3 Supermen Against Godfather

Certificate: 15
Running time: 87 mins
Director: Italo Martinenghi
Starring: Cúneyt Arkin, Gúngór Bayrak, Salvatore Borghese
Genre: Action, Comedy, Sci-Fi, Superhero
Country: Turkey/Italy/Spain

When a German scientist showcases his latest invention to a group of investors in Turkey the entire World changes in an instant.  The Doctor has invented the first working time machine and it’s a prize that mob boss Il Padrino (Aldo Sambrell) wants above all else.

Like Kung Fu Cannibals (made three years later) 3 Supermen Against Godfather is a film on the endangered list.  Having played as part of the Los Angeles Grindhouse Film Festival in 2007 3 Supermen exists on DVD only as a transfer from a somewhat temperamental VHS copy (though the interruptions are comparatively less intrusive than Kung Fu Cannibals).  Every once and a while a film comes along that truly defies logic.  You’ve never heard of it before, it’s made for next to nothing, it’s part of the Turkish Exploitation movement (was there one?).  It should be riddled with shortcomings, it should be likable only as much as it is endearing, it’s a novelty that time has treated badly so you can embrace as a guilty pleasure.  I don’t buy that and 3 Supermen Against Godfather certainly doesn’t subscribe to any of these broad stroke notions.  Put simply and before we actually review it…the film is brilliant.

The opening credit sequence is like the Hanna-Barbera sequence designed for Bewitched but with a cool disco beat that would make Isaac Hayes look club footed and rhythmless.  The sublime funkiness of the score continues throughout the film and has moments of extreme beauty and brilliance, at times dream like and flighty ala Ennio Morricone.  The work of Nico Fidenco (best known for his work on Black Emanuelle, Zombie Holocaust and most recently George Clooney’s directorial debut Confessions of a Dangerous Mind) is brilliant.  Powerful and unrivalled in the land of Exploitation cinema.  In fact it sounds so much like Morricone that you can’t help but think Sambrell (The Good The Bad & The Ugly, A Fistful of Dollars) who also served as producer on 3 Supermen Against Godfather had a strong hand in selecting the man who would score this comic book caper.

The cinematography is first class.  Some of the conversation scenes in rooms and offices are slightly static but by and large director Italo Martinenghi uses as much of the natural environment to add millions to the look of the film.  The ocean front chase down the steps is fantastic and the Supermen versus each other versus the mob fight sequence in the grounds of the church is one that’s incredibly well choreographed and show a crystal clear vision of what’s wanted and required to tell the story.

Aldo Sambrell (Il Padrino) is excellent, though more Groucho Marx than Capo di tutti capi as he’s considerably less intimidating than required but still a wonderful and important screen presence.  Cúneyt Arkin, Gúngór Bayrak and Salvatore Borghese almost need to be reviewed as one performance as individually they all bring a specific quality to the screen but together they are a caped and cowled trio to rival The Three Stooges.  Such is the physical comedy that you almost wish there wasn’t a storyline that takes the camera away from them with the exception of all scenes featuring Il Padrino's capo bastone who's nicknamed Half Pint.  Every word, every gesture, every movement, pause and expression is not only brilliant but absolutely hilarious.  There are times when labelling a superhero movie as a “comedy” that it can be a slight against the film.  That it’s unintentionally funny but not 3 Supermen Against Godfather as some of the finest set ups come straight of the good book according to Curly, Larry and Moe and that’s thanks (in no small part) to Tony Corti who’s work as actor, writer, second unit director and lyricist for the films catchy theme allows him to not only showcase his diverse talent but thread a fun personality through every stage of the films construction.  It's also, being Corti, more than slightly interested in boobies and bums.

It saddens me when I see films like Kung Fu Cannibals and 3 Supermen Against Godfather having come so close to slipping through the cracks of time.  History is at times regrettably written by the winners and though Exploitation films like Coffy, The SwitchbladeSisters, Dolemite and The Black Gestapo deserve to be around on merit of being great films there’s also several like this.  Films that are excellent, are worthy of continuous existence in the public realm yet are outside of immediate sphere of consciousness.  They exist for as long as the last person who remembers them does and then they are gone.  3 Supermen Against Godfather is quite simply a ridiculously excellent example of film making.  It’s ability to marry the conventions of comedy, action, sci-fi and the superhero genre is balanced and brilliant.  It also should be watched by as many people as possible.

3 Supermen Against Godfather is playing alongside The Super Inframan, The Human Tornado and The Champions of Justice as part of the Movie Bar summer presentation HEROES! on Sunday 5th August 2012 from 7:00PM in the Studio cinema.  Tickets are £10 for the evening and available [here].


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