Film reviews

#551 – Three Supermen in Santo Domingo (1986)

Three Supermen in Santo Domingo (1986)

Film review #551

Director: Italo Martinenghi

SYNOPSIS: FBI agent Brad Scott is once again required to team up with the international thieves known as “The Supermen,” this time they travel to Santo Domingo in South America to disrupt a money counterfeiting operation by some local crime gangs.

THOUGHTS/ANALYSIS: Three Supermen in Santo Domingo is a 1986 film and the final instalment in the Three Supermen series of films. The plot is fairly typical and familiar to those who have watched any of the other films: an FBI agent has to team up with the international thieves known as “The Supermen,” this time travelling to Santo Domingo to stop a counterfeiting operation run by a local gang. There’s no time travelling or outlandish elements in this film; it’s just a simple crimefighting, slapstick bit of fun, although obviously the supermen still have their bulletproof suits, that villains never quite work out that they could just shoot them in their uncovered heads. There’s a variety of action scenes (which consist of a fair amount of speeding up and reversing footage instead of actual stunts), and setups involving disguises, and elaborate plans, but nothing too exciting.

As always, the film revolves around the three supermen, and once again, they are played by different actors; all with the exception of one, Sal Borgese, who has been playing the mute superman since the second film (in the ones which you could consider “canon” anyway). The names of the characters also change quite a lot, and this time it seems like they’ve just resorted to calling Sal’s character Sal. The other two actors change every film, and this time the change is quite apparent, as they are obviously a lot younger than Sal. One of them is Stefano Martinenghi, who is the son of the director, and clearly only got the role because of this: he doesn’t really fit the role of the charming, cheeky lead. The actor playing the role of FBI agent Brad Scott also doesn’t really work because he seems way too young, and typically the role goes to someone who is older and more straight-laced, to balance with the supermen’s goofiness. There are glimmers of that personality, but not much. The rest of the cast aren’t really worth mentioning, as the villains don’t really stand out, and the supporting cast barely exist on screen.

It’s perhaps worth mentioning at this point that this film series has been going on for nearly twenty years at the time this film was made; and there is no reason for it to have done so. The original was a cheap b-movie that spoofed sci-fi and spy films that were popular in 1967, but had a somewhat interesting twist by having professional acrobats play the lead roles, which led to some fun action scenes and well-choregraphed fights. The first film, while nothing more than a typical b-movie, did everything it really needed to, but for some reason it became a series that went on to satirise other types of films, such as Westerns, cold war plots, martial arts films, and even got a Turkish rip-off version…which further still, somewhat fused with the Turkish rip-off scene when production of the films moved to Turkey. The whole production of this series is all over the place, but I suppose credit should be given to the films somewhat adapting to changing to cultural trends. Three Supermen in Santo Domingo doesn’t really offer anything special in this regard though, and while it keeps things simple, it definitely feels like a format that is well past its sell-by date in 1986, and since this is the final film in the series, the makers probably knew this too. Definitely deserves credit for going for twenty years, but its last hurrah is uneventful.