Posts tagged "cool robots"

Cazadores de Espías (Review)

Cazadores de Espías

aka Spy Hunter
Cazadores de Espías
1969
Story by Adolfo Torres Portillo
Screenplay by Rafael Baledón
Directed by Rafael Baledón

Still more exciting than whenever Mantaur wrestled!

In 1969, Mexico had noticed the whole secret agents thing has gotten a little ridiculous and thus ripe for parody. Enter Cazadores de Espías, a comedic film filled with secret agents, double crosses, identical twins, a carnivorous plant, a masked villain, a seductive villainess, a luchador, a mad scientist, and even a robot. There is plenty of goofy action across the board, lending Cazadores de Espías the power to potentially be something bigger than it is. Unfortunately, there is no subtitled version at all, and the first half of the film leans heavily on verbal jokes, leaving people like me to be forced to lean on their rusty Spanish. At TarsTarkas.NET, we don’t need no stinking subtitles, but they probably would have come in handy here! Despite the lack of clear understanding of a few plot points, the general gist was easy to get, and no one needs subtitles when a robot is running around! Cazadores de Espías is fun, but thanks to the language veil it isn’t as fun as it should have been.
Cazadores de Espías
Cazadores de Espías was filmed around the same time as Muñecas Peligrosas and Con Licencia Para Matar, which is pretty obvious. It features familiar sets and cast members, and all are directed by Rafael Baledón (though this time the original story is by Adolfo Torres Portillo). The sets usually used at the villain’s lair is now a hotel, a control room is now a villain lair, and the familiar nightclub returns, though there is now a big wrestling ring in part of it. The goons of the mysterious Mr. X were big X’s on their uniforms (instead of G’s or K’s!) Mexican villains are all sponsored by the same letters that sponsor Sesame Street!

As the film is rather obscure, please enjoy the longer film synopsis review. But as the film is hard to follow at parts, please forgive any errors that creep in due to confusion or language barriers. As usual, I blame those nefarious Spider Gnomes of Jupiter, who cause me no end of troubles. I will defeat you one day, Spider Gnomes of Jupiter! Fans of random Mexican song interludes will enjoy the performances by Los Rockyn Devil’s, The Shadow of the Beast, Manolo Muñoz, Rubin “Penjamo” Mendez, and Jose Antonio Zevala. Non-fans will find a convenient time to go to the bathroom. Now on with the show!
Cazadores de Espías

Ricardo (Carlos East) – Ricardo’s twin brother Ramiro is murdered right in front of him, and Ricardo goes on a quest for revenge, which puts him in the middle of two rival criminal espionage groups and some innocent people. Part of his cover is disguising as the luchador Rayo De Oro, because that’s how you go undercover in Mexico, dress as a flamboyant wrestler.
Chelelo Ochoa (Eleazar García “Chelelo”) – A relative of the dead Mr. X who inherits part of the property that becomes the center of espionage conflicts. Wants to promote wrestling matches for money. At one point has to disguise himself as Rayo De Oro when Ricardo goes missing. Is either Leonor’s husband or distant cousin with the same last name (I was unable to figure this out). Eleazar García has a nickname, so we know from experience to prepare for comedic pain. Though, really, Chelelo isn’t that unfunny. He might be the most entertaining nicknamed Mexican comedian I’ve seen in a film. And I’ve seen quite a few! So many nicknamed Mexican comedians…
Leonorilda “Leonor” Ochoa (Leonorilda Ochoa) – Leonor is one of the not really deceased Mr. X’s long lost relatives who gain ownership of a property he controls, thus everyone tries to kill her and Chelelo. They keep failing at it. She wants to turn the property into a gogo dancing hall. Leonorilda Ochoa also appears in Muñecas Peligrosas and Con Licencia Para Matar.
Sylvana (Maura Monti) – Leader of a villainous faction that is trying to gain possession of the property everyone wants. Owns a Carnivorous Plant and a bunch of goons. Maura Monti also appears in Muñecas Peligrosas, Con Licencia Para Matar, La Mujer Murciélago, S.O.S. Conspiracion Bikini, El Planeta de las Mujeres Invasoras, and Santo Contra la Invasion de los Marcianos.
Mr. X (Héctor Andremar) – The mysterious Mr. X is very mysterious. Most mysterious of all is his plan, which makes no real sense. Hides out under the property in question all day and gives his men branded uniforms. He also has a twin brother, but he kills him to fake his own death. I’m pretty sure this is Héctor Andremar.
Carnivorous Plant (itself) – A very hungry plant that is eager to eat anything and anyone it can get its vines on! Used by Sylvana to threaten her enemies.
Robot (???) – A remote controlled robot that looks like a modified diving suit with a stove grill in the front of it. Controlled by the Mad Scientist Guy using a remote in his cane. Uses it to kill the enemies of his group, and also as a wrestling opponent in a bid to kill off Ricardo.
Mad Scientist Guy (???) – One of Sylvana’s goons who controls the Robot that kills people and wrestles. Takes great joy in seeing his creating destroy the living both inside and outside the ring. Forgot to use circuit breakers, proving he really is mad. Meets a shocking end. I am not sure who played him.

