be a narrow opening near the camera lens. Or maybe I just have tunnel vision from watching this movie.
The battle, meanwhile, seems to be heating up. Murat says something about exceeding "The Space Speed". Here be lots of inane and downright chauvinistic dialogue. Here's a sample:
Murat: "Be prepared to greet these newcomers."Yeah, there's a lot more where that came from too.
We start up with the triumphant theme from Indiana Jones as our eyes are treated to the visual effects wizardry of George Lucas in Star Wars So far, the fight is very confusing and disjointed. You have to see it to believe it.
The Magician reiterates his plan to capture a human brain and destroy the Earth. Yeah, we get it.
Suddenly, something goes wrong. An unknown force is pulling on Murat's and Ali's fighter ships. They are too far from Earth and their gauges aren't working anymore. That's kind of a useless spaceship, then, if your instruments stop working when you are far from Earth. Murat calls Ali on the radio, and a shot of an explosion suggests Ali is in trouble. There are more scenes, and some sort of explosion thing.
The Magician says that the Earth survived this time, but that eventually he will win and be the "strongest in space."
We cut to a desolate surface, random footage of dust clouds and explosions and the aurora borealis interspersed throughout. Murat and Ali gradually claw their way out of a rubble pile, covered in dust and dirt. Their spaceships are nowhere to be seen. A weird landscape surrounds them, arid looking. Very reminiscent of deserts in Turkey. Who would have thought? There are strange rock formations too. I do admit, the scenery is strange and almost alien. A loud wind sound was foleyed into the soundtrack, but looking at Murat's hair, there's only the slightest of breezes.
They emerge, and we hear music now from Planet of the Apes. Weird stone pillars loom all around them. They don't know where they are, so they start walking.
Fig. 3 - From left to right, Ali and Murat.
After some time-consuming location shots, we get to listen to Ali and Murat chat and pass the time.
Ali: "What would you think if I said I'm scared?"Yes, walking cool from a spacecraft wreck always attracts the ladies. They continue walking through the desert, until they come upon stock footage of the pyramids and the sphinx, along with hieroglyphics on a wall somewhere. They walked right into Egypt, it seems. Before I could scratch my head, Narrator saves me and says that Murat and Ali were seeing evidence of an ancient race living there (not necessarily humans) that had encountered the same unknown enemy millions of years earlier. Narrator also tells us that these ancients had nuclear weapons. It's kind of hard to tell what's going on because Narrator keeps asking questions!
So after that plot point, Ali and Murat move on, hopping over rocks and stones, chatting about the strange force that separated them from their ships, bringing them here. Didn't they crash? Naturally, their conversation wanders quite a bit.
Ali: "Can it be really true, what you said?"Ali starts whistling, and fairly loudly too because we can hear it echoing throughout the landscape all around them. It's actually quite an irritating sound. Perhaps it's a joke on the part of the filmmakers. I really can't tell.
Bad guys appear on horseback with clubs and spears, perhaps because of the whistling. They are supposed to be skeletons, but the 'bones' are merely fabric sewn onto a black costume. More Indiana Jones music kicks in, and we get to watch Murat and Ali fight the 'skeletons' for a long minute and 31 seconds. The fight choreography is awkward and wooden. There's a terrible shot of Murat dodging a spear being thrust at him. The flipping and punching is visibly sped up, and there's an obvious lack of contact with the said punches. Most distracting for me is the fact that the foleyed punching sounds somehow override the background music, so the Indiana Jones music sounds choppy and bad. Eventually, the skeletons are defeated. Murat and Ali manage to steal horses from them and ride away.
As they ride through the wastelands, we see rapid, interspersed shots of bad guys (I think) popping into the frame, wearing really cheap masks. I don't know what's going on with them, there's a devil, and a furry thing, and something that looks like a greenish Tom Baker. Just watch and smile, I'm sure it'll all be explained.
Murat and Ali ride, and ride, and ride. I noticed that Murat looks a little uncomfortable on a horse. Perhaps the actor doesn't know how to ride one.
We cut to some robots standing around somewhere, amid evil-sounding metal music. They must be nearby because they shoot little ray guns at Murat and Ali, causing our heroes to be thrown. Ali and Murat quip a little about the robots before the scene ends.
They are taken to what appears to be a quarry or some generally sloppy-looking rock formation. People are standing around watching something, and dramatic music from the James Bond film Moonraker plays.
We get an inexplicable shot of a man falling from a small cliff.
A strange robot that looks like a large pile of rubber garbage containers with a police siren on top of its head explains that the people who live here are being pitted against one another in battle to entertain the "master", a.k.a. The Magician. Murat and Ali, all tied up and surrounded by the skeletons, compare the spectacle to a circus and wax philosophical on it.
