Samson (Review)


Directed by Nanabhai Bhatt

It’s time for some Bollywood Peplum with Dara Singh! Wait, you ask, Bollywood made Peplum and who is Dara Singh? Where the crap have you been, reader? Bollywood pumped out a few Peplum films because Bollywood does that stuff. And Dara Singh is only the greatest Indian wrestler who ever lived. He did tons of awesome films where he wrestles dudes. And he fights dinosaurs! What more do you want?

So Samson is a Bollywood feature disguised to look very much the part of a 1960s Italian Peplum movie. If they didn’t break into song every twenty minutes or so you might be fooled into thinking this was just another crazy Peplum film. It has all the same tropes as the genre it is copying, including funky awesome costumes, giant army battles, evil kings, genies, magic midgets, and fake-looking monsters. It’s available on unsubtitled vcd, but at TarsTarkas.NET, we don’t need no stinkin’ subtitles! What we also don’t need are stupid watermarks on the vcd, but practically every Indian vcd has them (and also Bangladeshi, Nepalese, Pakistani, and several other countries vcds as well.)

Samson (Dara Singh) – Samson is the local strong guy who just hangs around and chills with elephants. This annoys the king, because the king is all about anti-elephant propaganda or something. So Samson eventually starts a revolution getting the kill killed dead, then marries his daughter who seems cool with Samson getting her dad killed. Dara Singh was a professional wrestler during the 40s and 50s who moved on to making a string of B movies during the 1960s in India in seemingly every cult genre imaginable. Spaceships, gladiator, dinosaur fighting, secret agent, masked hero, he did it all. Todd at Die, Danger, Die, Die, Kill! compares him to El Santo. He later was in the widely viewed TV program Ramayan, was nominated to Rajya Sabha, and is the benchmark of manliness in Hindi pop culture.
Princess Shera (Mumtaz Banoo) – Princess Shera is the typical spoiled princess who cannot believe that insolent Samson and his not doing whatever she wants, and also saving her. Eventually she falls in love with him, because that’s how it happens in these Bollywood flicks. Here name is very close to She-ra, which is awesome. Mumtaz Banoo is better known as Mumtaz. Mumtaz married millionaire Mayur Madhvani and had two daughters. Elder daughter Natasha married actor Fardeen Khan, son of Feroz Khan, who played Salook in this film. Younger daughter Mallika married to Randhawa the younger brother of famous wrestler Dara Singh. If you think about it, that is kind of weird. Mumtaz is considered one of the most beautiful actresses in Indian cinema of all time.
Laila (Ameeta) – The chief maiden of Princess Shera and lover of Salook. She’s got me on my knees, I’m beggin’ darling please. Ameeta was an actress of the 50s and 60s who never quite made it into a successful leading actress career, partly due to bad career choices and partly due to being trapped in B-grade fair like this very film. Her daughter Sabeeha also tried a movie career, but her path was even shorter and more disappointing than her mother’s.
Salook (Feroz Khan) – Salook is the hero-type who has no real personality besides being a good guy who isn’t a giant superman and thus doesn’t have the film named after him. But he gets a girl, too, so everyone wins! Feroz Khan is a legend in the Bollywood industry as an actor, director, and producer. Fellow actor Sanjay Khan was his brother and sometimes co-star, and Khan’s son Fardeen Khan also entered the entertainment business. Feroz Khan managed to get blacklisted in Pakistan, because cool people get banned from entire countries. Feroz Khan died in 2009.
King Rashid (B.M. Vyas) – The evil king who is evil because the script needed an evil dude. B.M. Vyas doesn’t rate a Wikipedia page, so I had to do actual research, which was complicated by some guy in the milk industry also named B.M. Vyas. Who knew the milk industry was so wide-reaching on the internet? I couldn’t really find anything non-milk except photos and clips, so B.M.Vyas had a long long career in Indian cinema starting in the 1940s. It looks like he won a lot of awards later in life but a Google trail of broken links and terribly designed websites leave few clues.
Dinosaur (An Unnamed Puppeteer) – Fred put Dino out one day and he got dino-knapped and woke up in ancient India where he is forced to eat prisoners for food. Poor Dino. But now that sabre-toothed tiger has the run of the Flintstone’s house!

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Flyer of Young Prodigal (Review)

Flyer of Young Prodigal

aka Xin An Ping Zhui Xiang Qu

1978HKMDB Link
Directed by Yueh Chien-Feng

Another crazy Taiwanese fantasy film, complete with some random kaiju, dragons, people puking gas, sexy women seducing heroes, evil rapists dudes, a midget, guys who turns into lizards, and an annoying flying kid.

Annoying flying kids seems to be a common occurrence in Taiwanese films, which is a shame because they are annoying.

The film follows standard video game format of rescuing the princess (Mom) and fighting all sorts of various baddies on a mission, including several boss characters and gaining a few helper dudes along the way. And you get weapons upgrades. The video game connection is solidified by actual video game sound effects used in Flyer of Young Prodigal, even though this is years before video games were rescuing the princess.

Not much info on this one. Chang Yeong Yeong is listed as a star, but I don’t know who that is. Most of the other names I cannot read thanks to them being chopped off due to the fullscreen framing. So if anyone wants to send me a widescreen copy, go right ahead! We’ve reconstructed as much of the cast as we possibly can in the Roll Call.

