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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This movie must be seen. It is the best film I have ever watched. It
has everything, and every big name in Italian cult cinema participated
in it's execution. Visual effects and coordination by Antonio
Margheriti, 2nd unit direction by Enzo G. Castellari, music (or
whatever you call it) by Ennio Morricone. It stars Ivan Rassimov,
Leonard Mann, Corinne Cleri and Jaws from James Bond. It is not just a
ripoff of STAR WARS, but a collage made out of moments, shots, images,
sequences, textures, and modular hallways from STAR WARS that have been
sort of shuffled around, done on the cheap, and without any regard for
how stupid it all looks. Or how anyone might feel about it. To quote
Yoda, the film is RECKLESS and that is what I admire about it the most.
Even if the movie devolves into a laugh fest it maintains it's straight
face and stage voice, staying in character as you howl at how utterly
ruthless they were in stealing whatever they could, even if they
weren't quite sure how to make it work right. My favorite touch is the
lovable robot dog that Keil has with him for some reason never
explained. The thing looks pathetic, like a toaster with a drop bottom
lid or maybe a golf ball washer on wheels. They got it to open and
close it's mouth, turn in a circle on it's support legs, and twist it's
head around from side to side. And that's ALL it does -- the director
(or 2nd unit director) moved the camera from position to position
rather than the robot, which makes a couple of electronic kazoo like
noises and blinks some lights and then backs up. That's you're
anthropomorphic lovable robot, now let's make the Evil Empire all
identically vacuuformed plastic stormtrooper types and have a leader
who's face is obscured by a mask & give him an elaborate helmet that
just happens to resemble Darth Vader. We need good guys on a desert
planet so garb them in brown earth tones, give all the women bizarre
Princess Leia type hairdo's and make sure that there is a cute little
mystical Chinese kid who can substitute for both Short Round AND Yoda,
even though they are characters from movies that hadn't even been made
yet, which proves how ahead of it's time THE HUMANOID was. Finally, to
hell with the laws of physics, they may apply to the entire Cosmos
according to Dr. Carl Sagan, but they make for plodding movies with
long majestic shots of the space ship models that could provide viewers
too close a look at them & realize what the models were made out of:
Have the things turn on a dime and zip out of the way. Being a quick
study I recognized at least one cupcake tray serving as nuclear power
stacks and am pretty sure that one of the ships had mounted electronic
toothbrushes for laser cannons. They still fired lasers though, which
is all that really matters once you get down to brass tacks. That's
also a fitting analogy for the whole film, which has the re-definition
mindset of a nine year old who just doesn't have a special effects
budget for his after school play sets. Like Marcel Duchamp with his
stupid bicycle wheel ("Mount it on a stool/It'll look real cool.") the
whole film is a massive exercise in cultural redefinition, assigning
new roles to older or previously used artifacts, images and facets of
life that has little to do with their original intended function. THE
HUMANOID is stupid, silly, clunky and almost pathetic, but it has ten
times the imagination of the past three 2hr+ Burger King promotional
commercials George Lucas has been suckering people to pay good money to
see. I'd rather watch crap like this any day of the week, and there is
a certain honesty about it's sense of self awareness that is
refreshing. The film knows exactly what it is, doesn't step outside of
that role for one second, and achieves marvelously by confining itself
to the gutter. It is one of the best movies I have ever watched from
beginning to end.
8 out of 10.
One curious note, though: about seven minutes into the film there is a scene where a young, shapely woman who has been captured by Barbara Bach's evil dark queen is strapped into some futuristic torture apparatus stark naked (shown clearly only from the front from the waist up) and skewered by a rack of sharpened glass needles for purposes never made clear. I note the incident because it stops the movie cold, is entirely outside the scope of anything else that happens in the film, completely inappropriate and yet is the one detail from the movie that I remember with crystal clarity, if only because there was no discernible reason for it to be there.
I saw this in the cinema when it first came out, riding the Star Wars
wave like a stoned surfer.
I managed to get hold of a VHS copy some years back, and when I viewed it with adult eyes, I was astounded by how dreadful the whole film is.
The film is so bad in every way that it manages to reach the 'Plan-9' point and gains entertainment value from being so crummy and downright lame.
I have to agree, I'd sit down to watch this film with a nostalgic bag of cheesy Wotsits and a bottle of fizzy pop over laying eyes on the risible Phantom Menace any day!