Cazadores de Espías
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Posted by Tars Tarkas - January 15, 2015 at 8:45 am

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Con Licencia Para Matar (Review)

Con Licencia Para Matar

aka With License to Kill aka Las Tigresas
Con Licencia Para Matar
1969
Written by Alfredo Ruanova
Directed by Rafael Baledón

Con Licencia Para Matar
When danger rears it’s head, and the police are helpless, they call in Las Tigresas! A trio of fighting femmes donning black catsuits with leopard print collars who bust in and kick serious butt, then collect fat paychecks to live exciting jet-setting lives.

There are two Las Tigresas films, Con Licencia Para Matar (With License to Kill) is the second, following Muñecas Peligrosas (Dangerous Dolls), though according to some material I read, this one may have been filmed first. That’s not surprising, as both films appear to be filmed one after the other (they even share sets and actors, and Cazadores de Espias also shares sets and actors and was filmed at almost the same time in 1967!)
Con Licencia Para Matar
Las Tigresas are a mercenary group that contracts out to the IUS to do special missions (at a price!) Their liaison/mission boss is “Jefe”, Jim Morrison (who is now dating Emily, the leaders of Las Tigresas) They have a comic relief maid named Leonor who occasionally joins them for adventures, and in this film also get a comic relief butler named Hector who is sort of dating Leonor.

Las Tigresas are independent warrior women who don’t wait around for men to save them. Despite calling Morrison their boss, he barely does anything except give them assignments and take Emily out on dates (In a clear HR violation!) The ladies are independent role models, not only does Leonor spend both films wanting to be one of them, in this film Hector even tries to join their ranks.
Con Licencia Para Matar
Unlike the other Las Tigresas film, there are no English subtitles for Con Licencia Para Matar, but a TarsTarkas.NET, we don’t need no stinking subtitles! Con Licencia Para Matar is the much more enjoyable Las Tigresas film, and the lack of accessibility means it still lingers in the realm of obscurity despite the best efforts of world cinema fanatics. As this film is rather rare, enjoy the far too detailed plot synopsis review below. Or else!

Emily (Emily Cranz) – Code designation: T001. Leader of Las Tigresas. Emily is now dating Jim Morrison and gets a musical number in the club. Specializes in using the gun to kill enemies, though that’s not really a specialization because everyone uses guns. But she uses her gun and nothing else.
Diana (Maura Monti) – Code designation: T009. Diana returns with much more sensible hair, and also has a fiance and is planning to retire. But he disappears so no retirement just yet! Diana uses the bow and arrows.
Barbara (Barbara Angely) – Code designation: T002. Barbara spends much of her time not having much going on in this film, though she occasionally will show up to kill villains. Barbara uses her sword to dispatch her enemies.
Leonor (Leonorilda Ochoa) – Emily’s maid, who still wants to be a Tigress and is still actively involved in their missions. Gets a robot duplicate at one point.
Jim Morrison (Fernando Casanova) – Nicknamed Jefe. The boss of the Tigresas in that he is their liaison with IUS and assigns them missions. Gets a robot duplicate at one point.
Dr. Klux (Noé Murayama) – Evil villain who build invincible robots to do his bidding and to do awful stuff in the name of showing how awesome Dr. Klux is. This guy’s name is a little too close for comfort to a certain awful hate organization, which may or may not have been intentional. Who knows at this point?
Dr. Klux’s Robots (various) – Invincible super robots controlled by remote control and made out of green plastic. They feature huge Ks on their chests because Dr. Klux is sort of an arrogant jerk. Their only weakness is heat and destroying their control panel.

