aka The Red Mask aka Turkish Phantom
1968 SinemaTurk Link
Directed by Çetin Inanç
The Phantom was pretty much the first costumed super hero to have a daily strip in the newspapers. Created by Lee Falk in 1936, the strip continues yet today. The Phantom’s base of operations is the Skull Cave located in the African nation of Bangalla. The Phantom passes down his mantel from father to son for several generations. There is a 1943 serial, which is probably the inspiration for these films, as well as an unofficial follow-up The Adventures of Captain Africa, which was originally going to be a Phantom serial until it was discovered they didn’t have the rights anymore! Check your contracts before you pour money into a project. This is your tip of the day. More information on The Phantom can be found on the internet, maybe you should Google it or something. This isn’t a website that gives you stuff on a silver platter, it is TarsTarkas.NET!
Okay, fine, here is some more Phantom Phacts for you: The Phantom was created by Lee Falk after the success of Mandrake the Magician (who also appeared unauthorized in a Turkish film where he fought Kilink: Mandrake Killing’e Karsi), Falk continued to work on the strip (with brief interruptions) until his death in 1999. The Phantom was the first superhero to not have his pupils show up when wearing a mask. The Phantom operates out of the Skull Cave, and all the previous Phantoms are buried there. Never leave a Phantom behind is their motto. Semper Phantom. The Phantom has three helpers, a mountain wolf called Devil, a horse named Hero, and a trained falcon named Fraka, who must love Battlestar Galactica. He also has dolphins, but dolphins are only good as bonus meat in tuna cans. The current Phantom is #21. The Phantom has two rings, one on each hand. One ring is used to mark his friends, while the second marks his enemies (marks made by punching the enemy in the face!) I am not sure how the friend ring marks work, but I am guessing not the same way.
There are three Turkish versions of the Phantom, two of which are entitled Kizil Maske and came out in 1968. If you think that is confusing, just remember that most of this information I had to decipher from articles written in Turkish! This is the first Kizil Maske, and the other 1968 one is sometimes designated Kizil Maske 2 or Kizil Maske (2). The second film seems to be made to try to bite off the first one, in some sort of Antz/A Bug’s Life or Deep Impact/Armageddon contest. The third Kizil Maske movie is KIZIL MASKE’NIN INTIKAMI (The Phantom’s Revenge), which came out in 1971. As the third movie has little to no information about it anywhere, I cannot say if it is directly related to either of the originals. If you have a copy, send it to me, because that will save me a lot of time looking for it. We are all about being lazy here at TarsTarkas.NET.
This entry was produced, directed, and written by Çetin Inanç, the protege of Yilmaz Atadeniz (who gave world the Kilink films.) Inanc went on to produce a whole ton of Turkish films, both craptacularly awesome superhero fair like this, and more modern stuff that includes violent action films. Kizil Maske translates to Red Mask, in case you were wondering. Remember how in old serials fights would break out all the time randomly, and last like five minutes? That’s pretty much this film. Long fights, lots of manly action, and Turkish men being men. No subtitles, either, because who needs those? At TarsTarkas.NET, we don’t need no stinkin’ subtitles! It is not like you need a flow chart to follow the plot: The bad dudes are bad, and the Phantom punches them for an hour or so. The end.
Let’s meet our exciting cast:
As the movie starts, it is impossible to not notice that the credits seem to have been added in digitally, which is beyond the technology used to make 1960’s Turkish cinema (cardboard.) These new credits were added recently, probably due to missing parts of film, as this print is in terrible condition! But that is to be expected from these old Turkish films, sadly.
A one-eyed guy is gunned down on the phone, and as the James Bond Theme plays (Is there a foreign rip-off film that DIDN’T steal the James Bond theme?), a woman on a yacht is harpooned by a mysterious diver. All of this action is obscured as the digital credits continue to block most of the screen. The film then admires the naked breasts and body of a statue, followed by the covered breasts and body of a hot babe.
Enough of that, we jump to Finland where the secret meeting of the Numbered KKK is taking place.
What the Frak?
This film just got AWESOME!! We got hooded weirdos as part of a secret society plotting to do evil things, and they all have numbers! Brilliant! And yet…strangely familiar to people who saw Kilink Strip and Kill. Wait a minute, this cool scene is just stolen! Why is the coolest scene a complete swipe? Maybe it is a slightly different alternative cut. I’ll have to dig out my Kilink DVDs to be sure, and that will happen when I get around to rewriting the first Kilink review here.
Number 9 seems to be leading the discussion, and the numbers go up to 950-something. As they decide to speak Turkish, I don’t know exactly what is going on, but it is something about a professor’s formula (isn’t is always?) Anyway, the professor is shot dead so it doesn’t matter. As for those cool numbered klan guys, they will never be seen again. Unless a third movie is using the footage!
The professor shooting leads to a blonde girl wandering the countryside, she is stopped by two masked guys with machine guns and taken inside a cave where she talks to a masked guy with a big skull on his chest. He is Kizil Maske, aka the Fantom. Kizil Maske has a bodyguard named Panter who looks straight from an Italian Hercules movie. This scene is so dark you can hardly see anything, but basically the girl Sezer is trying to get Kizil Maske to help her father, the Professor, who isn’t really dead despite being shot dead earlier. So I guess someone was faking his death. Kizil agrees to help because he’s awesome, and tells his butler Memo to prepare things. Two other guys go to talk to Kizil Maske, this sequence is so dark it is impossible to know what is going on, but by the end of it Kizil Maske and Hercules are leaving the cave with Sezer.