Ali: "It's like a nightmare."Is now really the time for such dramatic imagery? Come on! Anyway, the fighting men have swords and vaguely samurai-like costumes. There's lots of fake blood to be seen.
Elsewhere, The Magician is watching the fight, noting that the weak ones are dying. I guess it pleases him. Do we understand that he is evil yet? I know I do.
Murat and Ali watch the fight, looking mildly disgusted. The actor playing Murat doesn't seem to display much emotion. At this point, we cut to the large goofy-looking robot, strangling a screaming child to death while the boy's father screams and struggles before being killed by other robots. Murat looks fairly bored, but apparently he is so upset by the events that he and Ali decide to "fight against injustice", easily overpowering their skeletal minders and fighting everyone there. A wise-looking old man watches them. The event breaks down into an all-out brawl, rocking along with more Indiana Jones music. This fight lasts 1 minute and 13 seconds, while the large garbage can robot orders Murat and Ali captured.
During the fight, some of Murat's blood lands on the large robot and gets analyzed. The robot then sends the results to The Magician's lair, and he in turn gets very excited when he learns that Murat and Ali are both human, complete with the brains he seeks so badly. Oh, so the people living here already aren't human? If they were, certainly The Magician would have taken one of their brains by now... right?
Outside, the fight continues, and our dynamic duo manages to flee. The group of extras we saw earlier just standing around is now running for shelter. A blonde woman (Füsun Uçar) and her young son lead Murat and Ali into a cave in the face of a cliff, where many humans are hiding from The Magician.
Back at The Magician's lair, he vows to capture Murat and Ali. We'll be seeing him do a lot of this throughout the film.
Murat and Ali are now seated inside a cave, safe and having their wounds tended to. A small fire keeps them warm. Is it safe to have a fire in an enclosed environment like that? What really made me laugh, though, is the sound of the fire. I don't think their microphones could pick it up, because it sounds like they have someone standing off-camera, crinkling a piece of cellophane. The fire sounds like a hard candy being taken out of its wrapper! In the background, some children watch the newcomers as the blonde woman cleans the blood off of them. She smiles at Murat but says nothing, and we hear the romantic interlude from Star Wars playing. Oh, this must be the movie's love story. I might believe in it if Murat didn't look so bored or emotionless. Murat and Ali talk and waste some time. Apparently, a lack of humour in the human race started the nuclear war that destroyed Earth in the first place. Yeah, when one country lobs an ICBM at you, you should just laugh it off. Ali tries to laugh a little and make the children happy, but they really aren't in a laughing mood, being oppressed by evil forces and all.
Murat and the blonde woman go back to staring at each other as the romantic music swells. It's actually kind of creepy. I assume the filmmakers were going for romance, but this is just odd.
That old man we saw briefly during the fight enters the chamber, checking to see if Ali and Murat are their "saviours". He, like the blonde woman, goes unnamed through the movie. He explains that he's a scientist, and that the people living here are humans as well. Better not tell The Magician that little tidbit. Apparently, those old Egyptian ruins we saw earlier are the remnants of a more civilized race that once existed, one that did not use their nuclear weapons to destroy each other as the current one presumably is. Going off on a tangent, the old man gets all serious and says that the current fragments of humanity are from the "same tribe", the thirteenth tribe to be exact. What does this have to do with anything? Is this important? And finally, isn't this directly lifted from the plotline of Battlestar Galactica?
The old man, who is becoming the driving force behind this movie's plot, says that Murat and Ali have crashed on one of the fragments of old Earth. The Magician is some sort of wizard who owns this chunk and apparently wants the rest of the Earth, terrorizing the residents of his chunk at the same time. It's a whole battle between good and evil. I'm taking liberties here and trying to connect the dots with my analysis of the situation; the dialogue isn't very helpful here.
We cut to The Magician again, cackling among random bits of footage from other movies. He has waited a thousand years for the Earth, apparently, and pines away for it now. He seems eager to destroy everyone or something.
Back to the cave now, the kids are all asleep. There's more of that romantic music again. Murat pulls a blanket over the blonde woman's child, while she and Murat stare at each other some more. Ali is anxious, thinking something will happen soon. I hope whatever happens makes some sense. Murat leads Ali into some side caverns, and we hear more music from Planet of the Apes. They're looking around for danger, so everything is supposed to be tense. We see three holes in a cavern wall blocked up with small stones. Oh, okay, I think something is gonna pop out of there later.
Okay, so Murat and Ali look around while strange shadows start passing over the cave walls.
We see some tombs somewhere, with mummies (!) inside, wrapped up in raggedly cut bits of white fabric. They have dark claws that appear to be made of felt. The mummies growl and rise up from their little uncovered tombs.
