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Review The Super Inframan a.k.a. Zhong guo chao ren (1975): One of the better films in the genre!

genre: tokusatsu, kaiju, super hero, action, adventure

The Shaw Brothers produced their own tokusatsu film based and inspired by highly successful Japanese franchises like Ultraman and Kamen Rider. This easily could have been the first Power Rangers movie.

This film obviously was intended for kids as the monsters and villains don't creepy or scary. And naturally the violence and action is more appropriate. The blood of the monsters for example is green. Although make no mistake there is a lot of cutting and chopping in this flick. You would be surprised how violent The Super Inframan is. But that is just one of the many factors this is so much fun. The film is also very hilarious at times. Most of the time unintentionally. I hadn't been able to get my hands on the original language version so I was stuck with a dubbed version. That surely made things funnier as the dialogue didn't exactly match with how events played out. One example. Danny Lee as Rayma turned into the Inframan for the first time and yet when he appears on the scene to battle monsters people already seem to know who he is and what he is called. Either some scenes got cut while editing or they never bothered to check whether the dialogue was right. 

Another example of comedy is where the main villain Demon Princess Elizebub or Dragon Mom as she is called in the English dub, tells the professor she knows how Inframan is made and what his weaknesses are. What follows is incredibly hilarious. Not because of the events displayed but of what's not displayed. You would think that Dragon Mom would have found a way to crush Inframan. Instead he is hardly affected. Actually not affected one bit. There isn't a single dialogue or scene explaining why or how. After having build up to it you would expect some reaction to it. Or at least some disappointment or anger expressed by Dragon Mom.

And then there is the action and spectacle. For a low budget film it's quite amazing. With the set pieces, costumes and everything else that was produced. Sure some of the effects were cheap and dated even back then. However the action choreography is excellent. Having Inframan and members of his team battling monsters with Kung fu is a stroke of genius. Then there is the creativity and energy of the events. It's enchanting. I understand why Roger Ebert prefers this over The Mighty Peking Man. Speaking of which. For me, this is so much more fun for me. I actually was smiling throughout the whole film. And you don't even get time to get bored, since the pacing is incredibly fast.

The Super Inframan certainly is one of the better films in the genre. Too bad tough that the Shaw Brothers didn't make more of these.

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