Foreign countries may hate many things about the good old US of A whether they’re burning our flag or blowing up an embassy but there is one thing we have that they undeniably loveAmerican movies. Other countries love our movies so much that they’ll even make their own cut-rate rip-offs without asking permission of Hollywood bigwigs. In 1982, Turkey released Dunyaya Kurtaran Adam, which loosely translated means The Man who Saved the World. Calling it the "Turkish Star Wars", however, is something of a misnomer since it does not follow the plot or spirit of the original film. Dunyaya Kurtaran Adam might not be compared to Star Wars at all if it weren’t for blatantly lifting actual footage from the 1977 George Lucas film!
Much of the first ten minutes of the film is choppily edited shots of X-Wings, TIE Fighters, Star Destroyers, the Moon of Yavin, and the Death Star (much like, and only slightly worse than The Star Wars Holiday Special). This footage is looped, run backwards and rear-projected behind the two heroes of the film and intercut with shots of a foreboding spike-helmeted figure who looks like a cross between Vinny Vincent’s Ankh-Man and a Micronaut. Perhaps our heroes are fighting against this unenlightened despot or maybe they’re working for him. It’s uncertain as the film lacks subtitles and the pilfered footage doesn’t lend itself to comprehension.
Even with subtitles I doubt that this film would make any sense as it’s more of a hodgepodge of fight scenes (our heroes love good hand-to-hand combat, especially when it ends in ripping off their opponents’ heads), bad special effects, and even more stolen footage! Thus, Dunyaya Kurtaran Adam becomes an endurance test. If the endless fight scenes and cheap effects don’t get you then listening to an hour and a half of Turkish undoubtedly will! Turkish, in my opinion, has to be the ugliest language I’ve ever heard. It sounds like Russian played backwards!
The film begins with our heroes two outer space fighter pilots (Han and Luke?) engaged in an epic space battle. The two crash land their ships on, I’m assuming, another planet but I can’t be sure as the director inserts stock footage of the Great Pyramids of Egypt! Our heroic duo then engages in the first of a number of fight scenes. The Darth Vadar-ish evil-doer (any guy that wears a hat like that is up to no good) dispatches dozens of henchmen to thwart our dashing protagonists who soon find snivilization and meet up with their "Princess Leia"a foxy blonde with a headband who looks a lot like Agnetha from Abba. After a defeat in their forte of hand-to-hand combat, our heroes train themselves by pumping rocks instead of iron. Don’t mess with men who can run around with boulders strapped to their legs, kids.
It was around this time that I finally hit the fast forward button.
I gleefully watched the fisticuffs come and go with a much faster pace while safe from the brutish tongue of our heroes who would occasionally take time out to talk to each other for extended periods. The rest of the story unfolded more palatably this way.
Danger surrounds the protagonists who are buried alive, do some rock climbing, listen to more voice-over narration while being shown artifacts, and fist fight a bunch of guys including ninjas who wear funnels on their heads. Eventually the younger of our two heroes is captured and the older, more debonair of the pair finds the standout cheap prop of the filma lightning-bolt-shaped sword which is clearly made of some magical substance such as plywood or cardboard.
Single-handedly slaying any dime store creature that crosses his path with his mighty sword, our hero frees his friend who has since been brainwashed by having telephone cords strapped across his chin and forehead. His mind clouded with evil, he steals his friend’s new sword and gives it to the Obi-Wan Kenobi-ish person who, of course, is the bad guy in disguise. After some intense hopping around and some explosions and people turning into zombies, the friend sacrifices his life and our older hero regains his weapon.
Knowing that he prefers karate chopping the heads off his enemies to slashing them with his sword, our hero takes a novel approach and solves his predicament by melting the sword down and sticking his hands into the molten metal thus making a pair of gloves that were tailor-made for opening up a case of whup-ass.
In a heart-stopping finale, every creature on the desert planet forfeits his or her right to live by trying to outfight our hero. This no-holds-barred fight scene is filled with colored smoke and intercut with every explosion that could be culled from Star Wars. The dime-store despot is defeated in a particularly gruesome scene where he’s actually split in two (you can tell because the film keeps cutting to one half of his face and then the other). Our hero returns to space and the safety of more Star Wars footage. SON (the end).
This is Star Wars if Ed Wood Jr. had directed it. In true Wood style, if the director couldn’t make it out of household items, he stole it from another film. The score is lifted from Raiders of the Lost Ark, Planet of the Apes, Battlestar Galactica, Flash Gordon, and Moonraker. The odd mix of music goes well with the melange of bad guys who resemble Roman gladiators, cardboard robots and monsters with costumes that the Muppets would be ashamed to wear. Space gear is limited to motorcycle helmets with headphones attached.
Though it’s a cliché, Dunyaya Kurtaran Adam truly has to be seen to not be believed. The intense editing, the low budget production values, the inter-stellar romance... To dispel rumors to the contrary, Dunyaya Kurtaran Adam does not contain any footage that can not be found in the theatrical version of Star Wars except perhaps a creature or two from the Mos Isley cantina that have since been redone for the Special Edition. Some of the footage looks a bit different but it’d probably due to the fact that it’s anamorphically stretched and the source print is very worse for wear.