20 March 2008

Amazons vs. Supermen

Amazons vs. Supermen
(Superuomini, superdonne, superbotte)
Italy - 1975
Director – Alfonso Brescia (a.k.a. Al Bradley)
Rarescope, 2008, DVD

The music alone foreshadows a tenuous grip on logic, and should have given me all the warning I needed. If only I had noticed it during the first viewing, drunk with four friends, I might have noticed a big terrible secret. Instead, I sat expectantly through what at first looked like an average low budget Italian adventure movie, but what quickly turned into a full-fledged assault on my sense of propriety. Menaced by brutal vicious Amazons, their callous disregard for life proven by an opening a scene of them killing each other to great fanfare, the innocent peasant residents of a peaceful valley turn for help to Dharma, a skinny old white man who lives in a Batman style rock cave. Not just any skinny old white dude, this guy spouts cocky mystical passive aggressive rhetoric while wearing a chain-mail short-short/hood combo with a tiny waist length red cape.

Nearby a giant black man is eating lentils and pitching dwarves at local hoods, while a Chinese guy (Shaw Studios actor Hua Yueh) astride an ox does more or less the same thing to the strains of spooky jazz, and wins the affection of the only other Asian actor in the film, a pretty girl.
Passing on the yoke of “gay medieval superhero” to his protégé, Dharma reveals the secret of the flame of immortality. Really, is this supposed to be metaphorical?

With their racially matched mates in tow, black man and Chinese man team up to beat up some more thugs, ostensibly to prove their worth to Dharma who is busy trampoloining into a fracas with the gullible Amazons, taunting them all the while with an incessant trampoline slide whistle sound effect. With Dharma hogging 90 percent of the screentime, and having sufficiently angered the hollering Amazons with a little panty-raid, the three heroes return to the valley to prepare for the inevitably bizarre confrontation.
A brutally, hair pullingly insistent combination of inept slapstick and vanilla violence, this bears all the marks of improvisation on a scale that can only be the work of one man. Alfonso Brescia, mastermind of babbling, semi-coherent “tourettes syndrome” filmmaking. There is no way of predicting what crescendo of insanity is sure to come spluttering from the glue sniffing blowhole of this movie short of heavy drinking and cranial trauma.

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