....Which is pretty much the only occasions I'd watch this film.
Honestly, this film is one long collection of laughable clichés. More than Star Crash, and that is a feat of some magnitude.
The incredibly poor special effects. Yes, it was 1979 and this film was a low-budget spaghetti sci fi flick, so I suppose we could forgive it for this. Almost.
The incredibly laughable reuse of models and costumes from other sources which shall remain nameless to protect them from comparison.
The painfully repetitive soundtrack, more like a collection of notes strung together.... I can't believe Ennio Morricone was responsible for it.
The stunning range of Richard Kiel's acting. He must have been getting mightily sick of playing the invincible, monstrous giant by this stage. Normally nobody would play the role better, but his rampage through various faceless soldiers is so stupid as to elicit more laughs than fear.
And then there is Marco Yeh as Tom Tom.... It doesn't come as any surprise to me that this is the only production to feature him listed on IMDb.... At least he didn't have to wear the stupid costume Ivan Rassimov was made to suffer.
But gawd is it funny as hell....
Aside from the goofy special effects and silly dialog, there's still plenty
of lameness in this low-budget Italian/Turkish STAR WARS ripoff ...enough
keep most people rolling around the floor in laughter. The "villain"
by Ivan Rassimov (SHOCK, EATEN ALIVE, ULTIMO MONDO CANNIBAL) is one of the
biggest pansies I've seen... even if his costume does look just like Darth
Vader's... from his silly comments like "so you have come to battle me at
last, princely hero!" to the way he cracks the whip around his cronies like
"you failed to kill the girl! You are stripped of your command for 100
days!", I couldn't take him seriously at all. Wouldn't most villains kill
their own men for disobeying them? No wonder the silly troupe of Leonard
Mann, Corrine Clery, and Richard Kiel destroy his entire army so easily...
and his death has to be the lamest ever filmed... "ack, my blue screen is
The Humanoid has a dynamite cast though, from Arthur Kennedy (LAWRENCE OF ARABIA) to Barbara Bach (CAVEMAN) to Massimo Serato (AUTOPSY). Even better is the crew... from Enzo G. Castellari to Giannetto De Rossi, Antonio Margheriti, and Ennio Morricone. The only problem here really is that all these cool people did their jobs BADLY... This film is not only hilariously cheap, it's a real snoozer, especially because of Morricone's howlingly awful "sleepy spacey music" which never stops! The score has no tune or melody to it, it's just random music, but synthesized to a point where it's even worse than Morricone's score for COLD EYES OF FEAR. I'm usually a fan of stuff like this but you have to draw the line somewhere. This film is lame beyond belief, though not quite as bad as STAR WARS EPISODE 1: "THE PHANTOM MENACE".
Try and forget for a second that this film only got released in 1979!
Personally, I'm 100% convinced that it was, in fact, George Lucas who
totally ripped off this brilliantly plotted script and even shamelessly
copied the costume designs and set pieces of this genuine Sci-Fi
milestone to make his own insignificant and overrated but perhaps
slightly better marketed "Star Wars"! Seriously, THIS should have
been the Sci-Fi hype of the past century! This should have been the
film that spawned numerous sequels, imitations, merchandising and
millions of obsessive and nerdy fan-boys all over the world, damned!
Of all the blatant rip-off's that the Italians made during the late 70's/early 80's period and the amount of them is really gigantic "The Humanoid" is most likely the most blatant of them all. The intro scrolling over the screen at the beginning, the main villain wearing exactly the same helmet as Darth Vader (though with an S&M mask underneath) and the robot is R2D2 with a doggie makeover. Thank God they didn't do an imitation of C3PO! The Han Solo on duty is Richard "Jaws" Kiel and it's immediately stated clear why this guy should only play roles that are completely silent. Cult siren Barbara Bach plays an evil queen who needs the blood of young women to safeguard her beauty (nice little Countess Bathory sub plot, actually). She allies with Darth Vader number two and with an evil professor who's working on a new and indestructible type of cyber-warrior called The Humanoid. Who other than Richard Kiel would be the more ideal Humanoid prototype, so thus the evil threesome turn Golob's (that's his name) spaceship into confetti and he emerges from the lake again as their retarded minion. With his superhuman strength, Darth Vader number two can finally conquer the throne of Metropolis. How about that plot, huh? Actually, I'm not quite sure if my little summary is fully accurate, as I was too busy laughing most of the time. "The Humanoid" truly is God-awful but immeasurably entertaining exploitation trash that you simply cannot hate. The funniest thing is that this idiocy was actually made by an ensemble of people that should know better, like director Aldo Lado ("Who Can Kill a Child"), special effects supervisor Antonio Margheriti ("The Virgin of Nuremberg"), composer Ennio Morricone ("Once Upon a time in the West"), writer Adriano Bolzoni ("Your Vice is a Locked Room and only I have the Key") and lead actress Barbara Bach ("The Spy who Loved Me"). The special effects and costumes are tacky from the beginning, but the plot gradually grows even more imbecilic as we move along. The variant on the lightsabers are lightarrows! The entire special effects team must have brainwashed for two whole days over the question: what other medieval piece of armory can we turn into a futuristic fantasy weapon without George Lucas suing us? "The Humanoid" is the purest form of entertainment, especially if you have the chance of watching it with some fellow trash fanatics and whilst under the influence of mild narcotics.