Just as I suspected, evil furry monsters emerge from those rock-filled holes in the wall, growling and roaring cheesily. The blonde woman screams, but the many kids remain asleep as the monsters surround them and start grabbing them. Then the kids finally wake up, but it's too late. There's more fake blood and lots of yelling and screaming. Murat and Ali try their best (such that it is) but are severely outnumbered by the evil furry monsters. They look like sports mascots! Our heroes herd the remaining kids, along with the blonde woman and the old man, into a side passage and block the entrance with a solid wheel of stone sitting inside a slot.
On the other side of this very solid door, a big brown furry monster approaches and pounds through it. Via a jump cut, the solid door becomes a bunch of awkwardly stacked boulders that all fall down when the monster hits it. Yeah, nice try there, but that was terrible! The furry monster massacres the kids, but even as they pretend to die, the kids smile. I loved that.
We cut outside. Somehow, Murat and Ali got out, and they lead the blonde and her kid out into the sunshine. How did they get out? Even stranger, the music is quiet and gentle, not indicative of the slaughter that took place moments earlier.
Back inside, the music becomes evil again. Some dead kids are lying in the mummy tombs, covered in blood.
Their blood flows through a curly tube and into the mask of The Magician, so I guess he's feeding on it. Through a cheapo effect, the kids are transformed into new mummies.
So begins the infamous training sequence of the film. You may have seen it before. If you like, you can watch part of it here on YouTube, along with other parts of the film. It's a montage of scenes, all set to the music from Battlestar Galactica, of Murat and Ali basically pounding away at rocks, doing karate chops and punches and kicks and things without their shirts on. The bad part of the scene is that the actors are doing these stunts on real rocks, so in order to prevent actual injury, their blows can't touch the rocks too hard. The end result is a laughable scene that pretty well finishes off this movie before it has really begun. I especially love the look on Murat's face as he trains. The blonde and her kid watch as all this takes place. Ali, high up in the cliffs, plays around with a bag of rocks.
Finally, there's a big climax. The camera dramatically zooms closer to Murat's face, he lets out a scream, and with a mighty chop he manages to split a big rock with his bare hand! Wow.
Later on, the blonde woman cleans some fake blood from Murat's hands. The romantic music returns, and they stare at each other again.
Fig. 4 - The blonde woman.
Okay, I think the point here has been made. The kid playfully punches the air in front of him, and Murat helps him out while teaching him an important life lesson about evil and stuff. I didn't really listen to it because I was busy laughing.
We now see the second part of the training sequence, where Ali sits and slaps viciously at some sand while Indiana Jones music plays. What exactly will this accomplish? Murat, meanwhile, straps some rocks to his ankles and walks awkwardly. See, this is to improve strength in his legs, I guess. I have a feeling if I tried this, I'd ruin my joints and end up with some serious injuries. Not here, though. Murat walks faster and faster, starts running, and then jumps high into the air. I guess all this strength training has given him super-strong legs. Or perhaps someone has given him a trampoline. It sure looks like a trampoline to me, the way his feet are out of frame and the way he jumps over the camera. The kid smiles and watches. There are lots of jump cuts showing Murat bouncing over the camera through the air while the kid cheers.
Murat starts kicking piles of rocks, and eventually kicks them with enough force that they fly through the air at a cliff and explode on impact! Good gravy, this is ridiculous! I could believe the clawing at the sand or the karate chops, but this is getting a little thin.
So after all this strenuous activity, Murat and Ali finally stop to have dinner: boiled weeds and insects. Surely there's plenty of energy in that meal for these two men after what they've been doing all day.
We cut to another massacre taking place somewhere. The Magician is punishing the people living on his rock for helping "the humans" Murat and Ali. This implies that his subjects aren't human. I'm confused now.
The Magician transforms two unlucky men into zombies (using footage stolen from 1962's The Magic Sword), and then they transform into a pair of black and red furry monster things, growling and roaring. I have to admit, they are sort of cute as far as furry creatures go. They don't have gruesome faces or drool and fangs or anything. They're like big stuffed animals.
As Murat and Ali prepare to leave the relative safety of the blonde woman's home in search of The Magician, Murat promises that he'll come back for her and they share a light kiss. Murat and Ali walk away through the rocks, and we hear some Bad Movie Philosophy:
Ali: "She fell in love with you."Now we begin a scene that is a total rip-off of the Mos Eisley bar scene in Star Wars. We even get stolen shots from the original movie shown here, mixed in with vastly inferior new material. Whereas George Lucas showed us a bizarre assortment of interesting aliens, the Turkish have only people in rubber masks to show us. There is also a woman wearing heavy make-up and a headband. How alien. The evil red furry monsters are waiting in the bar for Murat and Ali to enter. The music is kind of funny. I don't know if that's stolen too. It probably is.
