3 Supermen in Santo Domingo

Certificate: 15
Running time: 87 mins
Director: Italo Martinenghi
Starring: Daniel Stephen, Salvatore Borghese, Stefano Martinenghi
Genre: Action, Comedy, Sci-Fi, Superhero
Country: Italy

The three supermen are off to South America to stop a gang who are counterfeiting millions in U.S dollars in an attempt to destabilise the economy.  Issues are made more complicated when those damned Ruskies are revealed to be involved making the mission of international importance.

Two years ago this month we reviewed an earlier offering 3 Supermen Against Godfather and were in awe of its infinite awesomeness.  The same, sadly, can’t be said of 3 Supermen in Santo Domingo.  The first issue (and this one might seem childish but not to us) is for large portions of the movie there’s actually only two Supermen as Captain Brad (Daniel Stephen) is off doing random FBI business, or getting himself pulled over by beat-cops, or getting involved in late night fights in the park…or just about anything else that doesn’t involve spandex and a cape.  All the other issues can be boiled down to one thing…scale.  3 Supermen in Santo Domingo comes nineteen years after the original 3 Supermen (aka The Fantastic Three) and since then the other European production companies involved in the movies have dropped out leaving only Italian money and Italo Martinenghi caring about the goings on.  The cast has changed, crew too (no doubt) and where once there was quality, ingenuity and fun all that appears to be left is a sad desperation to repair something that’s gone beyond.

3 Supermen Against Godfather and for that matter 3 Supermen in the Wild West (think Superman meets Back to the Future Part III) were packed with heart pounding feats of bravery, nerve and comedy.  The fight sequences on top of picturesque Turkish ruins (in Godfather) gave the film something that was unobtainable on its budget.  The grandness of these set pieces were breathtaking.  Almost every fight, chase, etc in Santo Domingo takes place in some sort of park (natural and industrial).  It serves to shrink the movie down until it is no bigger than its budgetary restraints.  Add to that some fundamental narrative issues, a general sense of logic ambiguity & confusion and not even the Supermen’s Three Stooges style slapstick humour can save the world.

There are some bright sides.  Daniel Stephen is a decent enough lead, his delivery is solid and he’s a naturally gifted performer, his screen presence is undeniable.  Add to that Gena Gas (as the glamorous Las Vegas bill-passer) and you have a recipe that’s a lot more pleasing on the eye.  But Salvatore Borghese is annoying and Stefano Martinenghi is thoroughly unlikeable…for this one reason.  It’s a reason that even if the rest of the movie was amazing it would be enough to take the shine off it.  When the Supermen figure out where the counterfeiting plates are Steve (Martinenghi) pitches a plan to turn a "blind eye" and run off a few bucks for themselves.  I’m not entirely sure what comic books Italo Martinenghi was reading back in 1986 but that’s more certainly not the behaviour of superheroes.  It leaves a  bad taste accompanying the conclusion of the movie.  The audience has pre-conceived ideas of what makes a superhero and though some of them can be deviated from (in the interests of originality) some of them can not.  The reason we love these people, whether they’re alien, genetically modified or just rich and bat-shit crazy is they have an integrity that is beyond reproach.  These men and women don’t have a price, they can’t be bought, they don’t even bend let alone break…yet Martinenghi’s Supermen are on the take.  Not only is it a movie that hasn’t covered itself in glory but it’s ever so slightly tainted what precedes it.

3 Supermen in Santo Domingo would be a two star movie, as it’s not terrible or unwatchable in the way that those in the one star club are but for there's a one star reduction here due to our heroes being a group of stealing fuckers.


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