THE HUMANOID is one of the most entertaining movies ever made. Aldo
Lado has supplied me with some of the most bizarre and twisted images
you could never imagine. You know you're in for a treat when the main
character is named Golob, played by a bearded Richard Kiel and he's got
a robot-dog in his crappy spaceship. You somehow can't go wrong from
The Tom Tom character is also doing his to make THE HUMANOID one of the ultimate Italian science fiction epics, beware his excellent wisdom. Barbara Bach and the gigantic Kiel was quite the team in the Seventies, and as always she's looking hot in this; "The story of Golob turning Unfriendly and Unstoppable". I love Golob and his dog, I wish to see more of them. Why weren't there any sequels?
Ahhh! The glory of Italian Cinema of the Seventies and Eighties continues. These directors and screenwriters seemed to have no limits in ripping off the Hollywood big-seller. There's still plenty of somewhat obscure masterpieces to be discovered, I'm glad I found this one.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
L'umanoide is set in the distant future where Earth is now know as
Metropolis & is ruled by the Great Brother (Massimo Serato). Lord Graal
(Ivan Rassimov), the evil brother of the Great Brother, escapes from a
space prison & sends his men to steal a rare substance called Capitron
from a research institute on Metropolis. Together with the evil
scientist Dr. Kraspin (Arthur Kennedy) & the power hungry Lady Agatha
(Barbara Bach) Lord Graal intends to use the Capitron to mutate
ordinary people into invulnerable humanoids with which they intend to
conquer the known Universe. Dr. Kraspin uses the Capitron on a friendly
space pilot named Golob (Richard Kiel) who he then fits with a control
device, now a hulking invulnerable humanoid Golob is sent to Metropolis
to kill the Great Brother before a bomb loaded with Capitron is
exploded in Metropolis' atmosphere turning all of humanity into an
invincible army of humanoids...
More commonly known as The Humanoid amongst English speaking audiences this Italian production was directed by Aldo Lado although on international posters (& the version I saw last night) the director is credited as George Lewis which is a rather obvious & unsubtle attempt to make him sound like George Lucas who of course directed Star Wars (1977) & which The Humanoid is a fairly blatant rip-off of. The only slight disappointment & oversight on the makers part is the title The Humanoid, how can you have a blatant Star Wars rip-off & not have the word 'Star' in the title? From the moment The Humanoid starts it sets it's stall out with the scrolling text that gives a little back-story while disappearing into the distant space or the very next shot of the huge triangular spaceship thing rumbling over the camera. There's the desert like planet, the strange 'Force' like power that kid has, the bad guy Lord Graal wears a Darth Vader helmet & matching quilted costume, there's a cuddly little comedy relief robot dog as well as a basic plot to take over the Universe. It's all here, the design of the costumes & spaceships is lifted straight from Star Wars, the character's are copycats & there's even a direct lifting of a scene as the hero blasts enemy fighters down from his own spaceship in gun turrets that are the same as those on the Millennium Falcon. The script is incredibly silly & childish, it doesn't even make that much sense either with a rather flat & plodding story. It needed a bit more life & energy really, everyone goes through the motions as you would expect & apart from the unintentional laughs the film can actually drag at times. One character is called Tom Tom, but he doesn't seem to give out driving directions.