The Professor is staying at a house with a laboratory in it with several seedy guys guarding it. The Professor is too busy being a professor to notice a smoking deckhand off a crabbing ship come into the lab and set a time bomb. Sezer takes Kizil Maske and Panter to the home, where a gun-toting guy and the bomb-setting deckhand are, and a standoff occurs as they hold the Professor hostage. This quickly switches to a fight as Kizil Maske starts beating both of the baddies up as Jazzy Music starts to play on the soundtrack (but the volume is so quiet it is like background music at a grocery store.) The deckhand loses his hat twice, but both him and the other baddie are defeated by Kizil Maske and Panter, because no one can stop Kizil Maske!
They beat up more goons, then the Professor demonstrates his formula – it makes plants grow fast! Then Kizil Maske finds the time bomb, they all run out of the house, and it explodes in an orgy of stock footage. One tiny bomb can blow up Turkish houses like they were filled to the brim with barrels of gasoline. Kizil Maske takes them all to go meet Memo, who has set up an apartment in the city or something. As Kizil Maske isn’t masked anymore, I guess he doesn’t have a secret identity. He also kisses Sezer, so I gues that’s why.
Bad dudes poison a guy at a secret poker game, and do other smaller stuff that panics the papers. Bad guys that have been punched by Kizil Maske have mark on their face (In the Phantom comic, he wore two rings, one of which was used to mark the face of his enemies with a punch.) One of the marked goons is Oski (Hüseyin Zan) and the three ring leaders are Suzi (the girl), Danyal, and Al Kapon Arif, normally called just Al Kapon and is the head bad guy.
Thugs come to try to kill Kizil Maske, but he has dressed Sezer in his costume (what a brave hero) and then fights the two guys in normal clothing (aka without a mask – good job letting dangerous criminal know your true identity!) He beats the frak out of them, ties them up, and Panter punches them as Memo interrogates. They’ve gone all Jack Bauer on these thugs! The thugs give up Al Kapon Arif’s name, so Kizil Maske and Panter leave to go kick some Al Kapon butt!
Evil Al Kapon, Danyal, and Suzi and some goons are getting a package from they guys who killed the one-eyed guy in the credit sequence, as they took something from him. Kizil Maske interrupts, and a huge fist fight erupts with him and Panter vs a whole ton of goons. Suzi, Danyal, and Al Kapon Arif escape during the mayhem, then Al Kapon chastises his men later for sucking so bad. None of his men bother to ask where he was during the fighting. There is a random scene of Kizil Maske hijacking a van that abruptly stops as Kizil Mask is now on a date.
You know that Turkish restaurant in town that has the belly dancing gimmick? That’s where Kizil Maske takes Sezer on their date! It is also the same place that Al Kapon and all of his men hang out (what are the odds?!) and it soon turns into a brawl. Back home, Kizil Maske, Panter, the Professor, Sezer, and Memo are talking when two thugs burst in with guns. Kizil Maske guns them both down, but they aren’t dead and more thugs arrive, so a big fight happens again. Kizil Maske and Panter must punch lots of dudes. The music goes all schizophrenic, changing to a different stolen song every few seconds. The bad guys all run out to the balcony one by one and climb up to the roof, so Kizil Maske and Panter give chase rooftop to rooftop. Kizil Maske punches some dude off a building! Superman never did that.
The fight continues into the streets, as fights often do, especially when they seem to take forever. Because it is taking forver! Win already! Kizil Maske and Panter finally win, and just leave the other three baddies lying unconscious in the street. After all that time you’d think they’d tie them up or something.
Kizil Maske and Panter head home, but are immediately captured by Al Kapon and Danyal, who enter with guns. Kizil Maske and Panter are hung by their wrists, Memo is tied to a chair, and Sezer and the Professor are taken away by Al Kapon and Danyal. A few token guards are left behind, who instantly leave Kizil, Panter, and Memo alone to go play poker! Of course they escape immediately! They fight the guards, one of which shoots Kizil Maske! Except Kizil Maske faked his death and throws an axe at the goon’s chest!
Danyal shows up just then, and gives Kizil Maske and Panter guns, because Danyal is really an undercover cop! He reports to his chief as Kizil Maske and Panter chase down Al Kapon to save Sezer and the Professor. The baddies get on train, and we meet a new baddie – Fu Mançu! Is that supposed to be Fu Manchu? Because it is a Turkish guy (Arap Celal) pretending to be a Chinese guy, but he looks more like Charlie Chan! Fu takes the Professor off the train, but Sezen is still on it, as Al Kapon is going to attempt to go all rapetown on her.
Fu Mançu is arrested immediately and the Professor saved. What is the point of introducing Fu Mançu for three seconds only to have him arrested with no struggle? Gah! For once I would welcome a five minute punching sequence. Kizil Maske and Panter leap onto the moving train, because that’s what you do in old serials. They start a shootout on board, which is a close-quarters situation with no maneuverability that is probably not a good place to start a gun battle. But at these are Turkish Heroes they are invincible and shoot many goons. The cops flag the train down, because that makes it easier for the shootout to spill off train, not that the cops will join in it or anything. Kizil manages to shoot the unarmed Suzi in the back, killing her. My hero! Finally all of the goons are killed, and Al Kapon is captured and Sezer rescued.
Wait, they capture Al Kapon, but shoot the unarmed woman in the back? Oh, Turkey, you lovable misogynist!
The day is saved, dad and daughter are reunited, and everyone walks away on the train tracks.
So, the film is over, but at least Kizil Maske didn’t go around spanking people…
The Phantom was always at the forefront of the women’s rights movement.
Rated 8/10 (Bomb, grow-plant, bear, salute, scar, roof-fight, axe a question, train jump)