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Film / The Super Inframan

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The man beyond bionics!
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The very first Chinese superhero film, The Super Inframan is a Tokusatsu-style film produced by the legendary Shaw Brothers Studio in 1975 and released in America the following year under the title Inframan. It's notable for being a fairly transparent knockoff of Ultraman and Kamen Rider (although, despite the poster or original namenote , not of Superman) that somehow managed to get a three-star review from Roger Ebertnote . Nevertheless, it's a fun, campy Chop Sockey film whose special effects and acting are, if not great, then at least in the same league as its "inspirations."

The story goes as follows: Princess Dragon Mom (Demon Princess Elzebub in the original) wakes up from hibernation and decides to conquer Earth, so she defrosts a few monsters — including the tentacled Octopus Mutant, the fire-breathing Emperor of Doom, and the oddly cuddly-looking Nemesis — and sends them out to wreak havoc. In order to combat them, young Science Patrol member Rayma (Danny Lee) volunteers to become cyborg Henshin Hero Inframan. Kung fu is utilized, motorcycles are ridden, Chekhov's Guns are fired, and even One Winged Angels prove to be vulnerable to Thunderball Fists.

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The Super Inframan provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: Prof. Chang's borderline heartwarming conversation with his daughter shortly before she gets kidnapped.
  • Behemoth Battle: Inframan vs. the Spider Monster, Round 2.
  • Beam-O-War: The Laser Horn Monster gets into one of these with Inframan. Subverted — Laser Horn Monster simply breaks the stalemate by shooting him with the other horn.
  • Cave Mouth: The entrance to Dragon Mom's lair is built after the mouth of a skeletal dragon-like beast.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Inframan is equipped with tiny missiles that can be used to thaw him if he ever gets frozen solid. But what are the chances of that?
  • Chewing the Scenery: A silent example: One of the monsters won't stop swaying and manages in one scene to slowly but surely move into almost every shot even though he has absolutely no relevance in the scene at all. It's distracting as all Hell.
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  • Dem Bones: Dragon Mom's mooks are dressed, awesomely enough, as biker skeletons.
  • The Dragon: Dragon Mom's henchwoman, Witch Eye, who serves her directly and commands the lesser mooks around.
  • Everybody Was Kung-Fu Fighting: For a bunch of scientists, Science Patrol can kick some ass when they need to.
  • Eyes Do Not Belong There: She-Demon, The Dragon to Dragon Mom, has long, clawed hands with an eye in the center of each. They shoot Frickin' Laser Beams.
  • Giant Foot of Stomping: The fight between Inframan and Spider Monster ends with Spider Monster being defeated and reduced to regular size, at which point Inframan - still in kaiju form - finished off his opponent with his boot.
  • Good Thing You Can Heal: Dragon Mom can regenerate her decapitated head in seconds.
  • Harmless Freezing: Professor Liu and his daughter gets frozen alive after getting captured by Dragon Mom, as she prepares to brainwash them, but when Inframan breaks them out they're none the worse for wear. Similarly, Inframan himself gets frozen and paralyzed by Dragon Mom at the end of the film, but he can orchestrate a quick breakout later on.
  • Henshin Hero: Transformation poses and all.
  • Informed Flaw: Supposedly Inframan is solar powered. When the bad guys try to exploit this by blocking out the sun near the end of the movie, his laser beam fails. Inframan then easily kills two monsters in the same scene without it. The only thing that actually stops his assault on the Princess's castle is being frozen solid, and even that doesn't stop him for long.
  • Losing Your Head: A very unintentionally comical version in the final battle. When Princess Dragon Mom goes One-Winged Angel and changes into a dragon, Inframan cuts off her head with his laser attacks. It grows right back. This happens five times before Inframan decides to just disintegrate her whole body to finish her off.
  • Made of Explodium: Everything explodes in this movie.
    James Rolfe: This could be the best movie ever made, except it should come with a warning label. It's highly combustible, and it could go BOOM!
  • Market-Based Title: The Japanese release combines the Chinese and English titles to become Chuugoku Choujin Inframan (中国超人インフラマン, China Superhuman Inframan).
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: Inframan's ability to enlarge himself to kaiju size is used exactly once, and that is when he's facing a similarly supersized monster. It never shows up again for the rest of the film.
  • One Bad Mother: In the English version.
  • One-Winged Angel: Dragon Mom shapeshifts into her true form for the final battle.
  • People in Rubber Suits: The monsters are depicted using this method.
  • The Professor: Chang serves in this capacity.
  • Rocket Punch: The mighty Thunderball Fists do this. Additionally, the Iron Fist Robots have this as their primary attack.
  • Science Hero: A platoon of them. They, of course, convince the hero to undergo cyborg-ization to become Inframan.
  • Sizeshifter: Giant Beetle can become gigantic. Thankfully — because he's basically Ultraman with the Serial Numbers Filed Off — Inframan can, too.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: Pretty much everything in the finale.
  • Sword of Plot Advancement: That's right. Thunderball Fists.
  • This Is a Drill: One of Nemesis' arms ends in a drill, the other... in some sort of shovel thing.
  • Whip It Good: Dragon Mom's preferred weapon, while in human form, is her electrified whip.
  • Word Salad Title: "Super" is the opposite of "Infra".

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