Friday, April 22, 2011

3 Dev Adam (1973)

The Turks were a crazy bunch in the film world during the mid-to-late 20th Century. Thanks to huge political upheaval, films from such movie juggernauts as America were unavailable in Turkey, so local filmmakers took it upon themselves to remake these films for the Turkish audience. These films included the infamous Turkish Star Wars, Turkish Superman, Turkish Whole Nine Yards and one of the more notorious, 3 Dev Adam, also known as Captain America and Santo* vs Spider Man.

*For those not in the know, Santo was a famous Mexican luchador, who appeared in dozens of low-budget goofball films (a notable one being Santo vs the Vampire Women, which was featured on movie-mocking TV series MST3K). Such was Santo's popularity that he was even famous all the way out in Istanbul.

To make the film a surefire hit, director T. Fikret Ucak decided to include as many superheroes as possible in 3 Dev Adam, in order to eclipse all of the competition. The finished product was a film where Turkish Captain America and Turkish Santo are up against Turkish Spiderman (who's also a pretty convincing Turkish Hannibal Lecter), who plots to counterfeit Lira...for some reason. The film was hard to find and impossible to find with any form of subtitles until 2006, when Turkish DVD company Onar Films released it on DVD (which includes a stack of special features, like interviews, photo stills and trailers).

Police Chief Orhan (who looks like Charles Bronson) calls upon the superheroes, CAPTAIN AMERICA, SANTO, AND...Captain America's girlfriend Julie. The heroes can't wait to put a halt to 'The Spider's' brutal crime syndicate, which is spreading it's counterfeiting racket all the way into America and Mexico. The Spider is a mysterious character, described as a child-minded lunatic, who along with being a sociopath, has the BIGGEST EYEBROWS KNOWN TO MAN!

Among Spidie's exploits in the film are digging a woman neck-deep into a hole on the beach and moving a boat and it's propeller to her face, strangling a woman in her bathtub with a telephone cord, impaling a couple in the shower Jason Voorhees style, and making mice eat a man's face!

The rest of the film is pretty basic. Cap's girlfriend goes undercover as a fashion model, is found out and kidnapped.While Cap rescues her, Santo gets into costume and goes snooping in a karate dojo, after a list of addresses of where Spidie's going to steal artifacts from next. After stuffing several stolen items into his pants ('s about as strange as you'd expect), he is spotted and fights off several karate trainees.

After they ruining several money drops, Spider decides to take personal revenge against the heroes. It's when this happens that The Spider shows a sinister power-whenever he is killed, a new Spider shows up. Santo and Captain America concurrently fight Spider, killing him an embarrassing number of times before he successfully gets away.

Eventually the final battle occurs between the three mighty men (the film's title in English) and Spider is killed in several gruesome ways before finally being plunked into a train track and crushed by a cart of cinderblocks.

3 Dev Adam, is a great find for anyone who is a fan of very strange cinema, it's exciting, it's funny, and it's Turkish! The film's quality is low but still very watchable, and the transfer to DVD by Onar Films is admirable. Coming to the film's costume department I have to applaud whoever was responsible. For a low-budget film, the costume of Captain America is surprisingly well done; the real Santo only ever wore a luchador mask, a cape and silver-painted pants, so the costume in this didn't need much thought; and finally, despite being lopsided and mis-coloured, Spiderman's costume is good, especially when he regenerates himself, you can clearly see that several Spiderman costumes were designed for the movie which is very impressive.

In short, anyone who loves the bizarre should-and probably already do-have this movie in their collection.