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Box Front Original Title: Jung-Gwok Chiu-Yan
Alternate Titles: The Super Inframan (international title)
Director: Hua Shan
Original Release Year: 1975
Running Time: 85 minutes
Official Website: http://www.celestialpictures.com/promotion_inframan.asp

DVD Released By: Intercontinental Video Limited (Hong Kong)
Video: Anamorphic widescreen
Audio: Cantonese 5.1, Mandarin 5.1
Extras: Trailers for Infra-Man, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Buddha’s Palm, The Killer Snakes, and The Mighty Peking Man; photo gallery, original poster image, production notes, and filmographies
Subtitles: English, Traditional Chinese, Bahasa Malaysia, Bahasa Indonesia
Closed Captions: None
Region: 3
Format: NTSC
Chapters: 12
Packaging: A keepcase in a cardboard slipcover (both have identical cover art)
MSRP: $89 HK
UPC #: 4891670100222
Catalog #: 100222
Status: Available


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Reviewed by:  Zillamon51
The Film: The world is rocked by earthquakes, blazing fires, and monster attacks!  Prehistoric creatures, buried under the Earth for ages, are emerging to conquer the planet.  The Demon Princess Elzibub (“Princess Dragon Mom” in the English dub) gives humankind an ultimatum:  Surrender or be destroyed!

The Science Research Institute, led by Professor Liu (“Chang” in the dub), has a plan to deal with this threat.  Rayma, their most courageous agent, is given bionic implants that turn him into Infra-Man!  In addition to martial arts skills and superhuman strength, Infra-Man can fly and change his size.  He also has an arsenal of lasers, bombs, and lethal rocket-powered kicks to battle the monsters with.  He’ll need them.  Princess Elzibub’s menagerie includes:  A tentacled plant monster that sprays explosive acid, a cackling horned devil with a lion’s mane (reminiscent of a
Daiei Yokai), a kung-fu fighting spider monster, a lumpy tunneling creature with a drill on one arm and a claw on the other, a fire-breathing dragon man, robots with spring-loaded limbs, a sexy female assistant with hypnotic eyes in the palms of her hands, and a legion of skeleton-garbed foot soldiers.

The Princess will go to any length to conquer the Earth.  She even kidnaps an Institute researcher and brainwashes him to become her agent.  The final showdown between good and evil takes place at the Princess’ mountain base, which is surrounded by dragon bones on the outside, and has a hi-tech command center on the inside.  There, Infra-Man confronts the ice age monsters on their home turf.  Princess Elzibub threatens the captured Professor Liu and his daughter with death, alternately by being dropped into a flaming lava pit, or being frozen solid inside a glacier!  Only Infra-Man has a chance against this army of bizarre foes.

Infra-Man is a cult classic in the U.S., and it’s not hard to see why.  It’s a perfect combination of the Chinese martial arts genre, and Japanese-style tokusatsu.  It was produced by the Shaw Brothers studio in Hong Kong.  Obviously inspired by Ultraman and other Japanese TV superheroes, it has all the trademarks of the genre:  A transforming hero, rubber monsters, and colorful costumes and special effects.  Rayma is played by Danny Lee, who also stars in the Shaw Brothers’ other monster film, The Mighty Peking Man.  The action in Infra-Man begins right after the opening credits, and rarely slows down from there.  It moves briskly from one action set piece to another.  Exuberant fun!  Grade:  A-

Video: In 2002, Celestial Pictures acquired the entire Shaw Brothers library (760 films) and began the over three-year long process of restoring and digitally remastering them.  Their quality work is apparent here.  Infra-Man is presented in anamorphic widescreen.  There is no print damage and very little grain.  The image is sharp and clear, with bright, vibrant colors.  All of the rays, explosions, and colorful costumes look great.  The sharpness of the transfer even belies some of the special effects, by making wires visible.  The faded, grainy, fullscreen VHS versions released Stateside can’t begin to compare to this gorgeous DVD.  Grade:  A

Audio: Two language tracks are included:  Cantonese and Mandarin, both in Dolby Digital 5.1.  They both sound good.  The dialogue and crazy sound effects are loud and clear.  There are a few scenes in which the music kind of fades into the background of the mix and sounds muddled, but it’s no major problem.  There are some scenes that have music only on one of the two tracks.  For example, when Infra-Man fights the Plant Monster, there is no music on the Mandarin track, only on the Cantonese.  The Cantonese track has stronger music and voices (especially for the monsters), and is overall a tad louder than the Mandarin track.

Infra-Man was dubbed into English for its U.S. release, but that dub is not included here.  No great loss, as it was poorly done.  The stronger Cantonese track is the recommended option (even though the disk defaults to Mandarin if no manual selection is made).  Grade:  A-

Extras / Menus: The extras are divided up into “trailers” and “movie information.”  Five trailers are included.  In addition to Infra-Man, there are trailers for:  Twinkle Twinkle Little Star (a sci-fi parody which includes some hilarious Star Wars-inspired gags, such as lightsaber nunchakus), Buddha’s Palm (supernatural kung-fu), The Killer Snakes (looks like a Chinese Willard with snakes instead of rats), and The Mighty Peking Man (inspired by King Kong).  Except for The Killer Snakes and The Mighty Peking Man, the trailers have both Cantonese and Mandarin audio.  All include optional English and Chinese subtitles.  They are all in anamorphic widescreen, and really show off the image quality of the restored films.

The movie information consists of a photo gallery, original poster image, production notes, and filmographies.  The photo gallery is subdivided into movie stills and behind-the-scenes.  There are 15 movie stills.  Given the clear freeze-frame capabilities of DVD, movie stills are kind of pointless.  The behind-the-scenes section includes 16 screens of one or more black & white pictures.  They include photos of the crew preparing the shots, and partially-costumed action actors getting ready to do their thing.  All of these pictures have captions in both English and Chinese.  There is also a single image of the film’s original poster, notable for its blatant use of a Superman-style “S” logo.  The so-called “production notes” are just a single screen of text (in both English and Chinese).  It’s one short paragraph that reads like a summary for the back of the box.  It gives no insight into the production of the film.  Finally, there are filmographies (in both English and Chinese) for actors Danny Lee (aka Li Hsui-hsien, Infra-Man) and Wang Hsia (Professor Liu), and the director, Hua Shan.

Every screen, and all of the menus, are anamorphic.  All of the menus are still images with no sound or music.  The selections are listed in both English and Chinese, so the menus are easy to navigate. 
Grade:  B

Final Analysis: This wild and crazy kung-fu classic looks spectacular on DVD.  Everyone who enjoys Infra-Man, and has a region-free DVD player, will want to pick this disk up.  Fans of Ultraman and Sentai should also check it out.  Highly recommended. 
Final Grade:  A
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