Color, 1974, 96m.
Directed by Alfonso Brescia (Al Bradley)
Starring Aldo Canti, Marc Hannibal, Malisa Longo, Hua Yueh, Magda Konopka
Code Red (DVD) (US R0 NTSC) / WS (2.35:1) (16:9), BCI (US R0 NTSC)

SuperStooges vs the Amazon Women

Now's here's a double feature for you: two Italian films with nothing in common except they were both made in the '70s and shot in scope. SuperStooges vs the Amazon WomenThat said, there's a whole lot of fun to be had here as you manage to get a heaping dose of violence, slapstick, and wildly gratuitous sex in a tidy three-hour presentation. The packaging lists the films in order as Super Stooges vs. the Wonder Women and Amuck, though the order is actually reversed on the DVD and neither of the prints actually carry those titles.

The first title is presented under its general export title of Amazons and Supermen, and no matter what you call it, this thing is certifiably bonkers. Director "Al Bradley," Alfonso Brescia, is probably best known for his trashy run of Star Wars rip-offs like War of the Planets and the infamous Beast in Space, but here he managed to mount an elaborate, very silly Italian/Hong Kong co-production made in association with none other than Shaw Brothers. SuperStooges vs the Amazon WomenIt's sort of a successor to his 1973 film, Battle of the Amazons, a more straightforward Italian actioner, but here the decision to throw in lots of kung fu and goofball comedy (not to mention a huge amount of violence) turns it into something completely alien to modern sensibilities. Things start out on a feverish note as we meet our titular tribe of amazons, a particularly ruthless bunch who get their kicks by standing contestants on tall wooden stilt platforms and having them fire arrows into each other. They're hell bent on conquering every village in their path, SuperStooges vs the Amazon Womenwith their sights set on one governed by the mysterious "sacred flame" that can supposedly imbue the power of immortality. There we have our trio of superheroes -- Aru (Canti), Moog (Hannibal), and Chung (Shaw Brothers star Hua Yueh from Come Drink with Me and The Water Margin), who get into lots of comical fights for no good reason. The "immortal" village leader, Dharma, turns out to be quite a scam since it's really a string of guys donning the same mask and pretending to live forever, with Aru picked to be next in line. Once the amazons show up, it's a free for all to see who will come out on top.

This one's been trotting around under a variety of titles over the years, with BCI issuing a pretty dire-looking DVD a while back from a mediocre tape source. The Code Red presentation (licensed from Ovidio Assonitis of all folks) looks pretty great with robust colors and far less print damage than any prior version. It's also one of the longest editions out there at 96 minutes, including a brief exchange during the climax (the demonstration of the yo-yo weapon) that switches to Italian, which makes about as much sense as anything else in the movie and was probably never dubbed into English. The mono audio sounds fine, with the standout element being the energetic, highly memorable score by Franco Micalizzi, up there with his funky work on Beyond the Door and The Visitor.

The second feature is Amuck!, and you can read more about its presentation here and other variant release by clicking here.

Reviewed on February 5, 2015.