A small fight breaks out in the pathetically sparse Turkish set, and eventually Murat and Ali join in, beating up seemingly random patrons with martial arts. What follows is a bad Kung-Fu sequence, marred with that weird foley problem this movie has where the punch sounds interrupt the soundtrack. One of the 'aliens' looks like Fu Manchu! The disjointed fight lasts 1 minute and 29 seconds. I never thought a fight scene could be so boring! Murat and Ali subdue the evil furry monsters.
Just when this couldn't get more inane, The Magician's laugh echoes through the bar and he appears on a table. Ugh, perhaps this is a strip club. The Magician uses his incredible powers to put a red-tinted filter over the camera, gloating about how "unique" he is and how he can divide himself into many copies with a cheap lens effect. He is everywhere and nowhere, represents hatred, is very powerful, etc.
The Magician says he wants the Earth, and taunts Murat with an image of the blonde woman and her child. Apparently, just as he can teleport about, he has kidnapped them and wants Murat and Ali to join him in his evil lair. Once again, Murat looks very detached and downright bored. The red filter is magically removed from the camera and The Magician leaves them. However, more silvery robots appear with guns to force Murat and Ali out of the bar and to wherever The Magician is.
We see a shot of some ancient ruins that are meant to be The Magician's hideout. I thought he would have kept his lair in better repair than this, but that's just me.
Inside, evil robots lead Murat and Ali to a waiting room. They've been given new shirts made of coloured satin or silk.
Fig. 5 - Ali and Murat in the care of The Magician.
Everything I can see in this shot is goofy.
Elsewhere, The Magician sends his queen to try and break their wills. What does this have to do with getting their brains? It's a simple matter of gassing them, cutting their heads open, and pulling out the grey matter.
Fig. 6 - The Queen.
The evil tall garbage can robot arrives to take Murat away to some other place, leaving Ali alone in the dark and dank waiting room. The Queen then appears on a couch, looking ready to seduce Ali. She's a frightening looking woman, but her body isn't too bad. She says that Ali must explain the "resistance of the human brain," and doesn't really bring up the enslavement of Earth or anything.
Meanwhile, Murat meets The Magician himself. The music is kooky and the scenery is dark and weird. The Magician rambles on and on about darkness, secrecy, and eternity. He and his attendants are all immortal. He would like Murat to join him a la Darth Vader, and of course Murat won't do it. The Magician tries to scare Murat into immortality, but Murat is sure humanity will beat him. More dialogue follows.
The Magician holds out his staff, showing us the secret of his power. He sort of reminds me of Iran's President Ahmadinejad. In his hands, the staff changes into a gold box via a jump-cut. He opens the box, and the music (stolen from Ben Hur at this point) swells dramatically. Inside the box is a small golden brain. Oh, so he already has one? If he does, none of this should be happening, right? It looks far too small to be a human brain to me. It looks like a dog's brain. If The Magician gets Murat's and Ali's brains as well, the universe will be his. Oh, now he wants the entire universe? The Magician's mask appears over his face again, and he brings in the blonde woman and her son. He says they will be made immortal too. There's some looking and glancing. Murat really should be showing worry or concern right now, shouldn't he? He looks bored! Furry creatures drag the two prisoners away, and Murat protests. The Magician disappears again, laughing away.
Murat suddenly finds himself in an arena, and for the next 69 seconds, we get to watch another pointless fight.
Fig. 7 - Murat fights a red furry monster.
Fig. 8 - A skeleton tries sneaking up on Murat.
Why is this happening? Just take his brain! Now that Murat is apparently super-strong, he can pull the arms off of the red furry monsters, using the severed limbs to impale them. I would think there would be blood or entrails or something, but never mind.
The Queen steps up her seduction plan, getting ready to start making out with Ali, but she vanishes and two red furry monsters appear with their claws around his throat.
Murat continues to fight amid some more Indiana Jones music. At one point, he places his sword in his teeth and does karate chops to the two free ends, snapping the sword in three in his teeth! Good gravy! I nearly spat out the water I was drinking at the time. The fight gets even sillier when Murat pulls the leg off of a big brown furry monster. This is getting Pythonesque!
Once again, The Magician makes another pointless appearance, laughing maliciously. However, the fight quickly restarts and is joined by Ali. There's a lot of kicking, and some quick banter between the two heroes. Robots appear and fire their ray guns, but then vanish again. Why would The Magician take away his own ARMED henchmen? The Magician comes back, and then goes away again. I'm so confused. People are coming and going, the jump cuts are jarring, everything is so weird!
