Turkey: The Man Who Saved the World (Dünyayı Kurtaran Adam) (1982) Dir. Çetin İnanç

So, I’m starting this blog with a mind to mine the world’s worst film. I know blogs exist that review bad movies, but not many provide that global perspective. That’s what I’m here for. Escape with me each week on my flight around the world. I promise to find you the worst—whether from public libraries, VHS clearance bins, foreign language torrents, or South American landfills. Maybe not the fourth thing, but nevertheless if it’s bad, I’ll find it.

Preliminaries out of the way, let’s move to a quainter time, 1982 Turkey, when we knew right from wrong because right was human and wrong was a “wizard” who wore a spike-scarf and used his wife the queen as the one-woman welcoming committee for visiting invaders (what happened to space hospitality, seriously guys?). What am I talking about? The Man Who Saved the World, better known as Turkish Star Wars, perhaps the greatest foreign bad movie ever and a good first film to start this blog.

I say “ever” because 1) not only does the director rip off the story, music, and even certain scenes from the original Star Wars but 2) he uses these things not to clarify or make his movie more palatable but to confuse an already intensely complicated plot. Let me try to explain.

Like Star Wars, the movie begins with a long-winded explanation, many eons ago, galaxy far far away, you know, except adds a twist. For example, “hundreds of thousands years had been passed and Earth and planets systems in space turned into…the galaxy system” but because of nuclear war “in some cases parts of the Earth had fragmented.” Brazil? Chile? The UAE? What didn’t make the cut—we never learn. Luckily, for the remaining people, “Human brain molecules protected the Earth.” Phew! Nothing like human tissue to help me sleep at night!

Yet terror beckons in the form of “the wizard,” an alien with (surprise!) a Death Star and a plot to destroy the Earth. Unfortunately, first he needs a human brain, to what end is never fully explained. In my version of the movie Earth is destroyed and the movie ends after the first five minutes. Luckily for the plot but not me, two heroes emerge who launch a space campaign in, hmm, x-wings to battle the wizard.

They crash onto a desert-like planet in the middle of an unidentified world. Wandering, surrounded by archaeo-junk, Turkish beefcake #1 suggests to #2 “start your famous whistle that women could not resist.” Beefcake #2 complies and emits a truly heartrending spurt of high-pitched sound. If I may jump in here, women of the galaxy, please stop falling for this guy. I know it’s fun to have your ears fried, but please, really, enough.

Instead of women, a space cavalry appears that attacks the men. Through their cunning and acrobatic skills they defeat these horseback villains. To save half the plot summary, through the next hour or so, the boys will meet similarly costumed menaces who they will then fend off. Between these strikes on the planet, they meet an entrancing local woman who ensorcells #1 with her looks. Not to mention she has a son, which doesn’t seem to bother him, so all the better. They also train on the local terrain, to hilarious effect. While their more pampered Western counterparts may work with personal trainers like Yoda, these two have to rely on hitting and abusing rocks for their workout—to hilarious effect.

After a barfight and several close calls with the Wizard’s minions (who look something like Triple-A baseball mascots), the men are abducted. They must fight the final battle with the wizard, rescue the girl, seduce his queen (who unsurprisingly is having marital trouble (could you imagine marrying a man whose sole hobby is spending time in bars with furries?)) and find a cardboard sword.

I’ll save you the suspense, the humans win, but not before we see the destruction of more rocks, the Death Star, and the Earth for good measure. We leave the movie with these words of wisdom, “The man who is going to make the peace live is no doubt a human.” When you think about that, it almost makes sense. Almost…

To end, I will not even tackle the technical problems in this movie, whether the overexposure, the non-sequiter stolen footage, or the dubbing that seemingly never synchs with the actors’ lips. Instead, before I send you off to click on the clip and watch for yourselves, I would like to discuss the movie’s idiosyncratic philosophy. First, what’s the deal with the whole religion discussion? First, we hear that the humans are not united, then they find religion, which is well and good, then non-believers persecute the godly and they have to build “cities seven layers below the ground” and “Jesus Christ led them there.” Are we facing a new anti-religious phase, is Jesus coming back for a third time and where did he go? And why is he leading them underground? If Jesus is back couldn’t he stop the Wizard? Maybe we can piece this together in the comments page. Finally, if Beefcake #2 believes that “If they’d known a bit about laughing there wouldn’t have been a nuclear war” and Beefcake #1 then laughs but to no effect, what are the filmmakers really saying about humor? Don’t most evil villains laugh a great deal before they launch the bomb that fragments the world? So many unanswered questions!

I give this star travesty star four out of four stars for being out of this world and recommend you click below and watch it here.  I have now seen it three times and each time it really only gets worse, so enjoy!

Jonathan Peters

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One response to “Turkey: The Man Who Saved the World (Dünyayı Kurtaran Adam) (1982) Dir. Çetin İnanç

  1. A surprisingly similar – if less infamous – film is the South African Space Mutiny (1988, probably best-known for being MST3K s8e20) which applies the same technique as The Man Who Saved the World but exchanges the source material for the entirety of the original Battlestar Galactica and drops the martial arts sequences for more golf cart chases.

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