For decades, poor old Ed Wood (Rest in peace) has frequently been labeled the single worst director of all time. Really? If you really think that the man who brought us Glen or Glenda? lives at the absolute bottom of the cinematic barrel, then buddy, my suggestion would be that you clear your calendar, get your hands on some Turkish Pop Cinema, and prepare to have your damn mind blown, because you have no idea how far down that barrel actually goes. During the industry’s golden age (the devil-may-care European 1980’s), Turkey produced some of the most bat-shit insane movies ever known to mankind, and by comparison, Mr. Wood’s body of work would have appeared mature, reserved, and relatively well made. Here we are, thirty years later, and even deliberate attempts to match that magical 1980’s Turkish crazy don’t even come close. That’s probably for the best, take my word for it.
Possibly the most famous movie to come out of these truly bizarre artistic circumstances is Dünyayı Kurtaran Adam, which, translated to English, apparently means The Man Who Saved the World, but to most psychotronic film fans around the world, it’s better known by it’s unofficial title; TURKISH STAR WARS.
I don’t know if Turkey even had copy write laws at this stage in the game, but Turkish film makers were evidently free to pilfer other people’s intellectual properties with impunity back in 1982. What you would get is this, Turkish folks would just go out and snatch up movies from The States (or wherever) and then Turkify the hell out of them, thereby crafting weird, Z-Grade, home grown imitations for the domestic market. Turkish Star Wars is, obviously, Turkey’s imitation of the Star Wars films, and while it doesn’t follow the plot of the Star Wars movies (it would have been a lot better off if it had) the movies DOES in fact use a good deal of stolen footage and music including numerous shots from Star Wars: A New Hope, as well as music from Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and also Flash Gordon.
THE PLOT~ In the future, Mankind is finally at peace, or something, I think… Except that we got alien problems like you wouldn’t believe, so actually, we are very much at war. Yeah… Also, uh, the human brain is like, really amazing, or something… but aliens don’t have brains… so… That’s part of the story, I guess… Ummmm… Earth has, in what I would call a completely incoherent perversion of logic, been broken into several different pieces over the years, and these pieces have all drifted off into space, becoming independent planets… but really, that’s not ever adequately addressed… Nor is the fact that Earth is somehow protected by a huge shield, which was created by the united consciousness of the entire human race. Basically, that’s kinda like this movie’s answer to The Force, so you might call that THE TURKISH FORCE.
I’m sorry, I know that none of this makes sense, and frankly, it’s not going to get any better. Here we go!
So, we Earthlings launch all of our fighters off into space, and no surprise, the mightiest of all these warriors just happen to be two old, grizzled Turkish dudes, named Murat, and Ali. Turkish Star Wars generously provides us with a Turkish Darth Vader (called The Wizard), a Turkish Obi Wan Kenobi (an old Muslim holy man), and a Turkish Princess Leia (some trashy Def Leppard groupie who doesn’t even have any lines until the third act of the film), but they’ve got NO Turkish Luke Skywalker for us. Poor show! Instead, we get two lumpy Turkish Han Solos, in the form of Murat (played by somewhat legendary Turkish actor/psychopath Cüneyt Arkin) and Ali (played by Aytekin Akkaya, who looks like someone The Fonz would but pot from.) While “flying” their damn X-Wings (more on this later) into combat, Ali and Murat are apparently shot down, or magically transported, or SOMETHING to a floating chunk of Earth that was once…. Egypt? Maybe? I don’t know, you guys, but they wind up on a planet that has several important holy sites from Earth on it, and they have no space ships when they regain consciousness. They just wake up partially buried in dirt on an alien planet with no knowledge of how they got there, and the first thing they do after dusting themselves off is to try and formulate a plan to get laid by whatever alien chicks might be lurking around nearby. These guys!
From here it only gets worse. Turns out the evil Wizard (aforementioned Turkish Darth Vader, he looks like ass) wants to capture our heroes and study their brains so that he can learn the secret of destroying Earth’s force field. Eventually, paths cross, but 85% of this movie is Cüneyt Arkin punching things like a damn lunatic. Seriously, this is worth taking time to discuss; Cüneyt Arkin is fucking ridiculous.
If you see this man, haul ass in the opposite direction, but it’s probably too late.
This film is just fight scene after fight scene, and Arkin appears to have formulated his own branch of martial arts without any previous knowledge of hand to hand combat, or just being a rational human being in general. For Arkin, it’s about hitting more, and most importantly, as hard as possible, every single time. Where a normal man would punch once, Arkin punches 11 times, and every single blow is 100% of Arkin’s mental and physical energy, his face contorted into a red mask of irrational Turkish fury, and the sound effects his blows create are bassy, over-driven explosions that could never occur in the natural world. He looks like a sixty year old man with the mind of a child, who just smoked a bunch of meth while watching Bloodsport and then decided to crash a Furry convention and beat everyone to within an inch of their life. (Oh yeah, the aliens in this movie looks completely terrible, most of them are just an unintelligible mass of synthetic fur with bike handlebar streamers attached to their fingertips. Really.)
So, there’s these guys, we see A LOT of whatever the hell they are.
And this fucking thing. Who okayed these costumes!??!