Mercifully, we get a shot of some more ruins.
Now, we see Murat and Ali lying on the ground as large stone blocks are moved over their throats. The blonde woman and her son are nearby, unable to watch. To be honest, I'm not quite sure why The Magician is torturing them if all he wants is a human brain. What will this accomplish? The Magician mentions that he is mad at the Queen for failing to do whatever it was he ordered her to do.
Being totally awesome and all, Murat and Ali manage to resist this torture, so they are buried alive in tombs, covered with sand. According to The Magician, nobody can resist this torture. What do you want them to do? Murat suggests that they separate their souls from their bodies to survive.
"Disengage from your body; live only with your mind and soul. Only then can you breathe underground."Hmm, that's a good idea. Please, tell us how to do that. Even worse, Murat and Ali seem to be only buried up to their necks under a modest pile of sand. I see people on the beach do this for fun! The Magician stands and watches.
Fig. 9 - The Magician without his mask.
Of course, our intrepid protagonists simply sit up like it was nothing. They shake the sand from their voluminous hairdos.
The Magician isn't fazed by this latest defeat, however, and orders that they be taken to an arena to be humiliated.
"When [Murat and Ali] lose self-confidence, their brains will become exactly like I want."The next fight is a "fight of intelligence." A killer game of checkers, perhaps.
Finally, the Queen reports that Murat and Ali are somehow stronger than The Magician. He isn't very happy about this and initiates a weird sequence of shots from The Magic Sword indicating that the Queen is first transformed into an ugly witch creature, and then into a spider. Trippy.
Outside, once again, a moderate group of people is standing around and watching. The goofy garbage can robot is there also, along with the old man. Ali is kept away from Murat and so can only watch as Murat fights the tall brown furry creature we saw earlier. The Indiana Jones music kicks in again. I'm getting very tired of that music. Murat seems super-strong again, leaping right over the head of the monster while it just stands there and does nothing. There's a lot of jumping and bouncing in this fight. Finally, there's a jump kick, five of them, and the people cheer. The monster eventually loses and falls to the ground, but now there's a bunch of those black and red furry things, along with robots and those skeleton guys, all running down from the hills. Murat quickly leads the blonde woman and her son away, and everyone flees as the evil monsters approach. I'm still waiting for that fight of intelligence The Magician was talking about.
Somewhere else, minions carry Ali to see The Magician, who now plans on taking his brain. Finally!
In the caves, we see Murat wiping some fake blood from the blonde woman's face. I guess The Magician had her beaten up or something. There's more romantic music from Star Wars and staring. Does this woman actually speak? In a moment of terrible editing, the blood is suddenly all gone from her face and she cuddles against him. Well, Turkey is a predominantly Muslim country, perhaps the filmmakers weren't allowed to show much more than this in a love story.
We cut outside, and Murat stands alone amid some rocks. The composition of this shot was stolen right from The Exorcist. Murat wonders if Ali's capture has bought him some time. Time for what?
Suddenly, and with little reason or warning, we cut to the mausoleum of Hajji Bektash Wali, an actual thirteenth century mystic who lived (and died) in Anatolia, the Asian part of Turkey. The old scientist from earlier is there, and he educates Murat about history and gives us a bit of a primer on Islam and the Qur'an. Apparently, this tomb broke off from Earth a thousand space years earlier. Ah okay, so the chunk of Earth that The Magician presides over is actually Turkey. That makes sense. The old man quotes from the book a bit, then talks about a bronze mountain that once protected this mysterious Thirteenth Tribe from radiation. Can someone explain this tribe nonsense to me? For some reason, the tribespeople melted down the entire mountain into a single sword. Okay, ignoring the fact that there are no mountains made of bronze anywhere on Earth, let alone Turkey, how does one proceed to melt down a mountain and get one sword's worth of metal out of it? Their scientists also combined the mental powers of all humanity and concentrated it into a single brain. Talk about the utmost in plot conveniences here. Anyway, the old man hid the sword and the brain from The Magician on this chunk, and only he and the mute blonde woman (who is actually his daughter) know where they are. The woman will lead Murat to it. After all, he's totally trustworthy. I guess Murat is the chosen one or something.
So, Murat and the woman head off, running over hillsides, to find this sword, past more strange ruins. They run and run, watched by some red furry monsters.
The blonde pauses to point, and they continue as the red furry monsters follow. Suddenly, several screaming ninjas appear from the hillside and surround Murat. There's more fighting, and somehow, Murat is able to beat every single one despite being hopelessly outnumbered. They even have nunchaku, but this isn't enough for the great Murat.
