• Film reviews

    #543 – Three Supermen in the Jungle (1970)

    Three Supermen in the Jungle (1970)

    Film review #543

    Director: Bitto Albertini

    SYNOPSIS: The international thieves known as The Supermen are once again caught by the government and, along with government agent martin (again), they are forced to accept a mission on their behalf. This time, they are to head to Africa to stop the Russians from taking control of a uranium mine owned by the local tribe…

    THOUGHTS/ANALYSIS: Three Supermen in the Jungle is a 1970 Italian film, and the third in the “Three Supermen” series of films. We once again see the thieving duo known as “the Supermen,” who run around in their bulletproof suits, up to their old tricks, and the government wants to apprehend them to undertake a critical mission. They once again get agent Martin to do it, who is stopped just as he is about to get married, and the three are reunited once again to undertake a mission of critical importance: to head into the jungles of Africa, and prevent the Soviets from acquiring a lease on a uranium mine protected by the local tribe. The film’s plot is essentially following the trope of the “African jungle” adventure, somewhat leaning on parodying them, but mostly just a typical old comedy. As you might expect, a lot of the tropes about Africa, the jungle and the “natives” are outdated stereotypes that are not based in reality, but but certainly not as bad as some other films that do this: being a comedy means that you take these tropes less seriously, and not as indicative of reality.

    The films in this series have got constantly less fantastical and sci-fi: as the first one had elements of cloning, and machines that could turn things into precious jewels, and the second just centred around retrieving a film, the third one just revolves around the lease on a uranium mine, which is never actually seen, which is probably a more typical cold war plot. The film makes up for the thin plot by having a variety of locales, plenty of comedic sequences, and energetic fight scenes that instead keep the film at a good pacing, and energetic through most of its run. It feels less threatening than the other films, and perhaps goes for a much more slapstick approach to it’s violence. I wouldn’t say this makes it more for younger audiences though, as there’s plenty of scantily-clad women and innuendos abound. While the second film replaced all the main characters form the first, here they’ve managed to retain two of the three from the second, so at least there’s a bit of continuity. Again, the actors aren’t quite the professional acrobats as the ones in the first film, but the fight scenes are still have plenty of energy and action, with a competent level of choreography involved. 

    Overall, Three Supermen in the Jungle is a perfectly entertaining low budget film that is lacking in substance or novelty sci-fi elements, but relies on it’s slapstick humour and energetic fight scenes to sustain its energy throughout its runtime; for which it succeeds fairly well. Its fairly forgettable and it’s tropes are outdated, but its got enough going for it to keep viewers from falling asleep.

  • Film reviews

    #542 – Three Supermen in Tokyo (1968)

    Three Supermen in Tokyo (1968)

    Film review #542

    Director: Bitto Albertini

    SYNOPSIS: The pair of thieves known as “the supermen” are caught in a trap by law enforcement. However, they are offered a deal: their sentence will be commuted if they accept a mission to find a film of a spy and diplomat that, if revealed, will cause a huge political scandal. The two supermen are joined by Martin, a government agent, and the three head off to Hong Kong and eventually Tokyo to find the film and the spy…

    THOUGHTS/ANALYSIS: Three Supermen in Tokyo is a 1968 film and the sequel to the 1967 film The Three Fantastic Supermen. The film opens up with the two international thieves who wear bulletproof suits known as “the supermen,” who are attempting to steal the statue of David, which is being transported for exhibition. unfortunately, the whole setup is a trap to lure the two thieves, and the government agent Martin manages to bring them in. The thieves are offered a deal: the criminal charges against them will be dropped, if they agree to undertake a mission on behalf of the government to retrieve a compromising film that a spy has in their possession, that they will show to the public in twenty eight days. The revelations of this footage will bring down the government, and might instigate world war three, so the stakes are pretty high. The two thieves are sent along with martin to Hong Kong and then Tokyo, where they believe the film and the spy who filmed it to be hidden. The film, like it’s predecessor, is a spy spoof/parody poking fun at films like the James Bond 007 series, and is situated in a big scene of Italian spoofs that were released around this time (and for a long while after). The story is fairly standard with no real surprises, but the emphasis is more on the entertainment and comedy than the plot. The humour itself has some decent moments, but not as gripping as the first film, which had a lot more outlandish elements to keep it interesting. 

    The main difference between this film and the first one is that none of the original actors return in the sequel, apart from one side character. The main issue with this is that the three main characters (the thieves) were professional acrobats, and could pull off some quite impressive stunts and choreography during the fights and action scenes. The replacement actors clearly do not have the same level of expertise, and the film loses one of it’s most unique aspects. The action scenes are still competent, but are lacking compared to its predecessor. Credit to the film should be given for actually shooting a good amount of the film on location in Tokyo. On the downside, there are instances when goons in the fighting scenes are clearly white people made to “look” Japanese with make up and such. Overall, Three Supermen in Tokyo doesn’t quite match up to the original film, and any unique elements that it had are done away with, leaving a more streamlined, average film that could easily get lost amongst the sheer volume of Italian films spoofing the spy genre.