The Super Inframan is a very uncharacteristic Shaw Brothers movie from 1975. The Japanese had had great success with science fiction monster movies and this movie shows that the great Hong Kong studio could do just as well in that genre. But this is not just a science fiction monster movie, it’s a superhero movie as well.
Earth has been invaded by monsters. They may have come from outer space but Professor Liu believes they’re led by people from Earth who lived before the last Ice Age, 20 million years ago. OK, they’re almost 20 million years wring in their dating of the last Ice Age, but hey this is a movie and you’re not watching this one because you want boring scientific accuracy.
The monsters are led by the beautiful but evil Princess Elzebub (Terry Liu). Fortunately Earth is not without hope - the Professor has been working on the Inframan for quite a while. The Inframan is like the bionic man, only more so. The man who is transformed into the Inframan will have awesome super powers. He should be a match for any monster. The Professor’s assistant Rayma will become the Inframan.
Unfortunately the monsters have kidnapped one of his assistants, Zhu Min, and have turned him into a kind of zombie. This gives the monsters an ally within the Professor’s own secret laboratory.
Things get even worse when the Professor’s daughter is kidnapped by the monsters. Only Inframan can save them!
This movie has everything you could possibly ask for. The monsters are incredibly cheesy - they’re all guys in rubber suits. But they’re great fun. The good guys all wear cool blue jumpsuits, except for Inframan himself who goes for classy red vinyl. The special effects are much of the 70s but they’re extremely well done. The sets are superb.
By western standards this might not have been an expensive movie but it looks expensive. One of the great strengths of Shaw Brothers movies is that they always look good - they put a huge emphasis on the visual impact of their films, an element that is often even more impressive than the action. They really excelled themselves with this one - the visuals are not just stunning, but they’re also absolutely right for the type of silly but fun movie that this is.
There’s non-stop action and of course there is kung fu as well. There is copious use of laser beams. And lots of explosions. There are motorcycle chases. The monsters can suddenly make themselves gigantic (in which case they are still men in rubber suits but filmed against miniature backgrounds). There’s Princess Elzebub’s bikini-clad assistant. And lots and lots of monsters.
This movie is all about fun. Director Shan Hua keeps the mood light, and he keeps the action rolling. This is not a movie that makes any great demands on the actors but they enter into the spirit of the thing. Their acting may not be sensational but it’s energetic.
The end result is a fascinating and wonderfully enjoyable blend of Shaw Brothers spectacle with Japanese monster movie silliness.
Image Entertainment’s DVD release offers a superb anamorphic transfer making the most of the Shawscope widescreen aspect ratio. The DVD offers both an English dub and the original Mandarin soundtrack with English subtitles.
This movie is simply non-stop silly cheesy fun. Highly recommended.