Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Iron Fist: The Giants Are Coming (1973)

Original Title: Demir yumruk: Devler geliyor

Two hostile groups of evil foreign evil-doers have come to Turkey to find a mysterious hidden dagger, which in turn will lead its owner to some mysterious hidden uranium mines, which again in turn will make their owner the (mysterious and hidden?) ruler of the world.

Said forces of evil are a cross-dressing (or just very gender-confusing) Fu Manchu with his army of bikini-clad, high-heeled and caped machinegun-toting women and boring normal henchmen and a sure sense for fine lair-design (and, as will later turn out, a love for torture), and the bald, scar-faced Russian Zagoff with his army of guys in mock-Cossack outfits and boring normal henchmen and a sure sense for having a guy with a steel claw hand as his right hand man. But don't worry, easily worried reader, the forces of good are on their way too, in the form of Turkish secret police agent Meral (Feri Cansel), her co-agent and philandering fiancée Ervel, their pratfalling, yet two-fisted and competent comic-relief side-kick Orhan and vengeance-seeking Murat, the son of (and I quote) "the only expert on Egyptology" whose knowledge about the dagger got him killed.

While Meral is working overtime by doing undercover jobs as a masked dancer in Fu Manchu's lair (didn't I say the guy's got style?) and as Zagoff's new secretary, the bad guys take turns kidnapping and trying to kidnap Murat and whoever is with him at that moment, in the hope that Murat will be able to tell them where that darn dagger is hidden, until the good guys manage to punch their way to freedom again, only to then be re-caught before they can even drink a nice cup of tea. That is, until (or is that until until?) Ervel is seemingly killed by Zagoff, but returns dressed in a superhero outfit that cleverly and-oh-so-subtly incorporates the logos of both Superman and Batman to do even more and better punching.

Oh yes, Turkish pop cinema. You know the drill by now I suppose, and will expect of Iron Fist exactly the mixture of straight-faced silliness, enthusiastic (and technically dubious) action sequences whose sound effects only have the slightest connection to what is actually going on on screen, blatant disregard for trademark and copyright laws, wild mugging of the bad guys, and the same "borrowed" music on the soundtrack every second of these films has, that it delivers.

If you're like me, you will be very happy with that, too, and will probably applaud the film's tendency to randomly throw completely useless stuff on screen because someone thought it would be a cool idea to have Zagoff demonstrate his invention of an iron block-hand thingie that also functions as a gun, even though it's never going to be used during the course of the film. That particular case might of course be the film's director Tunc Basaran making fun of the rule that guns hanging over fireplaces just must be fired.

It's of course all delivered in the breathless pulp style of Turkish cinema of this type and era and driven by a sense of the ridiculously awesome that was basically invented to charm the pants off of cult movie fans thirty years later.

As a bonus beside the typically awesome and weird, Iron Fist also recommends itself by letting Meral be just as competent as the guys (and quite stunning to look at, too) and by being as obvious about possible gay subtext as any Turkish film I've ever seen. I don't necessarily mean the (problematic if you want to go all serious on a film that really wasn't made for it) cross-dressing Fu Manchu, but rather the enthusiastic hugging and touching between male characters who have already been seen shouting stuff like "Let's shower together!". I'd be remiss in my duty if I wouldn't mention Orhan's very loud and big love for Ervel's bodily achievements in this context, or the fact that Murat and Ervel are suddenly the biggest buddies after a bit of training and showering ("showering"?). In all honesty, it would be no surprise at all if the four good main characters would celebrate their final victory in a good, old-fashioned orgy.

Which would be the perfect finale for a movie that already is an orgy of awesomeness.


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