Back at The Magician's lair, Ali is tied up to a stone table, connected to flashing lights and wires. It seems they are readying him for surgery.
Murat pulls the blonde woman up a cliff face and they walk through some more ruins. We get a quick, bizarre shot of a statue apparently watching them.
They enter what appears to be an ancient Christian ruin, and a chorus sings on the soundtrack. There are very old images on the walls. Narrator returns, explaining about ancient groups of Christians who built cities "seven levels under the ground" to escape heretics who slaughtered them at the time.
Seconds later, Narrator makes a revision. Now he tells us that they built advanced cities thousands of metres below the ground. Thousands of meters now? I think this movie has confused even itself.
Murat and the blonde woman walk onwards, and spot the sword mounted in the wall, guarded by two statues that are supposed to be bronze but are obviously men wearing gold-painted latex suits! As Murat approaches and passes the statues, we can tell that they are simply actors standing as still as they can, but still moving that tiny amount. Looking more bored and uninterested than ever, he touches the sword. However, the statues come to life and start attacking Murat. Wow, I sure didn't see that one coming. Murat kills them both with karate chops, then takes the sword. I'll keep that in mind next time I visit the museum and get attacked by 'metal' statues. He also holds the box and opens it, revealing the supposedly human brain inside. ARGH! Didn't The Magician have a brain in a box already?! The filmmakers even used the same close-up shot of the under-sized gold brain here! There is a mighty blast of music. Narrator says that The Magician found the secret of immortality long ago, draining others so that he can carry on. Narrator seals the veracity of his claims with the statement "this is the truth." No arguing there, I guess. The Magician wants revenge upon the Earth for... something. I really don't know what's going on anymore.
The blonde woman finally speaks for the first time in the film, now that Murat, a mortal man, holds the sword and brain.
Fig. 10 - Murat holds the sword, while the blonde woman holds the brain-in-the-box.
Murat removes the brain from its box and hides it inside his tunic. That's just gross! They head off.
They find Ali looking kind of bored and standing in the tunnel. Murat is glad to see him and they hug, but Ali seems very quiet and distant. Something is wrong here, and Ali grabs the sword in an attempt to kill Murat. They fight. Ali suddenly transforms into a monster from another The Magic Sword clip, a gruesome ogre-like thing that Murat thrusts his sword at (we never see the two of them in the same shot). It's clear that the filmmakers didn't even try for cohesion here; the ogre is standing in an outdoor set while Murat is in a cave. This movie just makes me laugh and laugh...
Finally, Murat kills the creature and carries on with the blonde woman.
Ali is still on the 'operating table'. The Magician goes on about how he will take Ali's brain and be the strongest. Basically the same crap we've heard throughout the entire movie.
Back outside, we hear more Indiana Jones music and Murat fights more ninjas. Now that Murat has THE SWORD (ooh), I guess he'll slaughter them all.
Meanwhile, a goofy looking computer says that Ali's brain cannot be removed.
"His brain is not free. His thoughts, will, and brainpower are programmed to the other earthling. This man is connected to his friend with all his loyalty. We can't take the brain."An emotional bond prevents the surgical removal of a brain. I'm guessing here that this movie didn't have a medical consultant. Oddly enough, I read somewhere that the actor playing Murat is a MD. Hmm. Naturally, The Magician is very mad at this kink in his plan. Well, you can always chop open his skull and scoop the brain out, can't you?
Outside, Murat jumps around with THE SWORD in his hands. You really have to see this to understand how silly it all is. He slaughters many furry creatures to Indiana Jones music.
While the computer repeats its findings, The Magician claims that Murat tricked him, thinking that Murat intentionally left Ali behind to be caught. At this point, I really have no idea whether or not The Magician is right. I can't think about it.
Now Murat is throwing red furry monsters over the side of a cliff. He then breaks into The Magician's lair, killing guards with THE SWORD and fending off a robot ray gun attack. He makes his way inside in an effort to free Ali, killing all sorts of henchmen as he goes. Finding Ali, Murat cuts the straps away to the tunes of triumphant music.
An alarm goes off, and more furry monsters and mummies try to catch Murat and Ali.
Somewhere else (presumably still inside the lair, but it's hard to say,) Murat and Ali walk slowly down some stairs. Ali sees THE SWORD up close for the first time, then glances up at Murat looking faintly smug about it.
Ali wants it, and Murat won't give it up. Ali is eager to make The Magician pay for everything he has done. I think Ali is supposed to be the brash, hotheaded one, while Murat is more the cool thinker of the pair. Ali keeps trying to be serious with his argument, but Murat just shoots him down with smug little one-liners. Ali manages to drop the title of the movie. He then says that he doesn't think the women living on this rock are that bad. What does that have to do with anything? Finally, he knocks out Murat and grabs THE SWORD. He also reaches into Murat's tunic to retrieve the brain. That's disgusting! Ali runs away with it as Murat slowly wakes up.
