Newest Reviews
Intergalactic Adventures of Max Cloud, The
Spoilers, The
Killer Therapy
Man Upstairs, The
Bloodhound, The
New Mutants, The
Flame of New Orleans, The
Ham on Rye
Imperial Blue
August 32nd on Earth
Don is Dead, The
Seven Sinners
Body of Water
About Endlessness
Let It Snow
Deliver Us from Evil
Shark Attack 3: Megalodon
Midnight Sky, The
Lego Star Wars Holiday Special, The
Mon Oncle Antoine
Blast of Silence
Blackout, The
Stars in Your Eyes
Climate of the Hunter
Farewell Amor
Let's Scare Julie
Okko's Inn
Shaolin vs. Wu Tang
Butt Boy
Dog of Flanders, The
Bushido Blade, The
Jiu Jitsu
Newest Articles
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
Toons for the Heads: Fantastic Planet and Adult Animation
Nature Girl: The New World on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Perfect Friday and Robbery
Network Double Bills: The House in Nightmare Park and The Man Who Haunted Himself
Newley Minted: The Strange World of Gurney Slade on Blu-ray
Bad Love: The Night Porter on Blu-ray
Brevity is the Soul of Weird: Short Sharp Shocks on Blu-ray
Get Your Ass to Mars: Total Recall on Blu-ray
Call the Professionals: Le Cercle Rouge on Blu-ray
When There's No More Room in Hell: Dawn of the Dead on Blu-ray
The Butterfly Effect: Mothra on Blu-ray
Living Room Theatre: Play for Today Volume 1 on Blu-ray
Didn't He Do Well: The Bruce Forsyth Show on DVD
Blood Wedding: The Bride with White Hair on Blu-ray
The Inhuman Element: The Ladykillers on 4K UHD
As You Like It, Baby: Breathless on Blu-ray
Stargazing: Light Entertainment Rarities on DVD
Down to the Welles: Orson Welles Great Mysteries Volume 2 on DVD
Herding Cats: Sleepwalkers on Blu-ray
Confessions of a Porn Star: Adult Material on DVD
They're Still Not Sure It is a Baby: Eraserhead on Blu-ray
Werewolves are Real: Dog Soldiers on Digital
Rose: A Love Story - Producers April Kelley and Sara Huxley Interview
  Super Robot Mach Baron Raging Robot Rumble
Year: 1974
Director: Koichi Takano, Kwok Ting-Hung
Stars: Stephan Yip, Paul Chun, Maggie Li Lin-Lin, Jamie Luk Kin-Ming, Godfrey Ho, Hiroshi Ikaida, Hisashi Kato, Riikishi Ko, Shao Hua Liang
Genre: Action, Science Fiction, WeirdoBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: As a boy Kay (Stephan Yip) saw both his parents killed when their cruise ship was sunk by a gigantic alien robot with a harpoon arm. Now the super-cool, shaggy-haired, denim-clad hero pilots Mach Baron, his own awesome fire-engine red giant super-robot equipped with an incredible hi-tech arsenal of super-weaponry. Together with sagely and dapper mentor the Professor (Jamie Luk Kin-Ming) and stalwart jet squadron allies: Lee, pigtailed token girl Sue (Lin-Lin Li) and, er, Luggy (that's a name?), Kay defends planet Earth against an alien onslaught. Led by the ancient evil Noble Controller (Hiroshi Ikaida), who sports insane gravity-defying glam rock hair and creepy reptile eyes, the invaders pit their robot legions against the mechanical might of Mach Baron.

Much like the cut-and-paste treatment that eventually led to the Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, the Taiwanese Tie chao ren or Iron Super Man melds effects sequences lifted from Japanese tokusatsu creator Koichi Takano's 1974 show Super Robot Mach Baron with new footage directed by Kwok Ting-Hung with local stars like Stephan Yip (who went on to have a side-career directing trashy sex films), Maggie Li Lin-Ling, Jamie Luk Kin-Ming (future director of soft-core sci-fi opus Robotrix (1991)!) and even fabled schlock producer Godfrey Ho replacing the original cast. Hong Kong movie staple Paul Chun snags the most memorable role as Porky (?!) the wacky Inspector Clouseau-like comedy relief who actually proves quite resourceful. As well as possessing shrewd deductive reasoning he also rides a flying motorcycle and wields a neat line-in hi-tech super-weaponry. He bails Kay out of many an ambush by the alien henchmen who, for reasons unknown, dress like American football players. Just roll with it.

To confuse matters further the most widely available print is a Spanish dub re-titled Mazinger Z - El robot de las estrellas. Even though this movie features a robot unrelated to Go Nagai's seminal anime. There is also a German dub supposedly more jocular in tone than the original. Who says the Germans have no sense of humour? In Germany Iron Super Man has a cult following as a so-bad-its-good film and was featured on SchleFaz, the country's equivalent of Mystery Science Theatre 3000. However, one needs neither a snarky sense of humour nor a snide dismissal of Asian sci-fi to appreciate the original productions many charms.

Set to an unforgettable twangy guitar and funky brass soundtrack, Super Robot Mach Baron or Iron Super Man or whatever you want to call is paced, in the time-honoured Toei tokusatsu tradition, like a runaway freight train. It speeds by like a blur of comic book colours, eye-catching miniature effects and wild set-pieces showcasing Takano's ingenious array of eccentric mecha designs. Of course the plot functions on a strictly juvenile level, but the action is non-stop (with that weird streak of sadism strangely common in Japanese children’s fare in the Seventies) and super fun. With rocket punch hands, missile and flame-spewing mouth, rainbow beams and spastic stop-motion kung fu moves, Mach Baron is a sensorial overload for any child enchanted by Japanese tokusatsu fare. The set-pieces are expertly orchestrated by Takano who went on to deliver Born Free (1976) with its offbeat mix of animated humans and live action rubber dinosaurs and The Ultraman Story (1984). Here he utilizes crash zooms and rapid edits to enhance the comic book energy and brings the same level of invention to the production design. The good guys' awesome underwater base looks like it was designed by Ken Adam on a psychedelic bender after repeat viewings of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971).

Along with that weird streak of sadism strangely common in Japanese children’s fare of the Seventies the film sports a cracked mysticism, occasionally achieving levels of surreal delirium unmatched outside Shaw Brothers' classic Super Infra-Man (1975) or Taiwan's own Kinko Films (e.g. Child of Peach (1987), Twelve Animals (1990)). It is worth watching just for the amazing surrealistic pseudo-religious sequence wherein a rival robot crucifies Mach Baron on a hilltop at sunset till he rises Christ-like from the dead. You just don't get that with Transformers.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam


This review has been viewed 268 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Stately Wayne Manor
Enoch Sneed
  Geraint Morgan
Paul Smith
  Lee Fiveash


Last Updated: