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That's no moon; that's the gods' spacestation.
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Puma Man, also known as The Puma Man, The Pyooma Man, The Pyewmaymin, or L'Uomo Puma, is a 1980s superhero movie produced by Italians in English.

The plot? Our villain is Dr. Kobras (Donald Pleasence in a shiny futuristic muu-muu), who has gotten his hands on a huge golden Aztec mask, which contains alien circuitry that allows it to control minds. He plans to use it to dominate world leaders, and already has a collection of papier-mâché heads signifying his mental conquests. Only one man can stop him: the eponymous Puma Man, the scion of a line of "man-gods" sired by ancient spacefaring Aztec alien puma things. He's an American living in nearby London, so Kobras sets off to determine who his foe is by hurling potential candidates out of windows. Only the Puma Man could survive that, y'see.

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Our hero is Tony Farms (Walter George Alton), an American paleontologist who is quickly discovered by Vadinho (Miguel Ángel Fuentes), an Aztec priest of the space-gods. The hulking holy man becomes Tony's mentor by hurling him out a window, chasing him around a university, and breaking into his apartment to aggressively push his belief system and fashion accessories. Tony is understandably reluctant to get involved in all this, but after mind-controlled love interest Jane Dobson (Sydne Rome) is used to lure him into a trap, Tony finally accepts his heroic destiny and a magical Aztec belt, transforming into the mighty Puma Man!

Now firmly allied with Vadinho, Tony sets about mastering his puma-derived superpowers to get the sacred mask out of Kobras' hands. He can see in the dark, sense danger, "leap" great distances (or fly, the writers don't seem to be sure), teleport, and feign death quite convincingly - you know, standard puma stuff. Oh, and his fingers can act as super-strong "claws", which Vadinho belatedly remembers to mention in the middle of a major battle. And possibly super-strength, which he uses to flip a car over and break the ropes he's bound with late in the movie, but not much else. Anyway, with these skills in hand, Tony heroically attacks Kobras' mansion stronghold, is soundly defeated, gets caught by Kobras' hypnosis, retreats, loses his superpowers through Kobras' mental commands, is nearly Driven to Suicide by Kobras' mind games, and heroically plays dead until the villain's minions go away.

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Vadinho then leads his own assault against Kobras, using a suicide belt to bluff his way inside. The Aztec resists the villain's hypnotism and demolishes his command center, while Jane Dobson smashes Tony's papier-mâché head, removing Kobras' mental control over him and restoring his powers. Puma Man quickly teleports to the rescue and helps the Aztec take down wave after wave of mooks, prompting Kobras to make a run for it. In the end, Tony is barely able to overcome an elderly bald man and cause Kobras' helicopter to crash, the golden mask is recovered, Vadinho gets beamed up by the alien-god-things, and Tony and Jane join the Quarter-Mile-High Club.

It was the featured film in an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000.


Puma Man contains examples of:

  • The Alleged Car: Tony's dorky little Eurocompact counts, given that Vadinho can tear it apart with his bare hands.
  • And I Must Scream: The characters are very aware that they are under Kobras' control, but they are tormented with excruciating pain if they go against Kobras' orders.
  • Artistic License – Geography: Stonehenge is not on the coast... or above sea level...
  • Ancient Astronauts: Traveling in space bathyspheres. Who apparently look like pumas, have terrible taste in fashion, and tend to leave mind control artifacts laying around.
  • Animal-Themed Superbeing: Type II (Animal Alias). His powers are only vaguely catlike, though.
    Mike: I don't mean to be picky, but pumas aren't really known for flying...
    • Vadinho does refer a few times to the Great God Puma, so Puma Man may derive thematically from a catlike Aztec god, not from the cat itself.
  • Angel Unaware: When Vadinho is about to leave with the aliens at the end, a question occurs to Tony.
    Tony: Tell me the truth, Vadinho; are you one of them?
    Crow (as Vadinho): Who, me? No, I'm Jewish.
  • Badass Native/Badass Preacher: Admittedly Vadinho's a preacher of the most ridiculous religion since Happyology, but it still counts!
