Turkish Star Wars (1982) — Kung Fu in a galaxy far, far away

“That’s what suit us, we must go beyond the space speed, be ready to welcome arrivers.”

Justin’s rating: Help me, Cüneyt Arkın, you’re my only hope!

Justin’s review: OK, so as you scratch your head wondering what a “Turkish” Star Wars is and why you’ve never heard of this, it helps to understand that there were all of these Turkish films made back in the 1970s and 1980s that shamelessly spliced in special effects, footage, and sound effects from other movies into their own tale. For our tale today, we’re looking at Dünyayı Kurtaran Adam (The Man Who Saved the World), or what’s become known as Turkish Star Wars due to how it grabbed parts of A New Hope and jammed it into a monster martial arts movie.

Now, he did this for the noblest intentions. As the story goes, former porn director Çetin Inanç wanted to make a big scifi blockbuster to sate the desire of Turkish citizens, who were denied western films by the government. When a spaceship set that cost him a good chunk of his modest budget was destroyed, Inanç figured that the only way to get this made was brazen theft. As a result of its general insanity and association with one of the most popular franchises in our time, Turkish Star Wars has risen to cult status — which meant that I felt duty-bound to subject myself to it.

The first two minutes of this film come at you like a charging bull of lunacy, and trust me when I tell you that you are not prepared for it. Against a backdrop of Star Wars spaceship scenes, a narrator tries to tell of the history of earth in the future, but it just out-and-out lost me. I garnered that all of humanity unified, there was peace, but that was bad because there were also nukes, and then part of the planet was nuked off into space, and now that we’re in the “Galaxy Age” some alien force has come to blast Earth with rays, but Earth is withstanding those thanks to a shield that’s being powered by human brains (and looks remarkably like the Death Star), and now two human warriors are going into space to fight this unknown enemy, which will surely lose because it has no brain.

That’s just the first. Two. Minutes.

So after this intro, our heroes fight what is supposed to be a large attack fleet, which is actually all of the X-Wings and Tie Fighters heading out to tangle at the Battle of Yavin. The thing is, pre-Special Edition Star Wars didn’t really have quite as much spaceship footage as you might remember, so what’s used here is used over and over and over again. Sometimes it’s used in reverse, just to add some variety.

After the battle, our stalwart heroes crash-land on the planet of stock footage and Egyptian hieroglyphics. They openly hope that they’ve crashed onto a planet populated by just women. “Don’t be afraid to inflate your chest!” one tells the other. Solid advice for any life situation. As one practices a woman-attracting whistle, he accidentally summons skeletons to fight.

Here I must pause, partially to recover from laughing so hard, and try to convey what fight scenes are like in this movie. They’re… they’re bonkers. It’s like what Monty Python might come up with if they wanted to create a goofy scuffle: Sped-up action, rapid-fire cuts, people jump-kicking other people on horses, people speed-diving underneath horses, and Indiana Jones music playing over all of it. And this huge, sprawling fight is over in 18 seconds, top, leaving you sitting there in shocked silence while your brain reboots.

OK, so the guys get captured, and they find out that their foe is a 1,000-year-old wizard. Wizard Dude is very happy to have them, as their human brains might allow him to finally conquer Earth — but only if their willpower is broken. He sends zombies and big teddy bears after them, but the good guys are ready to fight for their right to party. One of them also falls in love with a human slave who doesn’t say or do anything much more than smile alluringly.

Since very little in this film logically proceeds from what came before it, each scene wildly jumps in tone and focus. One minute we might be looking at the heroes doing a training montage with rocks strapped to their legs, and the next fuzzy monsters in hockey jerseys are attacking people in the Mos Eisley cantina. It’s a parade of non sequitur goofiness, all with the spirit of filmmakers who genuinely thought they were making something impressive.

At least it’s not boring, and that’s what you genuinely hope for when you dive into terribly made movies. It’s random silliness that wasn’t meant to be such, and so it becomes all the more hilarious than if it was intentional.

Didja notice?

  • Not 20 seconds in and we’re already getting a disorienting montage of the history of spaceflight that mixes the Apollo rockets with X-Wings and the Millennium Falcon and the Death Star.
  • So all of humanity has, like, merged into one unified tribe, including all races and religions. That must’ve been an interesting progression.
  • Oh, and parts of earth have apparently just been nuked off and are now floating about in space?
  • The X-wings going backward
  • And some Indiana Jones music tossed in there for good measure, why not
  • Stock atomic bomb footage
  • Yeah, go ahead and kill off some kids for giggles
  • The Star Wars love theme being played over the guy and girl grinning like loons at each other
  • I’m not sure how endlessly punching rocks will do anything other than pulverize your hand-bones
  • So the wizard can make zombies with his spinny-light show… and fuzzy monsters.
  • Hey now we’re at the Mos Eisley cantina!
  • I swear that bear is wearing a red hockey jersey
  • Wow that is one red filter you’ve got going on, Evil Wizard

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