Late in the film, Murat is treated to some long, drawn-out exposition pertaining to Islam, and Jesus, who for some reason lives underground now, apparently, and when that’s finally over, Turkish Obi Wan is like, “look, bro, you gotta go get this ancient, magical sword, plus also there’s a human brain made of gold over there, too. Go get it, you can’t let the wizard get that shit, cuz then he’ll destroy Earth I think!” This brilliant plan totally backfires because everyone in this film is an idiot, but that’s besides the point. What I wanted to highlight about this sequence is that the sword he recovers basically amounts to our TURKISH LIGHTSABER, and damn is it stupid. It’s enormous, and the dumbest looking thing I’ve ever seen in a movie. Here it is:
“Just holdin’ my sword. This movie is every bit as good as Star Wars. Why you laughin’, bro?”
Murat does kill a bunch of monsters with the sword, but he quickly realizes that a life where he doesn’t constantly punch things just isn’t worth living. Having firmly made up his mind, Murat takes this priceless, centuries old relic of human culture, and melts it down into a liquid, thereby destroying it forever. That’s step one. Step two is that he takes his friggin’ hands and deliberately dunks them into his newly formed super-heated pool of molten metal. Yep! Step three SHOULD be him screaming his ass off on a gurney while being hustled into the E.R., but this is Turkish Star Wars, so rather than melting his hands off into cauterized stumps like we all know would really happen, Murat is instead endowed with giant, golden gauntlets, thus finally granting him the ability to punch again, only this time with all the added might of a Turkish Lightsaber. Now in glove form! I think he also does the same thing to his feet, I don’t remember the little gold sneakers before… But anyway, this is the extreme to which Murat’s need to punch drives him, and he spends the remainder of the film violently punching monsters into furry, disembodied corpses. The twist ending is that he doesn’t actually punch the wizard to death, but shockingly, goes for a karate chop, which actually slices his astro-nemesis in half, lengthwise. Don’t get too excited, the effect is garbage.
The last thing a Furry sees before it dies.
More than anything else, Turkish Star Wars is a romance about one man’s undying love for punching things. In this film, there is no Turkish Death Star. We do briefly see the American Death Star at the beginning of the film, but it disappears without explanation and is never mentioned again throughout the rest of the movie. I think the implication is clear; Murat just punched the Death Star into dust over the course of a few afternoons and that was that; no photon torpedo’s required.
Everything here is bad, bad, bad. The only parts of Turksih Star Wars that aren’t unforgivably shitty are the parts that they just stole from somebody else, and they don’t even do that right. The sequence I mentioned before, which has Murat and Ali flying off to engage in their outer space dogfight, is pretty frustrating. In essence, it’s a collection of close ups of either actor wearing a motorcycle helmet and sitting in front of a screen which is playing clips from A New Hope. They reuse the same shots over and over, and often, the shot playing on screen behind them will cut to a new shot while our foreground footage does not, and vice versa. Additionally, the footage behind them regularly informs us that our pilots, who are facing directly into the camera, are frequently flying backwards, and sometimes, backwards while at a 45 degree angle. Come on, they couldn’t do better than this?! It’s just terrible.
Good work, Cüneyt. You’re totally in space right now.
There’s another famous sequence in the film that basically amounts to Ali and Murat’s Turkish Jedi training, where Murat fastens enormous boulders to his ankles and jumps all over the place.
Plus, look at that physique!
People seem to remember this scene as the centerpiece of the entire film, but I’m not sure why. I’ll agree, it looks completely silly, but no more so than any other sequence. At one point in film, Turkish Darth Vader drinks human blood through a crazy straw. That’s pretty silly. Later on, the bad guys capture Ali and Murat, and devise the ultimate, most unbearable, most inescapable form of torture ever, being buried alive! The movie really hypes this whole deal up, they really want you to think that this is just the most grim fate imaginable, and that no one could possibly be mighty enough to overcome so gruesome an ordeal… Then, when they actually do it, they just sort of toss a few scoops of dirt on our heroes and call it a day. Ali and Murat don’t look the least bit pained, they just sort of sit up, and the aliens flip out. The movie flips out, too, this incredible feat (sitting up) is really glorified as being an unparalleled display of strength and fortitude, and honestly, they had very, very little dirt on them when it happened. You also could have sat up and survived this alien torture, were it you in their shoes. It’s absurd, but the film doesn’t appear to realize this, and the truth is, Dünyayı Kurtaran Adam is full of ridiculous shit exactly like that. All Turkish pop cinema is! Where Turkish Star Wars strays from the pack, however, is that it’s both wacky as fuck, and somehow, boring as hell. Most of you wouldn’t survive this film in a single sitting, and that’s the sad truth. In order to reach Turkish Star Wars, you must first travel through numerous lesser nonsense films, or else it’s going to feel like the longest 90 minutes of your life.
That’s Turish Darth Vader, by the way.
Yeah… It’s not that great. Dünyayı Kurtaran Adam ‘s notoriety is 100% due to it’s unlicensed connection to Star Wars, rather than any distinction it may have earned in it’s own right, positive or negative. Clearly, this is a complete piece of shit, but it’s not the shittiest of its ilk, nor is it even the craziest. So far as that goes, Turkish Star Wars is actually pretty middle of the road. People who like these movies tend to do so because of their high spirited enthusiasm, and wild, reckless abandon, but if you don’t come into Turkish cinema with a positive attitude and some hardcore rose-tinted glasses, it’s going to give you ample reason to hate on it with every fiber of your being. Whatever your take on Turkish cinema as a whole, Dünyayı Kurtaran Adam is an experience to be had.
“FFFFUUUUUCCCCKKKK YYYYYOOOOUUUUUU, FFFURRRYYY MMMMAAANNNN!!!!!” – Murat. (P.S. This would make such an awesome poster.)