  • Badass Normal: Again, Vadinho, though how "normal" he is (he's strong enough to rip apart cars with his bare hands, and can magically heal himself) could be up for debate.
    • Given the fact he is just a portly old man, Kobras is able to physically grapple with Tony during his attempted helicopter escape despite the fact Tony is both super strong and able to rip apart metal and stone with his "claws".
  • Bald of Evil: Kobras. "Someday I hope to be as bald as you, sir."
  • Brandishment Bluff: Vadinho bluffs his way into Kobras' mansion with a bomb strapped around his chest to get near Kobras' command center.
  • But Now I Must Go: The gods at the beginning of the film. Later, Vadinho, who hitches a ride back to the Andes Plateau from the gods when the mask is recovered.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: In a scene deleted from the MST3K version, Vadinho lifts up the back end of Tony's car off the ground to stop him from escaping, rips the lock and handle off of door of the car and once blocked inside, rips off the steering wheel and bends the gear shift to escape. Granted, Tony drives a tiny classic Volkswagen Beetle, but it is still impressive.
  • Chest Insignia: If Tony ever forgets what the MacGuffin looks like, he can just look at his shirt.
  • The Chosen One: Tony, allegedly. But everyone knows the real hero of the story is Vadinho.
  • Chroma Key: Badly, badly done.
  • Combo Platter Powers: Puma Man's displayed powers include Super Strength, Super Reflexes, flight, teleportation, intangibility, the ability to see in darkness, a Danger Sense and the ability to send himself into a death-like coma.
  • Covers Always Lie: Take a good hard look at that poster up above. Now go watch the movie. Now laugh derisively.
  • Danger Sense: An awkward implementation. It manifests by giving him a headache and/or a dizzy spell several minutes before the actual danger occurs, and gives him no indication of what the danger will be or where it'll come from. Worse, half the time he just ignores it. (For example, Vadinho warned him that his life would be in danger at the Dutch embassy, his danger sense goes off at the Dutch embassy, but he's still taken completely by surprise when Kobras' thugs attack him at the Dutch embassy)
  • Destination Defenestration: Remember, the best way to spot your local Puma Man is to chuck people out of windows until one of them survives. The film puts a little too much effort into making us wonder if maybe Vadinho's one of the guys who's chucking random Americans out of windows looking for the right one, with how he stalks around wordlessly looking all creepy, tearing through all obstructions with his bare hands to get to Tony, and then suddenly grabbing him and shoving him out a window. Since he actually works for the aliens sponsoring Pumaman, you'd hope he'd have less murder-y methods for finding the right guy at his disposal. But it turns out it's not Vadinho, however — there's a quick glimpse of the two people, neither of them Vadinho, who throw one of the other victims out a window — but the movie doesn't go out of its way to make that clear.
  • The Dinosaurs Had It Coming:
    Jane: So dinosaurs became extinct because they no longer knew how to love each other. Is that right?
    Tony: Exactly. And I wouldn't want our species to end the same way.
  • Driven to Suicide: Kobras uses the mask to convince Tony to commit suicide. Vadinho prevents it.
  • Driving a Desk: Tony's flying scenes:
    Mike: "He has the power to rear-project entire cities!"
  • Dull Surprise: Tony Farms, for the most part.
    Tom: "At all times he has the look of a man who's been hit with a fish."
  • Dumb Blonde: She seems like a nice girl and all, but holy crap is Jane not the sharpest tool in the shed. It might by slightly justified as Jane spends most of the movie under Kobras' control.
  • The '80s: Though the film came out early on in 1980, meaning it had most likely been filmed prior to the end of The '70s, not to mention the disco-esque music & other things.
  • 11th-Hour Superpower:
    • Because his mentor forgot to mention that "your hands are claws" during the earlier orientation. Though Tony might have been able to extrapolate this from his name if his powers weren't so random.
    • Later, he is told he has the ability to fake his own death just as Kobras commands him to kill himself. This apparently satisfies the command, because the compulsion is gone when he wakes up.
