Machine Man

Machine Man

aka Banglar Machine Man
Machine Man Bangla
Written by ???
Directed by ???

Machine Man Bangla

The most advanced bullet-time ever!

Bangladeshi science fiction cinema is not something you hear too much about, for two main reasons. One: there isn’t much Bangladeshi science fiction cinema. Two: what little there is, is as hard to get a hold of as the rest of non-mainstream Banglar film. Which means you are resorting to badly encoded vcds showcasing leprous prints that are seconds away from disintegrating into dust. The print of Machine Man looks like it is projected through a jar of drugged out hobo pee, and the camera randomly loses focus and frames weird. There are even two different prints on vcd, a full screen version that you can tell what is going on, and a blurrier widescreen version that shows the whole picture, but at such low resolution it’s not worth it. The joys of vcds! Heck, even recent Bangladeshi films look like they were ran over by a heard of giant apes!

Machine Man is basically a Bangladeshi version of Robocop Terminator vs Evil Robocop T-1000. The hero cop is reborn as a cyborg Machine Man that destroys crime and has occasional flashbacks to his whole family being massacred. After thoroughly trouncing the villain to near death, the villain then becomes a Bionic Man of his own, more advanced and more powerful. When these two get together, let’s just say sparks will fly. In Banglar tradition, there is a ton of crazy violence and guys yelling at each other.

What Machine Man isn’t, is original. The Machine Man dresses as Terminator right after he’s made, complete with black leather jacked and sunglasses. But all of his experiences are straight from Robocop. The prototype cyborg malfunctioning, the cop being shot up by the villains, flashbacks of his family while walking through his abandoned house, and even a few of the action scenes are completely lifted from Robocop. The villainous Bionic Man, however, is the liquid metal T-1000 from Terminator 2, complete with holes getting blow in him that heal up just fine. The fun part is seeing pop culture hijacked and transformed into a new media, and how easily it melds into Bangladeshi action cinema.

You might wonder why even bother to make these characters robots. After all, their fighting powers are hardly out of place in normal Banglar action cinema. Heck, even compared with Banglar Hero, which also stars Manna, if you were to pull random scenes without knowing which film it was from, the only real telltales would be the sunglasses and the animated sparks that occasionally are put in. The action heroes are already superhuman. Now they’ve evolved, beyond superhuman. Heroes and villains, gone hyperdrive.

Machine Man Bangla

Machine Man has never seen an explosion despite walking slowly away from thousands of them

Once the bionic has been installed, things get nuts. The effects are up to par with your Halloween costume from 1983, including bent pieces of sheet metal representing a character’s robot pieces. Of course, this means everything is a whole lot of fun. Machine Man has a healthy dose of action, and keeps the pace moving a long rather nicely.

As Machine Man is a rather unknown film (I can’t even pin down a year of release!), I’ll be dropping a full recap after the break, so you too can live the magic of Machine Man in the comfort of text form interspersed with images. Thanks to spending lots of time on Google, I have determined who like four cast members are. The rest are just names that could be anyone. Perhaps someone will be good enough to stop by eventually and help ID people – Mousumi, Bristi, Kazi Hayat, Shiva Shanu, Nasrin, Miju Ahmed.

Machine Man Bangla

He forgot to drink milk. Milk. It does a body good.

Inspector Bobby/Machine Man (Manna) – The best cop on the force is killed and turned into a cyborg, becoming the best cop in the universe. Famed actor Manna starred in dozens of Bangla action films including Banglar Hero.
Dani/Bionic Man (Asif Iqbal?) – The evil Dani avenges the death of his brother by murdering Inspector Bobby’s entire family. Then he gets killed by Inspector Bobby returned as Machine Man. But not killed dead, and he’s turned int Bionic Man, who is even more evil. I believe he is played by Asif Iqbal, which is a far too common name to find any real information on.
Doctor (???) – Famed scientist who works on making bionic men for fun and profit. Which is why he tries to sell the idea to an evil guy. Luckily, he screws up and makes a good Machine Man later, but that’s not lucky enough to keep from being kidnapped and murdered. He has posters of the Terminator and Robocop in his lab
Doctor’s Daughter (Apu Biswas) – I have no idea what her character’s name is, but she’s the daughter of Doctor and becomes the love interest, teaching Machine Man how to be a real man again. And also is a biomechanical and computer genius. It’s hard to find any information on Apu Biswas because there is another newer, younger actress named Apu Biswas. It’s like Bangladesh perfected the Disney Channel factory model!
Prototype Machine Man (???) – The OG Bangla Machine Man, he stomps out all covered in metal heat duct pipes and beats people up until he is killed dead. This Tin Man’s weakness was having a heart that could be shot full of bullets.

Machine Man Bangla

Not my white suit!!

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Banglar Hero (Review)

Banglar Hero

Directed and Produced by Ahmmad Nasir

It’s time to crack open a big can of Bangladeshi cinema!