To be fair to The Humanoid the special effects are generally alright, some of the close-up shots of the model spaceships look crap (they look like plastic models with light-bulbs sticking out) but overall the optical & model work is alright. A lot of the space background shots look they are are static pages from a book as the camera doesn't move that much. Now, I have to ask the question what use is that robo dog thing? Seriously? What possible function does it have? It is the one aspect that looks really bad as it wags it's areal like a tail & makes funny noises every so often. The costumes are OK, they certainly don't look that bad or dated although the heavy black S&M overtones of Lord Graal's costume is a bit unnerving at times. The laser gun battles also look pretty good although there's no Lightsabre's here, no, Lord Graal just shots blue bolts of electricity out of his hands but it's close enough I suppose. Look, while models aren't as detailed as those in Star Wars & the costumes look a little generic The Humanoid is a surprisingly decent looking film. Personally I think a lot of the effects shots are more impressive than a lot of low budget CGI computer rendered crap seen these days.
The IMDb says The Humanoid had a budget of about $7,000,000 & while I don't think it was quite that high I am pretty sure this did have some money spent on it & to be fair it does show. It's just a shame about that robot dog. This is quite hard to find these days, the version I saw had a Columbia Pictures logo before the credits & I doubt they are that interested in doing anything with it. Apparently filmed in Italy & Israel. The acting is pretty flt although the dubbing doesn't help.
The Humanoid is a decent attempt at recreating Star Wars on a smaller budget & has it's moments, I certainly wasn't bored by the visuals & action at least even if the story did get a little tiresome by the end. Not a bad effort really although still a silly & sometimes unintentionally funny piece of sci-fi nonsense.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
well, we all know the music is awful. John Barry did a superb job -in comparison- with his score of STAR CRASH. Muzak, not music, plus a ripoff of the EU "anthem". Acting is negligible, although i've seen much worse. Bach & Clery were hot at the time, but perhaps it's not enough. Marco Yeh is the most stereotypical Chinese out of the bad taste jokes, with super slanted eyes, and plays some buffoon dressed like young Luke Skywalker, who can charm and subdue individuals pronouncing mantras crafted by someone on an acid trip. All in all, it is not the wreck many purport it to be, all taken into account. SFX aren't this bad. Troopers look just out of the VISITORS series, yet years in the future. Planets -the usual desert thing ala Star Wars 1977 - are decently pictured. The robot dog...agh! They did a much better job in Galactica: here we have a demented portable fridge. Kiel at his best...waving hands, sleepwalking and acting like a complete retard. I am against cheap nudity in non-porno movies, but here Bach & Clery ought to have saved the day i guess. Hey...Bach & Kiel in 1977 were starring a major Bond movie and Bach was second fiddle there, but things change, right? Easily watchable, unpretentious spoof salad.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
In what can be considered a genre of Star Wars rip-offs, this one stands out for having a higher budget (which ain't saying much), as well as, it being more shameless in imitating Star Wars. There are some scene for scene shots that are nearly identical to Star Wars. Also, there are "Land-speeders," a ship that greatly resembles a Star Destroyer, and instead of storm troopers, you get a bunch of Darth Vaders. This movie stars Richard Kiel's beard and Barbara Bach's breasts. The lame-o plot goes downhill fast. It involves a bad guy shaving off Richard Kiel's beard, thus turning him into a "humanoid" to kill off his goody-two-shoes brother. This means Kiel lumbers around making silly faces (attempting to act) and groaning. If scenes of a grinning retard hugging a Chinese kid as muzak plays is your cup of tea, then this movie is for you! And let us not forget the "classic" scene where the robot dog pees on the floor so the bad guys slip in it, and then electronically giggles. If you'd like to see even more low-end Star Wars rip-offs, then check out War of the Planets and War of the Robots. Both are commercially available on DVD.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
They say that familiarity breeds contempt, and that is definitely the
case with this unassuming rip-off of STAR WARS, one of many similar
Italian films spawned in the late '70s in their rush to make a quick
buck off an American hit. Characters, subplots, effects, costumes -
even the opening scrolling text - are ripped off wholesale in this
predictable sci-fi outing, and it's a wonder that George Lucas didn't
sue - but then again, I guess this wannabe "epic" wasn't exactly on
wide release in the cinemas back in those days.