  • Faking the Dead: Heroically! Witness as Puma Man fakes his own death so Kobras will leave him alone and he can let Vadinho do everything!
  • The Fashionista: Jane has to wear a lot of very odd outfits — i.e., the "S&M Day at the Field Museum" look — and she pulls it off for the most part.
    Tom: A Zubaz top, a lab coat and a veil ... it works.
  • Glass Cannon: Tony is super strong and fast and can fly, but the one thing he's lacking from Superman's standard Flying Brick package is the immunity to bullets, so Tony has to dodge gunfire.
  • Herald: Vadinho, it's one of his jobs, telling the hero he's The Hero.note 
  • Healing Factor In the MST3K version, Vadinho's injuries from being beaten up by Kobras' mooks are unexplainedly healed. A scene removed from MST3K has him doing a ritual to heal all his wounds.
  • The Hero:
    • Ostensibly Tony. He's the title character, he has some decent super powers (albeit with some of the worst special effects supporting them) which he gets a handle on how to use really quickly, and he has he occasional good idea to drive the plot forward (like sneaking a tracker into Jane's car to find Kobras' hideout). But he also has no willpower to resist the very artifact he's supposed to be the protector of, in addition to being smarmy, whiny, and not very bright overall.note 
    • This makes Vadinho, ostensibly the sidekick and/or mentor character, much more deserving of The Hero title. He's the only one who knows what's going on, and he's the only one actually effective in battle. In a scene cut from the MST3K version, he displays enough strength to lift the rear wheels of Tony's car off the ground, and is able to tear his way inside to warn Tony about a trap at the embassy (Tony goes anyway, falls into the trap). Which raises the question: why does he need the whiny git in the first place?
  • Heroic Willpower: Vadinho, naturally has the willpower to resist the mind-control mask. Even Jane is able to overcome it instead of shooting the Puma Man. But our "hero," Tony? Nope.
    • Villainous Valor: Once the tables have turned and Tony has Kobras in the eye of the mind-control device, even he is able to better resist it than Tony, leading to his escape.
  • High-Altitude Interrogation: Puma Man grabs one of Kobras's mooks and flies him up high in the air and repeatedly drops him to lower heights until Puma Man is satisfied with the information he receives.
    Mike: Help! I'm falling at a sixty-degree angle, breaking all the laws of physics!
  • Hot Scientist: Jane Dobson. Yes, really, Jane is supposed to be an archaeologist.
  • Idiot Hero: We're probably not supposed to come to this conclusion, but Tony is clearly not a bright man. His theory on the dinosaur's extinction also make one question his qualifications as a paleontologist, though that may have just been a terrible attempt at a pick-up line rather than what he believes. He's very much Distracted by the Sexy in that scene.
  • I Meant to Do That: There's a debate whether the movie was intentionally trying to be goofy with the way Puma Man flies. MST3K's Paul Chaplin believes this was a form of subtle humor on the part of the filmmakers while the rest of the writers believed everything was done seriously.
    • His pose was probably intentional (he's trying to imitate a four-legged "pouncing" pose rather than a Superman-like flying pose), but the terrible special effects are probably not intentional.
  • Intangible Man: Tony can walk through walls as well as teleport.
  • Landmark of Lore: Stonehenge. Don't ask what it's got to do with the Aztecs.
  • Lantern Jaw of Justice: Vadinho's got a pretty serious case of this. Which works, considering he's far more heroic than our titular 'hero'.
  • Leitmotif: The happy bouncy "flying" music. Mike and the Bots start writing lyrics for it after a while, as if it were a commercial jingle.
    Crow: When you want the flavor of bacon in a dip....
  • Legacy Character: The Puma Man is handed down from father to son, for at least two previous generations according to the film (Tony's father and grandfather).
  • The Load: Tony. Though, to his credit, he does figure out a way to find Kobras' mansion and even kills Kobras at the end, though with far more trouble than a guy with superhuman attributes should really have against an elderly man.
  • MacGuffin: The Mask. Doubles as a Mind-Control Device.