Ali finds the old man in a dusty courtyard. He goes to the old man, asking how the powers of THE SWORD and the brain can be combined. The old man says nothing but takes THE SWORD and brain from Ali. Uh oh. It turns out it's actually The Magician! This must be bad. Ali staggers backwards, stunned and outraged, before he is thrown aside. Apparently The Magician has telekinetic powers now. Just like Darth Vader!
Enter Murat, watching from high above. He jumps down and takes back THE SWORD. The Magician tries to also toss Murat away but instead red smoke from a flare fills the courtyard and he disappears.
Elsewhere, the real old man lays dying. According to this guy, who has now saved the movie from a total implosion several times, The Magician got his new and awesome powers simply by touching THE SWORD and brain and will now be able to destroy the already disintegrated Earth. Isn't that kind of like beating a dead horse? He urges Murat and Ali to save the world. Finally, the old man dies and his daughter cries over his body. We get a quick, bizarre shot of the gold brain sizzling in some liquid.
That cheap red filter effect descends over the scene again, and The Magician taunts them from a distance yet again. He has Devil Girl From Mars syndrome when it comes to the excessive taunts against humanity. He says that he will imprison Murat and Ali on that chunk of Earth for eternity, and that the Earth is a dead duck.
Ali feels bad for what he did, and in a fit of contrived rage, he jumps up eager to take revenge and runs off down a corridor. Murat shouts for him to stop, but it's too late. The hallway was booby trapped for some unexplained reason and Ali has been mortally wounded.
Some gentle, sad music from Moonraker starts up, and Murat cradles Ali. They profess their love for one another (umm...) and after Ali dies, Murat has some Bad Movie Philosophy for us:
"Tears... are the only actual happiness of mortal men... his love, hope, loyalty, faith... because evil does not know how to cry, and cannot know what can come after tears!"Seized by anger and sadness, Murat takes the necessary steps to defeat The Magician once and for all. We hear music from The Black Hole. The first step in his quest is to melt down the sword and the brain. He appears to do this inside a flaming garbage can. Inside is a mass of bubbling liquid that is supposed to be liquid bronze but looks like water with a skin of dried acrylic paint floating on the surface. Nice try there. The second step is to dip his hands into the molten bronze! Yes, he literally plunges his hands into the garbage can. He should pull back burning stumps, but instead his hands are now clad in what appear to be gold-painted playtex gloves that must have the power of THE SWORD and brain all in one.
Fig. 11 - Murat checks out his new gloves.
Again, I was laughing. So Murat uses the new powers he has in his hands, and punches through a wall, storming out into the open desert. He's also wearing gold boots, too. I guess he dipped his feet into the bronze without us seeing.
The movie's climactic fight scene begins. Basically, every single monster, robot, mummy, and robot from the movie comes back to try and fight Murat. There's a whole mess of them, all slain with lots of jumps and karate chops. The Magician watches from a cliffside, laughing maniacally the entire time. The scenes of violence are really tepid.
The goofy garbage can robot from earlier grabs the blonde woman and her son. Oh, I'm glad she has her kid again, he seemed to disappear for a good portion of the film.
Murat jumps around and fights. The fight wasn't edited very well because there are numerous shots where Murat is no longer wearing his magic boots nor his gloves. Murat starts doing somersaults.
The Magician steps in, attempting to kill Murat once and for all, but he can't seem to do it, so he just keeps vanishing and reappearing. What happened to all the power of THE SWORD? Who has it, Murat or The Magician? There's a lot of yellow fog around. I guess yellow fog is natural in Turkey.
The Magician is back in his lair now, preparing his computers to destroy the Earth. We get more footage from Star Wars, mostly of the Death Star powering up and X-Wing fighters preparing for battle. I guess The Magician has access to a huge space-borne laser that looks just like the Death Star.
In the desert, the long fight continues. It's so disjointed and ungainly, it really doesn't matter who Murat is fighting. The fight is simply a sequence of shots featuring Murat punching things and bouncing off a trampoline.
The Death Star prepares to destroy Earth. We see it fire (at Alderaan, actually), suggesting that the Earth has been destroyed... or something. Does it matter?
Murat kills some skeletons.
We see more Star Wars footage. Stuff is blowing up and the people on Earth are being warned of their impending doom. Didn't the Earth just get blown up?
Murat fights some red furry monsters, kicking right through their plush bodies with his super boots. He's practically dismantling them.
The Magician orders his ships to attack Earth, and we see X-Wing fighters cavorting over the surface of the Death Star.