Sheau-long (You Shean-Long/Yu Shein-Long) – This kid is annoying, but aren’t all kids in these films annoying? He isn’t super-annoying, but he’s still pretty darn annoying. And he’ll be crying all the time. Oh, and since his dad was murdered and his mother kidnapped, he has been trained by his Sifu and sets out to rescue his mom, slaying monsters all along the way. He is credited as “Genius Chird Actor” You Shean-Long. Don’t you know about the Chird? Everybody knows the Chird is the word!
Lien-hua (???) – Sheau-long’s mom, who manages to get kidnapped because her husband Yann-chang can’t defeat some simple demons who come to kill him and steal his wife. Lien-hua becomes a slave and I guess just sits around while Cha-tien Devil tries to get it on with a different woman who is never explained. I don’t know the villain’s motivation. Maybe he’s mad he didn’t get the complete set of The Great Muppet Caper collectible glasses and decided to take it out on the world.
Lui Yuan-long (Tsung Hua) – Good guy who can turn into a dragon and joins Sheau-long on his journey because he wants to get it on with his sister.
Sister (???) – The unnamed Sister of Sheau-long, who is another orphan raised by Sifu and trained in martial arts for eventual revenge on her parents’ killers, except she doesn’t get to have revenge in this film as she is too busy chasing after Sheau-long. This brat just cost us some female revenge movie time! That jerk…
Sifu (???) – Sifu who spends his days saving almost killed kids and training them for battle so they can plot revenge years later. He’s only done it twice, I guess it is a slow couple of decades for child murdering. That’s probably good for society, but bad for those of us who like revenge movies!
Cha-tien Devil (???) – The Evil Dude who is totally evil and kidnaps moms and has lots of demon guys working for him. How does he pay them? Does he have health insurance? What about matching contributions for the 401K? None of those important questions are answered.
Head Evil Woman (???) – The head evil woman who works for Cha-tien Devil. Despite the fact that her M.O. is to seduce and destroy her enemies, Cha-tien Devil is shocked and enraged by her seducing Lui Yuan-long. Thus, she gets killified.

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Wheels of Fire (Review)

Wheels of Fire

Gary Watkins as Trace
Laura Banks as Stinger
Lynda Wiesmeier as Arlie
Linda Grovenor as Spike
Joseph Anderson as Scourge
Jack S. Daniels as Scag
Directed by Cirio H. Santiago

Mad Max and it’s sequels were a big influence on post-apocalyptic action films. They spawned a long string of imitators, mostly created from low-budget film grinding countries like Italy and the Philippines. Hey, amazingly enough, this very film is a knock-off of Mad Max, and it was made in the Philippines! It’s almost as if I prepared the opening sentences for some sort of reason… Not only is this film a low budget rip-off that is nowhere near as good as the film it is aping, the film has a bonus feature not found in the Mad Max series: It hates women. Brutally. This movie takes women and knocks them around like they were Nazis or something. There is more misogyny in this movie than tea in China. More misogyny than bad films made in the Philippines. Hey, directed by Cirio H. Santiago of The Destroyers and T.N.T. Jackson fame, so it’s got to be….just as sub-par.

It’s the future, all cities are destroyed, and everyone drives around in the desert. What country is this? Maybe it’s Australia, which explained the deserts in Mad Max, but everyone is American, except for the non-main characters, who are all Filipino. So not only did all the cities die off, but the world has become a desert wasteland. This would lead one to wonder where food is coming from, except one is instead distracted from wondering where they get all the gasoline they use for their massive fleets of automobiles. Our hero is a man named Trace, the manliest name in the universe. Mad Trace. I can see it! Wait…I just lost it. Trace doesn’t have the screen presence of Mel Gibson, or even Gary Coleman. Mad Max had the Last of the V-8 Interceptors, while Trace has a late ’70s four-door with some painted plywood on the bumper and a fake Batmobile-style rocket engine on the end.

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Turkish Wizard of Oz

Turkish Wizard of Oz

aka Aysecik ve sihirli cüceler rüyalar ülkesinde aka Aysecik and the Bewitched Dwarfs in Dreamland

Zeynep Degirmencioglu as Aysecik AKA Dorothy
Suleyman Turan as Korkulu AKA Scarecrow
Metin Serezli as Teneke Koruadam AKA Tin Woodman
Suna Selen as Kotu Cadi AKA Wicked Witch of the West
Ali Sen as Korkak Aslan AKA Cowardly Lion
Cemal Konca as The Great Wizard Keskin Zeka

Another Turkish remake??? NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Aysecik ve sihirli cüceler rüyalar ülkesinde

This time, the land of Turks and Keys has brought us a remake of The Wizard of Oz, which is amazingly more faithful to the book at certain points than the big budget Hollywood version. It still manages to veer off into random directions, and is full of insane dancing, a gay scarecrow, and special effects that can be done better by three year olds. The previous Turkish filmsTurkish Exorcist, Turkish Spiderman, Turkish Star Trek, Turkish Star Wars, and Kilink Istanbul’da, have all been a barrel of laughs, horrors, and monkeys. Okay, no monkeys. No monkeys in here, either. Not even the winged variety. Sigh… This film continues the fine Turkish film tradition of making the audience say “What in the Hell?”
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