10 Of My Favorite Bad Movies – #8 INFRA-MAN
There are 2 categories of movies in my mind and there always has been. First there is Infra-Man, then there is everything else. I say this with no sense of hyperbole whatsoever. Infra-Man is quite simply the greatest movie an 8 year-old could ever watch. Understand that growing up in New York City, almost every 8-12 year-old would drop everything on a Saturday afternoon at 5pm. See the old Channel 5 would show “Drive-In Movies” at 5 every Saturday. “Drive-in Movies” showed mothing but classic Shaw Brothers and Golden Harvest kung-fu films. My primary education in Martial Arts films came from “Drive-in Movies” and it was the best education a child could ask for. It was here that I first watched Infra-Man.
This is what happens when Hong Kong isn’t satisfied with just making epic Kung-fu movies. No, they have to combine elements from 2 Japanese icons, in this case we are talking about the well-known in America Ultraman and the not-so-well known Kamen Rider. Combine the 2 and you get Infra-Man. The movie is undeniably cheap, though I imagine a mint was spent in Hong Kong currency to make it. Hell just the promotion of the movie in Hong Kong was insane enough as Infra-Man had the distinction of being the first movie to use a hot-air balloon during production, the first Chinese Super Hero movie and the first Shaw Brothers movie to ever be storyboarded. With so many firsts you just know this movie is going to destroy an 8 year-old’s mind with its awesomeness!
“But James” I hear you asking, “What the hell is Infra-Man?”
Didn’t you read the movie poster at the top of the page? He is the man BEYOND bionics! That means he would beat the living hell out of The Six Million Dollar Man, The Bionic Woman AND The Bionic Six all while eating a pork bun!
“No you moron” I can hear you saying in disgust, “What is Infra-Man about?”
Oh… Well the evil Princess Dragon Mom, (her name in the English dub, in Chinese she is Demon Princess Elzebub), and her evil horde of Skeleton Monsters plan on conquering the earth. I mean, they are aliens after all…. no wait they are demons… at least I think they are demons. Maybe they are demonic aliens? Fuck if I can figure it out. They never really clarify to my recollection. Anyway, with the threat of Dragon Mom the world looks to the one country they always look to for ideas to save the planet… HONG KONG! Because when you want the best scientists in the world you want the British to politely ask a country they won in the Boxer Rebellion/Opium Wars for help. Luckily, Professor Chang has the answer to fighting the hordes of demon/aliens… turning his daughter’s fiancee Rayma into Infra-Man!
Can you imagine the good Dr. Chang telling the U.N. his plan? “Say I’ve got this technique for turning a regular guy into a one-man fighting force to stop these aliens AND I’m going to use my daughter’s tool of a fiancee as the test subject! Take my baby girl will he!” Anyway, Rayma becomes Infra-Man and does battle with Princess Dragon Mom’s kung-fu trained demons/aliens. A few initial encounters go well for Infra-Man, including 1 fight where he grows 30 feet tall and fights a giant plant monster. Dr. Chang also helps devise new weapons for Rayma to use, which leads to the greatest conversation in all of modern cinema!
Dr. Chang: There are weapons I haven’t given you as yet. For success it is essential you have… Thunderball Fists!
Rayma: Thunderball Fists? Can I have such a thing?
Dr. Chang: YES! [raising up his arms with clenched fists] THUNDERBALL FISTS!
Rayma: Hmm, [scratching his chin] Thunderball Fists…
Finally getting fed up with Infra-Man kicking her ass, Princess Dragon Mom has her goons, led by the cleverly named She-Demon, kidnap Dr. Chang’s daughter. This leads to the big showdown of the movie as Infra-Man invades Princess Dragon Mom’s base within Inner-Earth (Inner-Earth? Ok so they are demons!). Marvel as Infra-Man gets his ass-kicked and gets frozen in ice. But thanks to the power of the flashback Infra-Man remembers that Dr. Chang told him that if he ever found himself trapped in ice he can always throw 3 rockets on the ground to thaw out. Now see this is where the story breaksdown for me. Nowhere previously in the movie did Dr. Chang tell Rayma this. They invented a flashback as a means for Infra-Man to escape. I, as a movie-goer, am insulted. This entire fever dream flashback destroys the utter-realism of Infra-Man and completely takes me out of the movie.
Anyway, Infra-Man thaws out in record time, rescues Dr. Chang’s daughter and engages Princess Dragon Mom in combat in a fight that if you blink, you’ll miss it. Are you beginning to see why an ADD riddled 8 year-old would adore this movie? Ishtar’s Eyes! It has everything an 8 year-old could want in a movie. Let’s run the checklist!
Evil Women in skimpy outfits? Check! It is possibleShe-Demon my have resulted in my first pre-teen hard-on
Rubber suited monsters? Check!
Guys in shiny jumpsuits doing Kung-Fu? BIG CHECK!
My lord, this movie is a smorgasborg of juvenile awesomeness! Seriously, God bless the Shaw Brothers for making a movie this insane. It is the greatest 90 minutes of movie ever put to film. Shit, the reason why kids didn’t take to Jet Jaguar in the classic Godzilla vs. Megalon was because the Chinese made Infra-Man, who was already a Million-Billion times cooler. Other 8 year olds got mocked for expressing admiration for Jet Jaguar when Infra-Man was epically more awesome!
My god, children aren’t just cruel, they’re like little Nazis when it comes to ostracising others in their own age group. Me and my friends were like the Infra-Man SS, hunting down Jet Jaguar fans and mocking them until they cried… well not really… I was a pretty lonely kid… but a lonely kid that could do the Infra-Man arm motions to transform! Suck on that you 8 year old pricks! Go ahead and read you copiesof “Frog & Toad Are Friends” or marvel as your parents read E.B. White books to you… I’ll have Infra-Man!
So there you have it, a review of the over the top awesomely bad Infra-Man and brief look into my rather damaged childhood psyche. By the way, the lessons of this movie still hold true today. If Earth is getting invaded by demons, aliens or even worse Demonic Aliens, find a chinese scientist with a helpless daughter. He probably can turn you into the earth’s most bugfuck insanely awesome superhero… INFRA-MAN~!