  • Magical Native American: Vadinho uses a ritual to heal himself after taking a beating, is strong enough to tear apart a car barehanded, and has the gods on speed-dial.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident: When Tony is Faking the Dead, Kobra's Dragon Ranker suggests they plug Tony's seeming dead body to make sure he's dead. Kobras overrules him, saying it would point to murder, not suicide. Of course, the question must be asked: who would know and who would care? (It's been established that Kobras controls the police and government at this point.)
  • Mayincatec: The film creators apparently did a smattering of work on early American cultures and then threw it all out and went with whatever they thought looked or sounded cool. (They thought wrong)
  • The Mentor: Vadinho, although his teaching methods leave a lot to be desired.
  • Mighty Whitey: Vadinho is far more capable, but Tony is the main character, because.
  • Mile-High Club: With Tony And Jane at the end.
  • Mondegreen: Tony's friend Martin somehow mishears (or misremembers) "Puma Man" as "Sandwich Man".
  • My Significance Sense Is Tingling/Spider-Sense: Tony gets headaches when trouble's around. Well, sometimes; he still walks obliviously into traps and ambushes several times.note 
  • Neglectful Precursors: Despite Vadihno's claims that "Each man is free" as a mantra of the gods, they left a mask on Earth that controls people's minds.
  • Neutral Female: Tony gets beaten up by thugs and Jane just sits around looking like she has a slight headache.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: Since the Puma Man's powers are never actually defined, pretty much anything he does counts as this. He will constantly be informed of another power just in time for him to use it right then and there. He even discovers the power to temporarily die right when Kobras is trying to make him do just that.
    • His powers are whatever Vadinho tells him his powers are.
    • A superhero based entirely around the Placebo Effect? That sounds like a way better movie than this!
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: This is an Italian movie. Set in England. About an American. With Aztec superpowers.
  • No-Sell: Vadinho no sells a jump kick during the fight at the end.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Jane Dobson is the daughter of the Dutch ambassador. We get no explanation for her (or her dad's) lack of a Dutch accent.
  • Not Quite Dead: One Of Puma Man's powers.
  • Now You Tell Me: The world leaders ponder Kobras' security after they're already in his mansion and effectively in his power.
  • Older Sidekick: Vadinho.
  • Our Gods Are Different
    Mike: Whole Bible thing? Bunch of hooey. It's all about aliens and spinnin' globes.
  • Percussive Prevention: When a de-powered Tony tries to stop Vadinho from going on a suicide mission, the priest floors him with one punch.
    Servo: Yes! The Aztec speaks for all of us!
  • Pointless Doomsday Device: While not technically a doomsday device, the mask is capable of controlling men's minds. For a race that has as a motto "Each man is a god, each man is free," there seems to be no conceivable reason for the aliens to have created this.
  • Porn Stache: Worn by many of the villains. May explain some of the awkward sequences. (Maybe not.)
    Servo: My mustache makes me fall sideways!
    "Sam Elliot is Ted Turner in The Gregory Peck Story!"
  • Power Incontinence: Once Kobras gets a hold of Tony's mind, he starts affecting his powers before attacking his mind.
  • Power Perversion Potential: Apparently doing the nasty while hovering in mid-air is "the only way to make little Puma Men."
  • Rear Projection: Dear God is it misused for major Special Effect Failure. Note to producers: keep the camera steady for the flying sequences.
  • Rummage Sale Reject: The Puma Man - Khaki slacks and a half-cape/poncho?
    Mike: They gave him the Captain Dork costume by mistake.
  • Secret Legacy: Not that you'd want to put "the Puma Man" on your resume or anything...
  • Satellite Love Interest: Jane. A character so lacking in personality that she barely qualifies as a cardboard cutout. And yet she still manages to prove herself to have more Heroic Willpower than our "hero" by managing to repeatedly resist (if not completely overcome) Kobras' mind control when he was completely unable to.
  • Shaped Like Itself: During the introduction, the gods assure us that the Puma Man will have all the powers of... a Puma Man (thereby justifying New Powers as the Plot Demands).
