Everytime Onar Films announces a new DVD I’m wondering “How the hell will I remember that title?”. But after having seen the film, I can type the title as if I speak Turkish fluently. Demir Pence Korsan Adam roughly translates as “Iron Claw: The Pirate” and features as Hero of the Day one Iron Claw. Iron Claw and his female companion Mine battle it out against… erm… Fantômas. Yes, the French evil mastermind tries to get his criminal business going in Istanbul. If that doesn’t sound wacky enough, how’s this for a comparison? The opening reminds me of the style that Jess Franco used for his movies like Vampyros Lesbos. A scantily clad woman rolling on the floor to the movie’s theme. Yes, up for review tonight the Turkish version of what would happen if Jess Franco would direct a Fantomas movie. (And don’t think the man wouldn’t: he made movies of a.o. Frankenstein, Mabuse and Fu Manchu…)
Speaking of directors up for any adaptation, the director of this is Cetin Icanç who made several weird Turkish remakes himself, most notably the Turkish Star Wars movie (Dünyayi kurtaran adam a.k.a. The Man Who Saves The World). Demir Pence Korsan Adam is a bit more normal compared to that movie, but still it’ll make you raise an eyebrow at least once. Occasionally the plot is quite ludicrous (e.g. the scene where Demir and Mine spy on criminals by standing on an open tower, five metres up in the sky – and noone seems to spot them), so it’s best to throw any sense of logic out of the window before you’re going to watch this movie.
Speaking of windows, the director seemed a bit strapped for cash when he asked the creative team to come up with some sort of television set that would allow Fantômas (when still in France) to speak to his criminal crew in Turkey. The result is that odd thing you see on your right. Good thing we already chucked out our logic.
To be honest, I was sorta rooting for Fantômas here, mainly because I didn’t like Demir Pence. He comes across quite macho and quite wooden (so Man of Wood rather than Man of Steel – apologies for the awful joke). Luckily his companion Mine is a lot more likable. I know there were other Demir Pence movies made, why didn’t anyone think of a Mine spin-off? The girl deserved it! Mine’s uncle (nicknamed The Uncle) provides – I assume it was obligatory in those days – the comic relief of the film and (for a pleasant change) I didn’t find him that annoying. Another plus for Demir Pence Korsan Adam.
Slightly disappointing (for me – but not for you, as I’m warning you now) is that from the beginning Demir Pence Korsan Adam feels a lot sleazier than it genuinely is: the ladies may get scantily clad, but there’s no nudity in this film. You’ll see ladies in bras and panties, but that’s as naughty as it gets. Which doesn’t mean the movie doesn’t try and arouse you: Fantômas often has women dancing for him and more often than once the bellydancer doesn’t face really Fantômas, but the camera (and thus the viewer). This sort of direct contact with the camera is dangerous, but Icanç pulls it off here (well, his actresses do anyway).
I don’t think it’ll be a spoiler to tell you that Demir Pence and his crew catch Fantômas in the end (because that’s how those movies worked). Hurrah for the Turks for succeeding where the French failed. Actually, that’s not me saying this, this is mentioned almost verbatim in the movie. After which, I kid you not, the Turkish anthem starts to play. (To my annoyance, but then again Sam Raimi‘sSpiderman is no better example here: remember how he looped around the American flag at the end of the first movie. So if anything happened in let’s say Angola, Spiderman wouldn’t stop reading his paper, or what? Quite an annoying habit these superheroes seem to have. At least Casus Kiran just had Casus Kiran and his female companion mentioned as ‘patriots’ and that was that. Anyway, this is just one of my pet hates.)
What should definitely be mentioned is how great this movie looks: we know by now that for all their patriotism in the superhero movies the Turks were rather careless with preserving their movies and that often showed in the prints ‘rescued’ by Onar Films. Well, Demir Pence Korsan Adam is different: sometimes the image is flawless, overall it’s very good and there are just a couple of scenes where the wear is evident (but even then the movie remains very watchable). Nice to see an older Turkish movie (it was made in 1969) in such a good state for once.
As I’d mentioned earlier, Icanç seems to have thrown out his sense of logic out of the window when he made this movie. There is some gung ho feeling to the action scenes: Demir and his crew show up at a place where they might get closer to Fantômas, so we need at least ten opponents. No, make that definitely a dozen. Is there anyone who Fantômas suspects of not helping his evil case? Then he or (preferably) she must be killed. Bigger! Better! Bolder!
Which in the end only proves my point: this is the Turkish equivalent of what Jess Franco would do to a Fantômas movies. Minus the excess of nudity, that is.
Demir Pence Korsan Adam was released by Onar Films. The DVD is region free (Region 0) and can be watched anywhere in the world. You can buy the film straight from Onar Films (mind the summer sale discount!) and Xploited Cinema. The DVD contains Greek and English subtitles and the extras include a great documentary on the films of director Icanç.Demir Pence Korsan Adam is released as a limited edition (only 500 copies!).