Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

Ah, itís nostalgia time. I donít know how old I was when I first saw ĎInfra-Maní, though the date is listed as 1975, but I donít think it made over here until around 1978 which would make me about ten years old, probably nine because we saw it in the early summer. We were visiting my Grandmother back in St. Louis and my brother had just gotten his drivers license and somehow he managed to convince my mother to let him borrow the Hornet and risk the lives of a whole generation as we and our cousins loaded up the ride so that we could check out this movie. There was joy to be had by all. To be raised on Johnny Sokko, Ultraman, Gamera and Godzilla, what could be better than watching an Ultraman knockoff on the big screen as a nine year old? So as an adult, one of my favorite things to do is track down the gems of my youth and force my own son to watch them, and allow the boy to experience what entertainment was like before Lucas and his cursed ILM totally ruined movies with their fancy amazing photorealistic computer graphics.

The version of Inframan that I watched was the Chinese subtitled original as opposed to the altered dubbed version I saw as a youth, so Iím sure there are some significant differences. Regardless, some kids on a bus are singing an incredibly lame driving song when a big rubber prehistoric looking bird lands in front of them and destroys the freeway. This is just a precursor as Hong Kong is now burning to the ground. The subtlety of these cataclysmic events arenít lost on The Professor (Hsieh Wang) who is in charge of some kind scientific / super agent brigade where all the members dress in uncomfortably tight silver jump suits.

It turns out that the cause of this ruckus is the evil Princess Dragon Mom (Terry Liu) who sports a long blonde wig and has gold cones on her breasts and commands a motley crew of the silliest monsters you will ever see. The Professor was explaining to some people exactly why The Princess hates humans and is destroying the world, but quite honestly he lost me like three seconds after he opened his mouth. All we really need to know is that The Professor convinces these bureaucrats its time to dust off the Inframan program to SAVE THE WORLD!

But to get this started we need a volunteer, and the super athletic ultra studly Rayma, whose silver pants fit tighter than anybody elseís, is our man. We would be remiss not to note that Rayma is played by one Danny Lee, who would star opposite Chow Yun Fat some fifteen years later in arguably the greatest movie ever made in John Wooís ĎThe Killerí. The Professor brings Rayma into a room and informs him that there will be agonizing pain, torture, mental distress and possible death for the person who opts to undergo the Inframan transformation. I halfway expected my man Rayma to respond with ĎSounds terrible. So why do you have me in here again?í, but no, Inframan is born and not a moment too soon because Princess Dragon Momís demons are mucking things up real bad.

What follows is exactly what we would expect as dudes in rubber suits get laid to waste by some cat in a red a pimp suit with bug eyes who announces every thing heís about to do. LETHAL KICK! SOLAR RAYS! THUNDER FIST! But even though heís telling your ass what heís about to you, you canít stop him, you canít even contain him because Infra-Man is on the scene, squashing monsters and saving the day!

Hey, itís a dude in a rubber suit movie so what do you expect? Though Iím sure I didnít notice any of this at the age of nine, but the story in Infra-Man was pretty ridiculous even by monster movie standards and now that Iím an old man I didnít nearly appreciate Infra-Man nearly as much in 2008 as I did in 1978. My twelve year old son however, who is far more sophisticated at his age than I was at that same age, seemed mesmerized by this Shaw Brothers production and its fancy colors, nearly non-stop action, stupid looking monsters, and Infra-Manís bright red pimp suit. Occasionally he would make the comment questioning certain elements, such as why must Infra-Man do a triple flip every time he becomes Infra-man, or where was the logic in Rayma, upon initially transforming into Infra-Man, trashing The Professorís lab to show us what a bad-ass he is. But when the entire third act of a movie consists of an extended fight sequence, were talking like forty straight minutes of non-stop monster smashing, how in the hell can you argue with that?

Yes, ĎInfra-Maní revisited is incredibly stupid, but itís stupid goodness in the grandest sense. I donít know what those crystal balls were supposed to do, I donít what was up with the chick with the silver cones on her boobs as opposed to the chick with gold ones, and why she had eyes in the center of her palms, I donít know why Princess Dragon Mom stole the Infra-Man plans and chose not to make hundreds of her own Infra-Men, but I do know that a cat in a red pimp suit who yells THUNDER FISTS beats a dude in a green jump suit with rubber dreadlocks any day of the week.

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