Murat leaps around and beheads more furry things. Mummies come from the hills, but with a mighty kick, Murat knocks the head off of one of them. The head slams against a hillside, exploding violently. If I were The Magician, I'd use less fragile henchmen!
The Death Star is getting attacked by X-Wing Fighters, and The Magician keeps repeating that the Earth will be destroyed.
More mummies fight, and even those bronze 'statues' from earlier come back to fight Murat. Have you ever seen Disney's 1951 Alice in Wonderland movie? At the very end of that film, Alice sees every character from her protracted dream chase her down a tunnel just before she wakes up. That's what is happening here! Every bad guy is back to haunt Murat!
The Magician rants.
More red furry monsters lose their heads. The garbage can robot enters the fray, firing negative scratches at Murat. He manages to dodge them all and punches the siren-like head clean off. The robot explodes violently.
The Death Star gets attacked. The Magician wants all of us here on Earth to suffer as he did "for thousands of years."
Even more bad guys come out now, including the characters from the rip-off bar scene.
The Magician decides to head out and kill Murat personally. Since he already touched THE SWORD, shouldn't he be able to kill Murat?! This movie's own internal logic is breaking down!
Murat jumps around some more, killing the big brown furry monster. There's general incoherence at this point, with lots of beheadings, explosions, stock footage, and destruction.
Finally, at the peak of madness, The Magician appears and throws his spear. Somehow, it turns into a pair of shuriken-like weapons that Murat narrowly avoids.
More Star Wars footage.
The Magician keeps at it. Murat can't really fight back, though, since The Magician keeps teleporting around.
Someone in the desert holds up a large mirror, shining the sun directly into Murat's eyes. I know it isn't supposed to be a mirror we're seeing, but that's what it is! There's some dark smoke, and we see The Magician looking a little confused or lost, apparently unable to see Murat. Murat kicks a boulder at The Magician and it explodes at his robed feet. Murat is now standing right in front of The Magician, thrusting his gloves at the bad guy, and things are getting a bit reminiscent of The Three Stooges. Murat knocks The Magician back, and with a mighty swipe, splits the evil man in two with his gloved hands! Now, this movie cannot afford to show a convincing corpse that has been cut down the middle, so instead we get the cheapest optical effect possible to show us the two 'halves' of the body laying on the ground!
Fig. 12 - The Magician's right half.
Now that The Magician is dead, things explode and the ground shakes and cracks open. Somewhere, a volcano erupts.
Murat emerges, victorious, from a yellow cloud to a cheering group of humans all celebrating. The blonde woman hugs her son, watching Murat.
Later on, the humans wish Murat well, and he says that he must leave for home, where now there "will be no evil anymore." Yeah... right. That makes a whole lot of sense. The blonde watches him walk off, apparently leaving her behind. Because that is just so romantic.
And so, with mission accomplished, we get a shot of the Millennium Falcon roaring through space. Murat is back in his flight helmet, in front of a rear-projection screen. Where'd this spaceship come from? The Narrator leaves us with this closing line:
"There can be no humans without Earth, and no Earth without humans, because humans are the greatest value in the universe. Protect your future, because the future is possible with peace, and there is no doubt that mankind is the one that will maintain peace."Humans? Maintaining peace? I think those two items are mutually exclusive, but that's just me.
What is there to say? My words are not going to have the same punch-in-the-gut kind of force that this movie carries. Loaded with philosophical drivel, armed with a pacifistic moral but plenty of violence, dripping with ineptitude, this movie is quite a remarkable experience.
The scenery in the movie is interesting. In fact, it's so distinctive, it's possible to pin down the filming location: Cappadocia. It's a region in Turkey marked by weird rock formations and ancient temples and dwellings carved into rock faces by early Christians who hid from the Romans, and these artefacts are used in the film to (successfully, I think) add an atmosphere of mysterious history.
According to various sources (Wikipedia has this covered by now), there were some political problems in Turkey in the early 1980s. The military had seized control of the fragmented government and was attempting to rebuild a more stable system. In the midst of this, American movies were difficult to come by, so Turkish filmmakers resorted to stealing clips and scenes from American movies and making homegrown films. I suppose there's a whole parallel array of Turkish rip-off films.
The strangest thing here is that a sequel to this movie has been made. Titled Dünyayı Kurtaran Adam'ın Oğlu, meaning "Son of the Man Who Saves the World," it's apparently more of a straight comedy than this movie. In addition, the sequel benefits from CG; I'm sure it has all original effects and better fight scenes.
If you like long and corny fights, cut-and-paste filmmaking, or the soundtrack to Indiana Jones, I recommend Dünyayı Kurtaran Adam to you.
July 28, 2007
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