* * * * (1979, 67 minutes, Unrated)
It's a bird! It's a plane! It's... rubbish!
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I actually attempted to do some research in order to give this film some context, but came up
empty. So I'll just have to wing it: Starting in the '70s, Turkish cinema went through a phase where
they made Turkish versions of popular American movies. Hence, we have "Turkish Star Wars,"
"Turkish Exorcist," "Turkish Wizard of Oz" and, awesomely, "Turkish E.T." I don't think words alone
can convey how badly made these movies are, but this might help:
It had been a major item on my To Do list to cover
some of these films, but they're pretty hard to find.
Probably due to their aggressive infringing of
copyrights. Whoops. I did finally manage to hunt
down Superman donuyor (Turkish Superman), and it
did not disappoint.
We open with -- I kid you not -- silver stars and
Christmas ornaments hinging in front of black
construction paper. The narrator helpfully tells us
that "there are millions, even billions of stars" in the
universe. He continues to tell us about one star that
"reminds of emerald" known as Krypton, that
managed to fire of a baby boy "to leave a living
|Badi, a.k.a. the Turkish E.T.,
prepares to phone home.
example" right before things went pear-shaped (I'm paraphrasing). Cut to the Superman logo
drawn in magic marker, with John Williams' familiar score playing on a tape cassette.
|You thought I was kidding...
We head on over to Turkish Kansas and meet Tayfun, the Turkish Clark Kent. The denim-clad
Tayfun is about seven feet tall, weighs about 150lbs and sports some serious coke bottle
glasses. Upon seeing Tayfun, the Lovely Mrs. Nolahn called out, “He looks just like my ex-
boyfriend!” I don’t know what to do with that information.
Despite looking well into his 30s, Tayfun has just graduated high school and is ready to begin his
career as a journalist. But first, Turkish Ma and Pa Kent have a secret to tell, and they launch into
the most awkward “you’re not our biological son” conversation ever. Given that he’s about five
feet taller than Turkish Ma and Pa Kent, Tayfun is not surprised.
Turkish Ma and Pa Kent give him a green stone, and Tayfun promptly packs up and leaves for the
nearest cliff cave. Tayfun gives his green stone a girlie heave to activate a recording from Turkish
Marlon Brando. I’m your daddy, says Turkish Marlon Brando, and you’re eight kinds of awesome:
possessing Hercules’ might, Mercury’s speed, Zeus’ health, John Holmes’ dong, and so on.
Yes, I made that last one up. After some more exposition, BLAM!, Tayfun is in a homemade
Superman costume and ready to fly in front of some stock footage!
|It probably goes without saying that there
is no Turkish equivalent to Richard Pryor.
Flying in front of stock footage is only one of
Turkish Superman’s superpowers. His most
useful power appears to be the ability to locate
anyone within minutes -- handy given the
number of times people are kidnapped in this
film. Turkish Superman also demonstrates
the ability to freeze people with a gaze, type
with his mind and use his x-ray vision to check
out ladies in their underwear.
That last one is nowhere near as titillating as it
sounds. “If Superman can use his x-ray vision
to see through women’s clothes,” pondered
the Lovely Mrs. Nolahn, “why not just see them
naked?” You can see why I married her.
On to the meat of the story: A Professor (Turkish Lois Lane’s dad) has just returned to Turkey with
a chunk of super-rare kryptonite, which he and a team of industry players will analyze for
incredible energy potential. Among the players is Turkish Lex Luthor, who, unbeknownst to the
other scientists, has created a machine that will turn stuff into gold -- all he needs is the
kryptonite to power it. How he knows the machine will work is never explained.
Turkish Lex Luthor develops several plots to obtain the kryptonite, and they all boil down to
“kidnap Turkish Lois Lane.” Seriously, the poor girl is kidnapped three times in 48 hour period.
Fortunately (?) for her, Tayfun is a wee bit overprotective and forever stalking her or having Turkish
Jimmy Olsen stalk her for him. She gets kidnapped, Tayfun turns into Superman and flies in to
save her, wash, rinse and repeat.
And the fight scenes are the best (he exclaims
ironically)! They all follow the same course of events:
1) Superman drops down about 12 feet away from
2) The thug shoots at Superman, who stands still
while the bullets bounce off him.
3) Superman slowly walks -- Jason Voorhees-style
-- towards the thug, who does not retreat.
4) Superman and the thug stand toe-to-toe, looking
deeply into each other’s eyes
5) Superman KO’s the thug with a single punch.
Needless to say, this is a very silly movie. Could anyone other than the Turks make Superman
look so ridiculous?
I’ll be honest, I never liked
Superman. When your
protagonist has the ability to
do just about anything, your
protagonist ceases to be
interesting. Here’s a short
list of widely acknowledged
speed, flight, superhuman
intelligence, heat vision, x-
ray vision, regeneration,
longevity, super breath and
invulnerability. Hell, he
probably even makes a
And that doesn’t even count
being able to fly backwards
fast enough to travel back in
time and change events.
And what about Superman’s
big weakness? A random
element on the periodic
table? Gimme a break. If
we’re to assume that
kryptonite is a derivative of
krypton, then Superman
would never have anything
to worry about. Krypton is a
light gas that makes up one
part per million of our
atmosphere. In other
words, you’re more likely to
give yourself alcohol
poisoning with a daily
eyedropper-full of beer.
In fairness, kryptonite is
apparently different than
krypton. Here’s what the
Wikipedia entry for
Kryptonite has to say, and I
swear I’m not making any of
“Kryptonite is the KrO2
molecule (Krypton Oxide). It
is often used in the making
of semi-conducters. Albert
Einstein was the first to
Kryptonite occurs naturally
in salt caves and in Lake
Victoria in Africa. Kryptonite
deposits in the Nile River
Delta is believed to have
changed the flow of the Nile.
It used to run East to West.
The material is usually
shown as having been
created from the remains of
Superman's native planet of
Krypton, and generally has
detrimental effects on
Superman and other
Kryptonians. The name
"kryptonite" covers a variety
of forms of the substance,
but usually refers to the
most common "green" form.
Kryptonite is almost the only
thing that can kill Bob Dole.”
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