Con Licencia Para Matar
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Posted by Tars Tarkas - September 15, 2014 at 8:34 am

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La Nave de los Monstruos (Review)

La Nave de los Monstruos

aka The Ship of Monsters
La Nave de los Monstruos
1960
Story by José María Fernández Unsáin
Adapted by Alfredo Varela
Directed by Rogelio A. González

La Nave de los Monstruos

A woman after his own heart


An amazing adventure, La Nave de los Monstruos – aka The Ship of Monsters – is essential global pop cinema viewing, not simply just essential Mexican pop cinema viewing. A purely entertaining spectacle of space ladies who desperately need to replace the missing men from their civilization, thus are quested to scour the galaxy to find suitable males. But despite collected a rogues gallery of interesting monsters, nothing prepares them for the human male and his singing cowboy ways. Those who haven’t seen the film are now confused, not realizing the singing cowboy is presented as the irresistible bit of manliness that the rest of the galaxy is missing. In addition, he introduces the concept of love, which causes jealously and the best case of surprise space vampirism I’ve ever seen in a movie.
La Nave de los Monstruos

A non-gross male? What the heck??


The introduction to love concepts aren’t why everyone loves this film, it’s just the gravy on top. The real reason for the season is the amazing monster costumes! We got a crosscut of 1950s man in suit monsters, including a boxy robot. The costumes themselves are spectacular, some having appeared in Mexican cinema before, and a few that will show up again almost a decade later.

The Ship of Monsters takes more than just some of the monster designs from American science fiction films, there is a constant mention of radiation and atomic throughout the movie. The men from the planet Venus all died due to atomic sickness, everyone on Tor’s homeworld died due to nuclear radiation, and Zok’s planet had a radioactive disaster that rendered his entire species nothing but walking talking skeletons. While Mexico wasn’t a direct participant in the Cold War, it does lie in close enough proximity to the US that had any sort of nuclear exchange happened, it would suffer dire consequences as well. So the thought must have been on their minds. Mexico didn’t suffer from weapons being used on it like Japan, so their response in film is more a warning of the possibilities, not a reflection of the destruction of war and atomic horror returned in monstrous form.

La Nave de los Monstruos

We demand a creepier cave!


The joy of the monsters on the rampage propels The Ship of Monsters into amazing land, and you should track down a copy as soon as you can. Unfortunately, it only seems to be released as part of double DVDs. Where the heck is Criterion? Get on it, cinephiles! This is movie magic, so break out your wands and Wingardium Leviosa a copy to your player.

Gamma (Ana Bertha Lepe) – Commandress of the interplanetary fleet sent out to find dudes for planet Venus. Helps find a whole pack of gross monsters that are the best the galaxy has to offer. Until she finds a singing cowboy on Earth…
Beta (Lorena Velázquez) – a foreigner to Venus, daughter of Ur, planet of shadows. Is the navigator and secret vampire from Uranus. Goes mad with vampire bloodlust halfway through the film as things get crazy.
Lauriano Gomez (Lalo Gonzalez “Piporro”) – A singing cowboy that somehow becomes the most attractive single male in the galaxy. Helps defeat the monsters when they go berzerk. Is guardian to his younger brother, Chuy.