Aldo Lado - the director previously responsible for such acclaimed gialli as SHORT NIGHT OF THE GLASS DOLLS and WHO SAW HER DIE? - is the man helming this puerile trash, and is seemingly unable to invest his scenes with any dynamism or energy whatsoever. However, there is one exception - the all-out action finale, which is basically a huge shoot-em-up between good guys and bad, with plenty of effects and madness going on to make it hugely entertaining. It's a shame it only lasts for ten minutes of the ninety, because if the entire film had been in this over-the-top and action-packed vein then it would have at least got a four - or even five - star rating. As it is, THE HUMANOID is a plodding, paceless, and even lifeless affair with cardboard-quality effects and unremarkable plotting which serves to waste the talents of a well-known cast.
As in STAR WARS, there's a bunch of good guys all teaming up together to fight off the bad, and these include Princess Leia-wannabe Corinne Clery as the female lead and supposed love interest, although this film is definitely lacking in cheesy romance. Clery was a minor Italian actress of the period who later went on to star in Antonio Margheriti's equally tacky YOR - THE HUNTER FROM THE FUTURE. Here, she's totally unmemorable, apart from the one brief interlude in which she falls in a pool and her white dress suddenly becomes see-through - this, and another brief moment of nudity equal the film's sex content.
Leonard Mann (who he?) is the totally unremarkable Luke Skywalker clone, a square-jawed curly-haired fresh-faced action star who is, quite frankly, pathetic, and the worst member of the cast. Then there's Richard Kiel, fresh from the success of MOONRAKER and taking a major role as a good-guy pilot who gets zapped by evil forces, mysteriously loses his beard, and becomes the old sticky-out-jawed hulking brute we all know and love, throwing people through windows and against walls as he goes on a short-lived rampage. The odd thing is that when he jumps into a pool, he returns to his old lovable self complete with a beard, seemingly grown in the space of only two minutes! Then there are the pair of somewhat respectable actors who really don't deserve to be seen in this mess. The first up is the always-beautiful Barbara Bach, as a big-haired evil spare vampiress who, like Ingrid Pitt in COUNTESS Dracula, is forced to have the blood of young women in order to retain her youth. Then there's Arthur Kennedy as an evil scientist whose diabolical plan is pretty pathetic. Exploitation stalwart Ivan Rassimov (DEEP RIVER SAVAGES) is Graal, a bad guy who costume so resembles that of Darth Vader that you wouldn't be able to spot which was which in an identity parade, but at least Rassimov is hidden behind a mask for the entire film to spare him the embarrassment of being seen - let alone heard, as his dialogue is frankly ridiculous.
The biggest surprise is that the "old sage" role taken by Alec Guinness in STAR WARS has been replaced by Tom-Tom, an obnoxiously twee Chinese boy played by the unknown Marco Yeh! I don't know who thought it would be "clever" to replace the old with the young, but this annoying kid just takes the biscuit as he patronisingly deals out advice to our heroes. Shoot the little git! Finally, we have old-timer Massimo Serato (THE WILD, WILD PLANET) as the "Great Brother", a minor good guy role, and he inexplicably disappears halfway through anyway.
As well as the undistinguished efforts of a familiar cast, there's also a worrying amount of familiar names in the crew of the film as well. Aside from director Aldo Lado, the usually stylish Enzo G. Castellari is credited as the second unit director, Antonio Margheriti contributes miniatures and effects work, goremeister Giannetto De Rossi is on hand with the makeup effects and Ennio Morricone, of all people, contributes the awful synthesiser music which is one of the film's lowest points. It's a shame that the combination of all this raw talent couldn't have been channelled into a beter film, but I guess everybody has their off days and somehow everyone's off day happened to be when making this film! Elsewhere, we have lots of tacky models flying about in a supposed space (they were wise to concentrate on ground-level action for the finale, is all I'll say), plenty of laser beams and shooting which is just about on a level with that in STAR WARS, a rubbishy robot R2D2-wannabe which is so bad it has to be seen to be believed (a scene in which this robot squirts robo-grease over the ground, causing all the bad guys to fall over, is the saddest in the movie), loads of enemy soldiers being decapitated in a row, bows which fire glowing blue arrows instead of light sabers, Rassimov shooting blue lasers out of his hands, too much shoddy back projection and poor blue-screen effects work, and a neck-breaking (I guess those exploitative Italians couldn't resist throwing in just a little violence). Although the last fifteen minutes is hugely entertaining, the rest of the film is sub-par making this a film for bad movie lovers only.
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