23 January 2008

The Super Inframan

The Super Inframan
China - 1975
Director - Shan Hua
Red Sun, ?, DVD

Great calamities on earth have got the science squad scratching their heads, but when their HQ is menaced they realize that the source of the problem is Princess Dragon Mom, who has built a castle out of giant skulls manned by an army of skeleton men and scaly bestial mutants.
She demands control of all mankind, and the science squad has only one option, modernization! They turn their best man, Rayma into a superhero (China's first!), a cyborg superhero named Super Inframan. When the humans refuse her demands, Dragon Mom sends her mutants out one at a time to cause some environmental damage and get her message across, but each time Inframan shows up in his slick plastic spaceman outfit and handily defeat them. No matter how many of her lackeys are defeated, Dragon Mom merely reiterates her demands, eventually abducting a member of the innocent younger generation. A last-ditch desperate move by a simplistic, outdated social (system) monster in dire straights. I think you know what's going to happen next.
This whole movie looks so silly it's kind of hard to believe that it was ever taken seriously, but that's exactly the point. This entire film is a metaphor for a very serious subject, the rapid modernization of China's economy and society taking place at the time. Superstition and traditional religion/Veneration are superceded by the miracles of scientific rigor and the market economy. And what about the fact that the entire science squad is men, who save not only vulnerable women, but a country threatened by the backward primitivism of Dragon Mom and her spooky mutants of myth and traditionalism?
The mutants can never evolve, they're stuck with what they've got, they can only hope to slow the progress of the future with the few clumsy outdated tools they have.
Inframan on the other hand, is a modern fellow, ostensibly capable of infinite upgrades, and always looking forward to the next. Such is China, a huge nation struggling to free itself from perceived (at home and abroad) primitivism, and pull itself into the forefront of the global market. The Super Inframan is China's future, a pragmatic, rigorous, dynamic, and exciting (not to mention bright Red!) future. I'm all for it.

Some alternate DVD covers/poster art:

No comments: