It’s after midnight and I’m watching what must be, hands down, the worst film I’ve ever seen in my entire life. Weirdly, though, I’m really enjoying the experience and so is the rest of the audience, who have flocked along to this midnight screening of 1982 Turkish fantasy movie, The Man Who Saved the World, or, as it’s better known these days, Turkish Star Wars. The nickname derives from the fact that this shoestring production shamelessly steals footage from Star Wars and a bunch of other movies, gleefully splicing it into the action and making no apologies for having done so.
Set somewhere in an unspecified future, there’s a long voiceover that sets out to explain the current world situation: the earth has been plunged into an interplanetary nuclear war and only mankind’s combined brainpower prevents it from being totally destroyed – at least, I think that is the gist of it. It has to be said, this is not the world’s most coherent plot.
We are then introduced to our heroes: intrepid space cadets, Murat (Cuyneyt Arkin, who also wrote the screenplay), and his best mate, Ali (Artekin Akkaya), who, when we first meet them, are engaged in a dogfight with some very familiar-looking spaceships. They are promptly shot down and wake up on a mysterious planet, whereupon they are attacked by a pack of tubby ‘skeletons’ on horseback and quickly reveal that, as well as skilled pilots, they are also martial arts experts. An extended punch up ensues, our heroes dealing out a flurry of complicated kicks and punches, none of which look as though they have the power to knock the skin off a rice pudding – and I find myself laughing out loud.
There are, it turns out, a lot of punch ups in this film, many of which seem to employ the use of a hidden trampoline (aways handy for such occasions). Murat and Ali are attacked by zombies, and mummies and what look like huge, multi-coloured cookie monsters, all unleashed by the evil magician who rules the planet and who wanders morosely around the place, with his head sandwiched between two pieces of corrugated cardboard, which are clearly held in position by bits of peeling sellotape. This is pretty symptomatic of the standard of props and costumes in the film, which look as though they’ve been knocked up by enthusiastic PTA members for a primary school play.
There’s a bit of a love story, as Murat starts making goo-goo eyes at what appears to be pretty much the planet’s only female character, though it’s nothing compared to the love-fest which seems to be going on between Murat and Ali, who can’t stop praising each other – and I’m still laughing uproariously as the lads start fighting with a really crap robot and a ‘monster’ with deadly tinsel streamers for hands. And then there’s the magic sword that Murat manages to get hold of – the one that appears to have been made out of a length of MDF sprayed with metallic paint…
Look, I’m actually torn here. As a movie, I really can’t award this any more than a token star, because it fails on just about every level of filmmaking. It’s horrendously acted, badly dubbed, clunkily shot, and the actors keep looking sheepishly at the camera. What’s more, the story makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. However, let me add that, if this comes to a cinema near you, you should grab a couple of drinks to fortify yourselves, gather up your friends and go along for what just might be the most fun you’ve had in a cinema in a very long time. Because there’s bad and there’s Turkish Star Wars-bad. And that level of bad just has to merit a few extra stars…
Oh, and savour the scene when Murat does his special whistle – you know, the one that women can’t help being attracted to. That might be my favourite bit.