• Superman Donuyor/Demir Yumruk Devler Geliyor (Onar Films) DVD Review

    Released by: Onar Films
    Released on: Summer, 2007.
    Director: Kunt Tulgar/Tunc Basaran
    Cast: Tayfun Demir, Yildirim Gencer, Gungor Bayrak/Huseyin Zan, Altan Gunbay, Kayhan Yildizoglu
    Year: 1979/1973
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    Superman Donuyor/ Demir Yumruk Devler Geliyor – Movie Review:

    Onar Films presents a mind-melting double feature of superhero justice, Turkish style! Teaming up the notorious Superman Donuyor (better known in bootleg circles as simply Turkish Superman) with the obscure Superman related oddity Demir Yumruk Devler Geliyor, this really is the most fun you’ll have at the movies any time soon.

    Supermen Donuyor (Superman Returns):

    Forget the Brian Singer film... this is the real Superman Returns!

    This film begins with one of the finest opening scenes ever filmed by portraying the outer reaches of space by hanging Christmas ornaments over a black background with glitter spattered over it. Nice! From there we learn that Tayfun (he’s Turkish Clark Kent) is an alien from the destroyed planet of Krypton who arrived in Earth in a rocket. His parents tell him this and he doesn’t seem all that phased by it until they tell him to go off and fulfill his destiny by bringing a green rock to a cave. He does just that, his toothless alien father pops out and tells him that he’s Superman, and before you know it Teyfun has all the powers of the popular DC Comics character. He even wears glasses and writes for a newspaper! At any rate, he goes off to fight evil, stop crime and save the day and basically just do his Turkish Superman thing.

    What’s remarkable about Superman Returns is how completely horrible it is, even by the very low standards of Turkish genre cinema. The man cast in the lead role is a gangly, tall guy who towers over everyone else in the film – good thing he’s got gigantic Elton John glasses to disguise himself with! Every time that Superman flies it’s pretty much just an action figure on a string in front of a movie screen and the film is not only ripe with stock footage inserts but it’s full of movie music pilfered from the original 1978 Superman, a few James Bond movies, and even Midnight Express (the political ramifications of a Turkish film borrowing from this movie are boggling)!

    In terms of how accurate director Kunt Tulgar’s (who played Copperhead in The Deathless Devil!) take on the Superman mythos is, let it suffice to say that he uses his X-ray vision to look through women’s’ clothing and that he has no qualms whatsoever about throwing his enemies through brick walls, face first. In fact, when you get right down to it, Superman is a bit of a prick in this movie. At one point he impales a bad guy on a water pipe and he kills at least three bad guys in this movie.

    That said, as bad as the film is and as horrible as the special effects are, there’s this wonderfully naïve manic charm to the whole thing that makes it a bit of a retarded masterpiece. The film’s complete disregard for copyright or character history isn’t really admirable but it certainly is impressive in its audacity and the frenetic pacing and completely off the wall moments of unexpected violence and sexual innuendo certainly give the film plenty of messed up appeal.

    Demir Yumruk Devler Geliyor (Iron Fist: The Giants Are Coming):

    The second film on the set is from Tunc Basaran who is supposedly the same man who gave us the infamous Turkish Wizard Of Oz in 1971. This one follows two gangs of evil super villains, one lead by none other than Fu Manchu himself, the other by a disfigured mutant guy and his evil sidekick who wields his hooked arm with deadly results. These two factions go to war and it’s up to Iron Fist, who is more or less Batman with a dose of Superman thrown in for good measure, to stop things before they get even more out of hand than they already are.

    Whereas the first film on this disc is a straight ahead (well straight ahead by Turkish cinema standards at least) knock-off of a standard superhero story, this second feature has more in common with the pulpy serials of the 30s and 40s. Granted, it definitely borrows elements from popular DC comics, Batman in particular, and it throws in some Bond-ish elements here and there, but it really plays out more like Spy Smasher or something like that.

    That said, this is a Turkish film and so the requisite bizarro-elements are here in full force. You want a transvestite in a wheelchair wreaking havoc? Lux Interior-esque Bikini Girls With Machine Guns? Crazy fights, nifty costumes and plenty of oddball facial hair? All this and more can be yours. The film was obviously made fast and cheap as most Turkish films seem to be but there’s definitely a bit more skill and creativity shown here than in the first feature, meaning that both films are enjoyable if for very different reasons. The black and white cinematography makes surprisingly good use of shadows in some spots and while it would be exaggerating to describe it as noir-ish it is at least atmospheric in spots. The movie is really well paced and actually has a decent little story behind it all making it easier to take seriously and appreciate on a considerably more serious level than the first movie. The movie also really benefits from an ass shaking bongo heavy bassy soundtrack that sets the mood perfectly.