Bangladesh was once part of Pakistan, known as East Pakistan (and Pakistan was part of India under the British…) but a civil war in 1971 got them their independence. Bangladesh is a Muslim country, and due to close cultural ties with both Pakistan and India, Bangladeshi cinema resembles both of the neighbors. We have strong he-man characters with mustaches yelling at each other like Pakistani cinema. From India, we have songs, dances, and tragedy happening to the hero.

Bangladeshi cinema is based out of the city of Dharka, and thus is known as Dhallywood, because every region needs its own “-ollywood”! There is also Bangladeshi cinema produced in India for the large Banglar population there, based out of the West Bengal city of Kolkata, and known as Tollywood. This was actually not only the first Tollywood, but the first “-ollywood” as it is a play on the neighborhood of Tollygunge in Kolkata where many of the movie studios were located in 1932. Blame Wilford E. Deming of American Cinematographer for all these “-ollywood”s you can’t keep straight!

Banglar Cinema was already going strong under Pakistani rule, but after independence production exploded. But by the time the 1980s were in full swing, Banglar films were on the decline. Now, with increased competition from TV and satellite shows, Banglar cinema has more problems than ever. But it also has undergone a rebirth, with the latter half of the 2000s producing a lot of new films and new talents. Where will these talents take Banglar film in the 2010s? We shall find out as you do.

In what is sadly common in a lot of foreign vcds, the vcd company advertises their name throughout the film. In addition, they seem to either be covering up a previous company’s logo because they took over the distribution rights OR they are straight bootlegging it. So we got annoying logos pasted over annoying logos with annoying scrolling text pasted over annoying scrolling text. The key word is annoying. This is pretty darn common in vcd releases from the region, because deluxe edition DVD boxed sets with director’s commentaries and lame behind the scenes extras are not the economic model of cinema in many countries. Pumping out dozens of films a year as fast as possible for theatrical run and then saturating the area with vcds making sure everyone knows that Famous Person is the star is the way to go.

How ’bout that scrolling text graphic?

Inspector Abu, the Banglar hero, is played by a guy named Manna. Manna was born SM Aslam Talukder in 1964 and entered acting at age 20 under the name Manna. Over his lifetime, Manna acted in over 350 movies and became one of the biggest names in the industry. As General Secretary of the Bangladesh Film Actors Association, he lead efforts to reduce vulgarity in Banglar cinema. He died in 2008 of a heart attack, probably from the stress involved in ripping off yet another guy’s arm.

I am pretty sure that Dr. Masutke is played by Omor Shani (aka Omar Sani) – who is married to Mousumi who probably played the sister Asti. I am not 100% positive, partially because there are very few good pictures of Omar Sani online, and in the ones that are, Omar has changed his weight and look considerably. At some point it looks like he wanted to try out for a Nutty Professor The Klumps sequel, not realizing it was all makeup on Eddie Murphy. But I guess he kept the local restaurant industry afloat…

I found even less information on director/producer Ahmmad Nasir. Besides a few references to this film, there is nothing out there at all in English.

Inspector Abu (Manna) – The Banglar Hero himself! Inspector Abu is the baddest cop in the universe whose chief takes him off so many cases even the chief can’t keep up on the paperwork. Inspector Abu rips off arms, beats up thugs, guns down criminals, dresses as a clown, lobbies for immigration reform, gets most of his loved ones killed, and spends half of his life in jail. He’s sure, he’s soon, and he’s larger than life.
Dr. Masutke (Omor Shani aka Omar Sani) – Dr. Masutke is dating Abu’s sister Asti and will soon join the family. Except for when he lies against Abu in court then is gunned down protecting Abu. His name is a guess but it is very close to what they are saying.
Salma (???) – The wife of Inspector Abu, who tries to play tricks on her husband from time to time when she isn’t selling her organs to get her husband out of jail.
Asti (Mousumi) – Sister to Inspector Abu and engaged to be married to Dr. Masutke. Until Dr. Masutke’s untimely demise. Her name is a guess like all the rest
Daughter (???) – Inspector Abu’s young daughter who becomes a target of the bad guys after her mother dies.
Tubby Buddy (???) – Tubby Buddy is Abu’s one friend on the force who isn’t a corrupt jerk. But since Tubby Buddy can’t kick lots of butt, he has to suffer under the weight of all his corrupt bosses and try to help Abu when he can. Tubby Buddy is probably played by a famous Banglar comedian but I can’t figure out who he is.
Evil Dude (???) – The evil dude is probably played by a guy who plays a lot of evil dudes in Banglar cinema, but I don’t know who he is. But he sure is evil!
Corrupt Cop (???) – Abu’s boss is on the take, and is perfectly happy to have Evil Dude terrorizing the neighborhood. Abu just keeps ruining his plans!

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