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Image Entertainment presents
Super Inframan (1975)

Professor: There are other weapons I haven't given you as yet. For success it's essential you have thunderball fists.
Rayma: I can have such a thing?
Professor: That's right, thunderball fists!

- Wang Hsia, Danny Lee

Review By: Jeff Wilson  
Published: October 19, 2006

Stars: Danny Lee, Wang Hsia, Terry Liu
Other Stars: Bruce Le
Director: Hua Shan

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for martial arts violence, cartoon gore,
Run Time: 01h:28m:36s
Release Date: October 10, 2006
UPC: 014381321920
Genre: sci-fi

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer

DVD Review

Ah, Super Inframan. What can even be said about this film? When it was released in Hong Kong on DVD in the ongoing Shaw Brothers series, it came without the delirious, maniacally entertaining English dub, making it short of absolutely essential. Now, with an R1 release that includes that fan favorite soundtrack, we can all thrill to Inframan's struggle with Princess Dragonmom once again. Technical quality could be better on the DVD, but given that this is all we can reasonably expect in terms of a North American release, it will have to do.

Earth is humming along quite well, when a sudden rash of disasters are revealed to be the work of Princess Dragonmom (Terry Liu), who claims Earth as her own. The intrepid guys at Science Center try to fight back, but they have no chance without Rayma, the newly created Inframan (Danny Lee), one of their own who braves the harrowing process created by the Professor (Wang Hsia). Inframan kicks a lot of monster butt before Princess Dragonmom comes up with her plan to destroy him, and Earth's hopes, for good.

Taken liberally from Japanese TV heroes like Ultraman and Kamen Rider, Inframan has a variety of powers and fighting skills, which he uses to defeat the legions of mutant creatures marshalled by the Princess. That's really all you need to know; the movie makes no real sense, and there is no characterization to speak of. As a result it's hard to judge the acting, since the actors are simply moving the plot from one fight scene to another. It's simply action and more action, with crackpot dialogue, delivered in an often frenzied, overly earnest tone that tries to cover for the lack of meaningful characters. Best seen with a group of like-minded fans, Super Inframan may be ridiculous beyond words, but it has a great deal of fun while doing it.

Hua Shan's direction features lots of zooms, presumably hoping to make up for real tension by literally grabbing the audience and throwing them toward a plot point. Danny Lee, who later went on the star in films like The Killer and personal fave The Untold Story, plays Rayma as earnest and upstanding, with dubbing to match. The man many grew to know and love as Bruce Le (aka Huang Kin-lung) also features as one of the Science Center fighters. His career as one of the several Bruce Lee wanna-bes led him to further roles in a series of truly awful chop socky flicks.

Rating for Style: B-
Rating for Substance: B


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio2.35:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: As Celestial Pictures has been remastering their Shaw Bros film for their HK movie channel, the transfers have been done in PAL. As a consequence, this disc is a PAL conversion. Personally speaking, I didn't find that much of an issue, though some players may display the inherent faults of such a transfer more than others. The image is otherwise okay, with decent color but lacking somewhat in detail.

Image Transfer Grade: B


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
MonoMandarin, Englishno
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: I watched the film with the legendary English dub, and it's unfortunate that a better source could not be found for the track, as it is consistently dull and hissy, with occasional brief dropouts. Not optimal by any means, but better, I suppose, than nothing. Perfectionists will be upset. Mandarin 5.1 and mono tracks are also available, but not nearly as fun as the English.

Audio Transfer Grade: C


Disc Extras

Animated menu with music
Scene Access with 19 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English
19 Other Trailer(s) featuring Black Magic, Magic Blade, Super Inframan, Water Margin, Intimate Confessions of a Chinese Courtesan, Have Sword Will Travel, Heaven & Hell, The Cave of Silken Web, Legendary Weapons of China, Deadly Breaking Sword, Wandering Swordsman, Fearless Fighters, Exorcist Master, Executioner, Chase From Beyond, Silly Kung-Fu Family, Living Hero, Madam City Hunter, Retreat of the Godfather
Production Notes
Weblink/DVD-ROM Material
Packaging: clear plastic keepcase
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. Photo gallery
  2. Promotional art gallery
  3. PDF interview with director Hua Shan
Extras Review: Meaningful extras are rather thin on the ground in this package; the most useful is the insert, which features an essay about the film, its origins, and its cast/crew by August Ragone and Damon Foster. The on-disc materials are dominated by nearly an hour of trailers for various HK films, several from the Shaw Bros. collection and presumably set for future release by Image here in the States, and another 45 minutes of seemingly random, unsubtitled, extremely tedious trailers for a bunch more films. I'm not sure who sits through that many trailers, especially when some aren't even identified in the trailer itself, but they are here for your viewing satisfaction. More to the matter at hand is a photo gallery and promo art gallery dedicated to Inframan, and a PDF file containing an interview with director Hua Shan, accessible on your DVD-ROM drive. The package includes a slipcase duplicating everything already on the jacket art, a practice I personally find rather pointless and wasteful.

Extras Grade: C


Final Comments

If you enjoy cheese, martial arts action, and monster flicks, then you really can't go wrong with Super Inframan. The DVD leaves something to be desired technically, but the movie is so insanely entertaining that it would seem churlish to complain (not that that would stop us).


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