    Superman Donuyor/ Demir Yumruk Devler Geliyor – DVD Review:

    Superman Returns is presented in 1.33.1 fullframe, in color, while Iron Fist: The Giants Are Coming, also in 1.33.1 fullframe, is black and white. During the heyday of Turkish genre films, movies were churned out fast and cheap but little attention was paid to preserving these odd little movies. With that said, Onar films has done their best to find the nicest existing elements but that pretty much means they’re working with beat up prints or tape masters as the negatives are, for the most part, long gone.

    Superman Returns definitely looks better than the bootleg versions that have been floating around for years through various gray market retailers and fan trading circles. Image quality is far from perfect but the colors aren’t nearly as washed out as the bootleg versions were and even if the picture is a bit soft everything is at least perfectly watchable.

    The slightly older Iron Fist: The Giants Are Coming actually looks better than the slightly more recent Superman Returns. Contrast is a bit wonky in some spots and there’s a bit of print damage scattered throughout but again, it’s all perfectly watchable and Onar has done a decent job presenting the film in okay condition. Mpeg compression artifacts aren’t a problem nor are there really edge enhancement issues. Most of the flaws noticeable on both films are related to the source materials, but thankfully, those accustomed to the way Turkish films have been made available on home video until recently (read: crappy bootlegs) should be pretty happy with the way that things have turned out here on this disc.

    Both films are presented in Turkish in Dolby Digital Mono with optional subtitles provided in Greek and in English. As with the video presentation, there are some problems with the source materials used for the mastering but the hiss that pops up more or less throughout the movies isn’t overpowering. The subtitles are fine and if there’s an awkward phrase here or there, at least the movies have subtitles in the first place (again, making this a huge step up from the bootlegs making the rounds).

    The main extra feature on this disc is a video interview with the director of Superman Returns, the one and only Mr. Kunt Tulgar! Clocking in at roughly forty-five minutes in length, this is a pretty extensive discussion of Mr. Tulgar’s life and times. Conducted in September 2006 in Istanbul, Kunt talks about his work on the Turkish Tarzan movies, how he got his start in the industry and much more. He makes for an interesting interviewee and he’s got more than a few nifty stories to share.

    Rounding out the extra features is a fancy still gallery of images relating to the films on this disc, text biographies and filmographies for the key players and trailers for nine other Turkish features (including one of the Tarzan films and some high quality Kilink action as well!

    Superman Donuyor/ Demir Yumruk Devler Geliyor – The Final Word:

    Onar Films’ Turkish Superman Double Bill is limited to only 1200 copies (and is now long out of print and quite hard to find). Granted, the audio and video aren’t perfect but the extras are fun and fans of this unique brand of cinema know what to expect in terms of presentation. The movies themselves are a complete blast, and anyone even remotely into international psychotronic cinema ought to give this disc some serious consideration.

    Comments 4 Comments
    1. Andrew Monroe's Avatar
      Andrew Monroe -
      Great review! Turkish Superman might just be my favorite of all the Onar releases. There I said it. We're much poorer without Onar around.
    1. Jack J's Avatar
      Jack J -
      Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Monroe View Post
      Great review! Turkish Superman might just be my favorite of all the Onar releases. There I said it. We're much poorer without Onar around.
      Ain't that the sad truth. I can't believe it's already been nine years since Bill Barounis passed away.
    1. Jack J's Avatar
      Jack J -
      I agree with Andrew; great review. And totally cool that you review these old DVD's (I assume they're not re-posts of your old reviews from dvdmaniacs or some such - or are they?).

      The print-run, 1200 was actually Onar in their heyday! Later on Bill had to cut the print-runs down to 600 (and if memory serves me right 500 at one point). Even though a few of us love these films, Bill had a hard time selling them. Hardly anybody wanted to pay for them - which still to this day makes me sad.
    1. Zane C.'s Avatar
      Zane C. -
      Bill gave these films superb releases and solid presentations. It’s a real shame that he’s gone. There’s a real hole left in the Turkish Cult Film genre in terms of releases.

      Onar releases are insanely priced these days. They’re long OOP, and I’m really happy to now have a complete run, because it’s highly doubtful anything like this will get released again.