Super Stooges vs. The Wonder Women (1974)
Film review #547
Director: Alfonso Brescia
SYNOPSIS: A tribal village is constantly under threat from a band of Amazon women who lead raids and terrorise the people of the area. The villagers seek help from three men: a man with superhuman strength, a martial arts ,master, and a man who claims to be a God, and the three team up to stop the Amazons and save the village.
THOUGHTS/ANALYSIS: Super Stooges vs. The Wonder Women is a 1974 film, also known as Amazons and Supermen, Return of the Barbarian Women, Barbarian Revenge, amongst others. The film is a derivative of both the film Battle of the Amazons (itself a derivative of the 1973 film The Amazons), and the Three Supermen series. Interestingly, the film is actually made by the same production companies who made those films (with them making the 1973 film Supermen Against the Orient a year earlier). Despite these connections behind the screen, there are no returning characters or story points from these films, and the only similarity to the Three Supermen is that the film stars three men. The plot is simple enough: a tribe of Amazon women are terrorising neighbouring villages. One in particular has turned to a man who claims to be a God, who seemingly protects the village. The plot of the film is simply having these three men (eventually) team up and stop the Amazons. The story does take a while to get going and have the main characters meet up and confront the main threat of the film, but it’s entertaining enough with a mixture of comedy and martial arts. With a runtime of about ninety-five minutes,
Each of the characters have their own unique skills and talents, and perhaps surprisingly, their own story arcs. We have Moog, who has super strength, played by Marc Hannibal, who played for the Harlem Globetrotters. There’s also Chung, a martial artist, and finally Aru, who uses pyrotechnics to fool the villagers and Amazons that he is a God who is protecting the village, and also does a lot of acrobatics too. The variety in the characters and their different origins is pretty interesting, although they don’t really have much time to develop any chemistry between them with the main plot and the individual stories to deal with, but it is at least a decently defined cast.
The Italian/Hong Kong co-production, like in Supermen against the Orient, provides a mixture of Western slapstick comedy, with Eastern martial arts which were popular at the time. There’s a good balance between the two, and while there’s nothing that particularly stands out, at least there’s enough action to keep things energetic and entertaining. We also get some typically scantily-clad women in regards to the Amazons, and while their story doesn’t make too much sense, they get some very odd scenes, such as the opening, which depicts one of their forms of entertainment being to duel with bows and arrows on top of stilts or something…truly bizarre. Overall, Super Stooges vs. The Wonder Women is a silly, cheesy, and messy film that doesn’t offer anything special, does throw a lot of varied characters, entertainment and action into the mix to at least be interesting enough to keep your attention. The runtime is slightly too long for a low-budget film such as this, and could have easily have been trimmed down, but at least the pacing is good, and there’s no protracted scenes of inane dialogue to stretch it out. It feels well made and a decent effort in some parts for a low-budget derivative film, but nothing special otherwise. It’s a bit of a laugh in a “so bad it’s good way” if that is something you want to watch.