  • Single Line of Descent: The opening narration by the space-god establishes that all of his son's male-line descendants should be Pumamen, but Tony is apparently the only one.
  • Sissy Villain: Kobras. And yet our "hero" Tony barely manages to take him in a one-on-one fight.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: The main theme would be more at home with a contemporary sitcom than a superhero film.
  • Spheroid Dropship: The Ancient Gods' ship, which on the poster is rendered suspiciously similar to the Death Star.
  • Space Clothes: Kobras' shiny futuristic muu-muu thingy. Which is actually an improvement over the sweaty leather S&M jacket he's wearing when first introduced.
  • Strong as They Need to Be: Inverted. The Puma Man can tear apart an old Jaguar (car) with his bare hands and rip into a brick wall, but has trouble overcoming Kobras in a struggle.
    Mike: So, ripping through metal doors, no problem; subduing stocky senior citizens, that's another story.
    • It's inconsistent whether he's supposed to have actual super-strength, or just super-strong finger "claws" to rip into things. It's mostly shown as the latter, but at one point he lifts up a car and flips it over, and late in the movie he easily breaks ropes that were binding him when he recovers his powers.
  • Sufficiently Advanced Alien: Those starfaring Aztec god-aliens.
  • Superhero: Not a very good one, but a superhero nonetheless.
  • Super Hero Origin: His dad was secretly a Puma Man; then, one day, an Aztec introduced him to defenestration.
  • Super Reflexes: Puma Man doesn't have invulnerability or enhanced durability, he has this instead.
  • Survival Mantra: "Each man is a god... each man is free... each man is a god..." it helps Vadinho resist the mask's mind controlling power.
  • Teleporters and Transporters: One of Puma Man's many powers.
  • Theme Music Power-Up: A bouncy little synthesized tune that surprisingly fits the goofiness of the superhero.
  • Too Dumb to Live: One of Kobras's henchmen tries to shoot Tony during the previously-mentioned High-Altitude Interrogation. For once in the movie, Tony is justified in calling someone else an idiot — pointing out to the thug he's interrogating that if he shoots Tony while they're hovering, Tony will drop the thug to his death.
  • Transformation Trinket: The Belt.
    Mike: You know, my mom had a pair of earrings that did the same thing.
  • Trickster Mentor: Vadinho
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: At one point, Tony teleports into his friend Martin's fire truck and asks him for a tracking device. Martin has no idea that Tony became a superhero up to this point, but seems only mildly surprised by Tony's outfit (he thinks it's an advertising gimmick, including misremembering Tony's superhero name as "Sandwich Man") or by the fact that Tony just teleported into the seat next to him.
  • Upgrade Artifact: The Belt. Tony has some powers before he puts it on, but the belt unlocks the rest.
  • Voodoo Shark: As mentioned in Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?, below, Kobras telling his thugs not to shoot Tony to make sure he's dead really makes no sense. Kobras had no problem chucking four people out of high rise windows in broad daylight before he controlled half the government and the police force. The man can literally get away with murder and already has. It's obvious that the real reason he tells them not to shoot is because then the rest of the movie would be Vadinho cleaning things up by himself and then spending the rest of his days living with the guilt of having gotten The Chosen One killed stupidly. It would have actually made more sense if the thugs just hadn't even brought it up at all.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: It's unclear where Kobras' second-in-command Ranker disappears to. He spends most of the movie by Kobras' side, acting as his mouthpiece and sounding board, but after checking whether Tony committed suicide, he's reduced to a background character with no further lines. When Vadinho starts fighting in the climactic final battle, Ranker is taken out with one punch and then vanishes entirely, even though all the other nameless thugs take multiple hits from both Vadinho and Tony and keep coming back for more.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: When Kobras' thugs find Tony playing dead, Ranker suggests putting a bullet in him to make absolutely sure. Kobras says no, because he wants it to look like an accident, although since by this point Kobras has mind-controlled half the government, you have to wonder why. Put another way:
    Mike: [as Kobras] No, that would be cheating.

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