As all the men on Planet Venus have died due to radiation sickness, the interplanetary fleet is sent out to collect men. During a montage as the credits roll, Gamma and Beta’s ship picks up what is dubbed in the credits as Los Monstruos de las Galaxias:

Tor (himself) – A robot from the dead planet Palis, where everyone was killed in atomic wars. The robot is the only male the women find that they even want to associate with, as he interacts with them while everyone else is shoved in a closet and randomly gassed or froze. Powerful and follows their instructions. Attracted to jukeboxes. The robot suit was used before in the 1958 film Robot vs. The Aztec Mummy
Tagual (himself) – Prince of Mars, he mysteriously looks like one of the aliens from Invasion of the Saucer Men. Is very angry about being space kidnapped, and becomes the default leader of Los Monstruos de las Galaxias. Features a cool liquid blood moving in tubes effect that you can barely see most of the time. If you enjoy this costume, it can be seen in a slightly more tattered form in Santo el Enmascarado de Plata y Blue Demon Contra los Monstruos
Uk (himself) – A cyclops and King of fire planet. He’s also angry about being kidnapped and is a warrior. Despite being from the fire planet, he gets set on fire, which one would think he would be used to. If you enjoy this costume, it is also seen again in a more tattered form in Santo el Enmascarado de Plata y Blue Demon Contra los Monstruos.
Utirr (himself) – The grand priest of the Red Planet (which I don’t think is supposed to be Mars, but another Red Planet!), and also a spider. Probably the coolest costume because it’s so grotesque, but I don’t know if it was ever reused by another Mexican film.
Zok (himself) – A skeleton that laughs creepily a lot. He just floats in the air, occasionally moved around by one of the other monsters. His whole race is skeletal thanks to atomic radiation. Is a human skeleton with dog skull.
It’s another Republican primary debate!

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Posted by Tars Tarkas - February 10, 2014 at 8:01 am

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Flying Saucers Over Istanbul (Review)

Flying Saucers Over Istanbul

aka Uçan Daireler Istanbulda
Flying Saucers Over istanbul Uçan Daireler Istanbulda
1955
Written and directed by Orhan Erçin

Flying Saucers Over istanbul Uçan Daireler Istanbulda

No one refuses the Space Ladies!


Alien space women come to Earth to search for (what else) manly men as all of theirs are dead. So of course they head to Turkey, the manliest country in the galaxy. But the only men the space women meet in Flying Saucers Over Istanbul (Uçan daireler Istanbulda) are two greedy idiots who proceed to try to sell alien secrets to get rich in schemes that might have played well in 1955 Turkey, but now are just annoying. Perhaps they didn’t play too well in 1955 Turkey, as the film reportedly did not fare well at the box office.

Rosie returns for revenge on the Jetsons!

Flying Saucers Over Istanbul was one of those films that was lost in the quagmire of Turkish vaults, even thought possibly lost until a rather nice looking print surfaced relatively recently. If you can only view Turkish films that have been scratched to the point where they are barely watchable, you might be disappointed this is too clean. I think it’s just right, there needs to be some grit and fadedness on the prints, but digitally remastered Turkish pop cinema would destroy the entire aesthetic.

The attraction to Flying Saucers Over Istanbul is the effects. Hubcaps suspended by fishing wire with sparklers going off are our Flying Saucers. The space women have their own female robot, who is little more than plywood with light bulb attachments. Sadly the space stuff occupies maybe a quarter at most of the running time.

Do you enjoy belly dancing? Do you enjoy two jokers attempting to sell space miracle potions to rich old women? Do you enjoy a guy carrying a gigantic obviously fake camera? Because those are the themes of the majority of Flying Saucers Over Istanbul! Never fear, they throw in a fake Marilyn Monroe to distract everyone.

Flying Saucers Over istanbul Uçan Daireler Istanbulda

No, the robot is going IN to the closet, it’s even more subtextual than you think!


As you’ve probably guessed from my whining, the non-space stuff isn’t what I call entertaining. There is an attempted theme of loneliness among women, the Earth women who run a Lonely Hearts Nightclub that’s desperate to attract male guests for their clients to hit on contrast with the invading Space Women from Planet Merih, who kidnap men forcibly to replace their now dead males. But that’s about all the contrast the two sides get, their methods are wholly different (kidnapping vs coercion) and their looks are totally different(the Earth women are old, the space women look young). In the end, neither side really achieves success in their goal.

