Sunday, 5 October 2014
Atomic Rulers (1964)
This film, the title of which is sometimes extended with the suffix "Of The World", is mashed together from the first two Super Giant short films. Super Giant was the first Japanese celluloid hero, with nine theatrical outings in the late 1950s (each presumably as part of a larger bill, since they were each less than an hour long).
So to get the obvious out of the way first: this is dreadful. The original films were probably pretty hokey to begin with, but the addition of piles of narration and terrible English voice acting certainly doesn't help any. Nor does a script of immense stupidity.
Nuclear tests on Earth are causing dangerous radiation to spread to other planets (we need to find this radiation - given how fast it reaches other solar systems, it's got no time for Einstein or that relativity thing). The Peace Council of the Emerald Planet ... that's these guys:
Resolves to send an agent to Earth to prevent humanity from destroying all life in this part of the universe. This agent is Super Giant, though he is renamed Starman, here. Starman is made of steel (despite appearing entirely human) and gifted with a device that lets him fly through space, detect radiation, and speak any language.
Coming to Earth, Starman tangles with the evil nation of Meropol, whose agents have smuggled nuclear devices into every country on Earth and plan to take over the world by holding it hostage. For reasons that aren't explained, the Meropol bombs will only work with a control device nearby, and the bad guys are smuggling this into Japan as the movie begins. Starman immediately senses it because for some reason it is highly radioactive. Given that it is not a bomb, I have no idea why. Anyway, he tries to get it - a task that should be easy given that he's super strong and immune to bullets. He does manage to do so, but he's frankly a bit of a twit and manages to lose it again. Saving the life of an allegedly cute child might have factored into this, but I'm not inclined to give him much credit on that front.
There's lots of supposedly ruthless baddies leaving their enemies alive, and comically bad fight scenes, before totally-not-Superman wins the day and flies back to his home planet.
Alas, they made three more of these mash-ups and at least two of them are in this box set, so I have more of this drivel to face in the future.