Thursday, February 16, 2012

Krieg der Infras / Kamen Rider Super-1: The Movie (Japan, 1981)


OK, this film – if you can call it that – doesn't seem to have had an English-language release (we watched it in German), so we're not really sure there is any point in giving it an English-language review... but what the hell.
Entitled Krieg der Infras in Germany, which translates into "War of the Infras", the DVD release is not an original standalone movie but rather a mishmash "narrative" edited together from the original Japanese TV show, Kamen Raidâ, which ran for 98 episodes from 1971 to 1973. The series seems to have been incredibly popular and influential, for it has gone through dozens of continuations, reboots, remakes, whatever – in fact, according to imdb, the latest film version, entitled Ôzu den'ô ôru raidâ: Rettsu gô Kamen raidâ, was planned to premiere in Japan on March 15, 2011, an event that got delayed by the earthquake and tsunami and resultant nuclear disaster. (Yes, kiddies: nuclear energy is safe energy!) Here at A Wasted Life, we probably won't bother watching the new version...
In as much as one could possible say there is a plot to the film, the plot concerns a nice young student sportsman named, dunno, Hara-kiri or something, who goes to buy a present for a his gal and instead gets kidnapped by an evil secret organization called SHOCKER – "Sacred Hegemony of Cycle Kindred Evolutional Realm" – who give him superpowers and plan to brainwash him into becoming a loyal servant, but before they can do so he escapes. That day onwards, he battles SHOCKER, turning into a motorcycle-riding super-cyborg wearing a grasshopper-inspired costume whenever he takes a specific position. He is soon joined by another good guy who can turn into a motorcycle-riding super-cyborg wearing a grasshopper-inspired costume, and together the two try to stop SHOCKER from taking over the world.
As can be imagined when one takes 98 half-hour episodes and cuts them down into a 1.5 hour film, the narrative progression suffers a bit. First there is one grasshopper on a motorbike, then two, then one and then suddenly two again – no explanation. Other characters appear and disappear just as quickly and out of the blue. To speak of continuity is a bit like taking X-Lax to stop diarrhea – pointless and stupid. The term "feature-length film" is hardly applicable to Krieg der Infras, as the term infers a logical narrative flow, something Krieg der Infras lacks; the DVD plays very much like what it is, a discontinuous series of scenes taken from a common source and strung together.
That said, the films brims with some truly inspired, unbelievably retarded costumes, not to mention way too many endless scenes of costumed weirdos chasing each other on motorcycles. What is also really cool is that every time a bad guy gets beaten or falls off the side of a cliff – two things that happen a lot in the film – they explode in a puff of badly edited smoke. (Why some explode after one hit or fall and others after ten is left unexplained, but who cares.) But niftily batty costumes, motorcycle chases and puffs of smoke is all the film has going for it, and these three features get repeated in ad nauseam, so it all gets redundant really quick. Thus, all the giggles aside, Krieg der Infras also gets, like, REALLY boring REALLY quickly.
Which is not to say a protracted edit of scenes like Krieg der Infras is totally without merit. The film is without a doubt the perfect film for wall-flimmering deco at some coffee shop in Holland or a disco or party: it will instigate smiles and laughter with those who briefly look upon it as they dance and party, while the stoners will gaze in open-mouthed amazement. And it isn't really as if you need to hear of the dialog to understand anything that's going on, 'cause what you see is what it is: cyborg grasshoppers on a motorbike, exploding bad guys in nifty costumes, and motorcycle chases.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...