Director/writer/star Orhan Erçin directed only one more film right after this in 1955 (the comedy Çeto Sihirbaz, featuring either a magician or a wizard depending on your translation), then did not direct again until two films in 1987! He later died in 1993, on his birthday. He has unfairly been compared to Ed Wood since this film has resurfaced. Flying Saucers Over Istanbul is a comedy, and much of the camp was intentional. Still, it’s not very good.

Flying Saucers Over istanbul Uçan Daireler Istanbulda

I get stoopid, I shoot an arrow like Cupid
I use a word that don’t mean nothin’, like loopid!


The fake Marilyn Monroe was played by Mirella Monro, whose name implies she made a living impersonating the American star. This is her only listed role, and she died in 1968. I was unable to find any more information on her, as every link was just cast listing for this film.

Sapsal (Zafer Önen) – A pipe-chomping newspaper writer who spends much of his time with Kasar getting ridiculous stories that have nothing to do with what the hot news topic is. Bumbles into the invading women after being ordered to write about UFOs. Then tries to get rich instead of doing what they tell him to do, angering the space women.
Kasar (Orhan Erçin) – A stuttering photographer with a huge huge camera. His bumbling with the radio is the reason the space women landed. Spends time scheming along with Sapsal, but the aliens are too smart for them. Orhan Erçin wrote and directed as well, blame him for everything. Get him!
Space Queen/Uzaylı Kraliçe (Türkan Şamil) – The Queen of the Space Ladies from Merih, who have come to Earth to find husbands, as there aren’t any men left on their planet. They’ve heard men from Earth are handsome and strong, but then they run into Sapsal and Kasar. The brutal honesty of reality.
Space Lady/Uzaylı (Özcan Tekgül) – A Space Lady from Merih who assists the Queen in capturing dimwitted Sapsal and Kasar, and punishing them after they act like idiots. Another prominant Space Lady is played by Deniz Tanyeli.
Stelekami (???) – The cool robot lady who is a member of the Space Ladies. Stelekami doesn’t put up with Sapsal’s lies without robot choking him!

Flying Saucers Over istanbul Uçan Daireler Istanbulda

I’m kind of over gettin’ told to throw my hands up in the air.
So there.


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Posted by Tars Tarkas - January 20, 2014 at 1:37 pm

Categories: Movie Reviews, Ugly   Tags: , , , , , ,

Robotstar Jjanga

Robotstar Jjanga

aka 로보트 스타 짱가 aka Roboteu seuta Jjang-ga
Robot Star Zangga jjanga
1988
Written and directed by Kim Yeong-han

Robot Star Zangga jjanga

This is your brain being sucked out by Robotstar Zangga!


NOOOOooOOOoooOOooOOOOoooOOO!!!! It’s more awful Korean Children’s cinema! Why do I watch this? Okay, someone requested Robotstar Jjanga, and it’s also the first part of a film series that eventually featured a Korean Batman. But in this prequel, the actor who goes on to be Batman (or Betaman) is an awkward teen who wets the bed. The Dark Knight Returns was never so gritty….wait, I think Batman did wet his pants in some story….

As usual with Korean Children’s movies, the main event is a “funny” fat guy who acts like a giant baby man. He turns out to also be an intergalactic hero who lives on Earth in disguise (and unaware of who he is) until he’s called back to duty, at which point everyone becomes cartoons and character designs are stolen from The Transformers. Hey, this might be the only chance you will ever get to see toy accurate Reflector menace humans! The flying space carrier Fortress Maximus has been used by Transformers canon (a fact I learned thanks to the Transformers Wiki) so that’s not as unique as it seemed. As someone who had the Reflector toy as a lad, it was sort of fun watching him stomp around before he was defeated by a fat guy and an annoying robot. My toy would never suffer such indignity!

Robot Star Zangga jjanga

Who’s insulting the size of my Megapixels???


Said fat guy is named Dung-dung (I’ve found a few names for characters who went nameless back when I reviewed the sequel), and he enjoys chewing gum and stealing food. He lives with a scientist and his misfit family, which consists of bratty children and a grown daughter named Su-Ji. There is also a robot (a guy in suit robot!) named Robokong, who is tolerable only because Dung-dung is so intolerable. Giving and taking, that’s what Korean children’s cinema does. You give your time and it takes your life…

As usual for obscure gems like these, the synopsis portion of Robotstar Jjanga is much larger, to better accommodate people who don’t want to sift through terribly designed Korean blogs to find the streaming videos of these old school films dubbed from VHS tapes. I really, really hate Naver. Hate. Hate Naver. HATE! But not as much as I hate Dung-dung.

Robot Star Zangga jjanga

There’s not even stairs here for this guy to fall down on!


Robotstar Jjanga is written and directed by Kim Yeong-han, the very same maniac who brought us Super Batman & Mazinger V and Hwarang-V Trio! Clearly Kim Yeong-han is a cinematic monster who needs to answer to his crimes. But unfortunately anyone who goes up against him will be forced to turn into a cartoon character and battle giant robots. This is sadly becoming a trend among terrible directors, protected by guardian robots in the realm of animation. Time to bring back Judge Doom so we can get enough Dip to save cinema!
Robot Star Zangga jjanga

The worst part is she isn’t even close to being the worst Star Wars EU character!


Dung-dung (Kim Hyeong-gon) – A gum-chewing manchild who used to be an ace space ranger before he abandoned his duties to live out the seven deadly sins. Dung-dung is a fairly accurate name.
Robokong (???) – The family’s loyal robot, who can transform into a more action-oriented version, but only when he’s a cartoon. Will occasionally do the “Beedy beedy beedy” thing that Twiki from Buck Rogers does.
Princess Sara (???) – Sara is a princess of the Star Planet. What kind of name is that? At least she isn’t from the Moon Planet. Because that would be ridiculous! Like all space princesses, she gets kidnapped a lot. She reminds Dung-dung of who he truly is.
Su-Ji (???) – The eldest daughter of Scientist, which he must have fathered when he was 8 years old or something. She accompanies Dung-dung and Robokong on their adventure, but then doesn’t do much after that.
Rest of family (???, ???, ???, ???) – Scientist, Older Boy who becomes Batman, Younger Boy, Girl in Pigtails. All our fun friends. I hope they all die.
Rust Queen (???) – The Queen of Rust has blue hair for some reason (anime), and also there isn’t a lot of rust around her. Her name is totally inaccurate, this movie is a lie, SAVE YOURSELF! RUUUUUUNN!!!!!!
Gohura (???) – The evil Rust Queen’s henchman. I don’t know if this is a translation thing of if the aliens have rejected gender norms, but in any event Gohura leads the goons that have captured Princess Sara on Earth and is defeated by Dung-dung and the annoying kid squad, largely due to goon incompetence.

Robot Star Zangga jjanga Reflector
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Posted by Tars Tarkas - December 27, 2013 at 3:56 pm

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Pacific Rim

Pacific Rim

Pacific Rim Title
2013
Story by Travis Beacham
Screenplay by Travis Beacham and Guillermo del Toro
Directed by Guillermo del Toro

PACIFIC RIM
An action packed ride from the first frames, Pacific Rim delivers the giant robots vs. giant monsters action promised, and crafts an entertaining flick around it. Del Toro provides a love letter to a genre he grew up loving, and succeeded in updating it technologically to craft something amazing. Almost every frame is a piece of art by itself. The design and look are outstanding, the jaegers (the giant robots) are banged up and realistic, and the kaiju are scarily beautiful yet deadly looking. Battles encompass multiple environments, from snowy seas of Alaska to the cityscapes of Hong Kong to the ocean floor.

Pacific Rim keeps its flow, the segments where the story is set up feel natural and are done in creative fashion. Following along, our minds are too busy to wander, bereft of distractions and eagerly anticipating the next monster brawl. And when the real action starts, boy does it start.

There are minor spoilers below, but nothing that isn’t in the trailers. But if you don’t want to know anything, just know that Pacific Rim is my favorite film I’ve seen this summer, and possibly 2013. It’s fun, fun, fun, heartfelt and not full of the gritty reluctant heroes that seem to be everywhere. There are giant monster, robots, and it’s awesome.
PACIFIC RIM
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Posted by Tars Tarkas - July 9, 2013 at 2:34 pm

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