Friday, February 11, 2011

Awful Foreign Ripoffs of Varying Quality American Films

Previously, I posted a video exploring the art of "remixing" as it applies to cinema. The basic gist of the video was that films will inevitably draw some form inspiration from an existing entity. From remakes to homages, the degree to which concepts are borrowed can vary greatly. With Hollywood's current deficit in originality coming under fire from critics all over, I think it's an excellent time to take a look at some of the less inspired films (read: blatant ripoffs) from other countries.

Indonesia's 1986 film The Intruder, starring New Zealand first-class actor Peter O'Brian, draws more than a little inspiration from the lucrative Hollywood franchise Rambo. Peter O'Brian plays an ex-cop named Rambu who vows to take down the gang of criminals responsible for killing his wife. Despite the awesome action setpieces, the familiar bandana and poster indicate that The Intruder might be lacking in creativity.

1961's Reptilicus was a Danish-American joint production, however, it was filmed in Denmark and only redubbed in America to get rid of the laughable "sing-song Scandinavian accents." Giant monster movies are probably the genre of film that ages the worst. Godzilla, Gamera, Ultraman, and all other daikaiju films seem to suck the action right out of giant monster battles. There is, however, some level of charm that keeps the movie enjoyable. Reptilicus attempts to cash in on the monster movie mayhem with a terrible marionette that apparently is supposed to be an "annihilating mastodon." Essentially Reptilicus is Godzilla without any charm whatsoever.

3. Beauty & the Beast

So, here's the deal. Beauty and the Beast is an old fairy tale dating back to 1740. Jean Cocteau made a brilliant film adaptation in 1946, a successful television series starring Ron Perlman aired from 1987-1990, and then Disney made a smash hit animated version in 1991. GM Toons, a Thai animation studio, also made an animated version of the classic fairy tale which bares a striking resemblance to the Disney version. In fact, their logo seems to resemble the famous Disney castle as well. This ripoff is quite more severe than the others, as it is quite literally a shot-for-shot lift of the award-winning Disney feature. The company behind this, GM Toons, is impossible to find and I have been unable to track down any information on the film itself outside of the following trailer:

The 1976 South Korean film A*P*E capitalized on the giant ape revival which the Jeff Bridges remake of King Kong brought. There really isn't much to say about this awesomely bad knockoff that the trailer can't do for me. Make sure you stick around until the end for the amazing tagline.

The 1993 Bollywood film Mahakaal: The Monster's IMDb plot synopsis:
A demon torments the family and friends of Anita in order to take revenge on his death, which was caused by her police-officer father. The rest of the movie is how Anita tackles the demon with the help of her boyfriend.
Does that sound familiar? It is identical to the plot from Wes Craven's 1984 A Nightmare On Elm Street. Hell, they even stole the music.

Hari Puttar: A Comedy of Terrors is another entry of unoriginal ideas for Team Bollywood. Plotwise, Hari Puttar is a near direct copy of Chris Columbus' 1990 Home Alone:
Inadvertently left at home by adults, young cousins face-off against burglars.
Hari Puttar even faced a law suit (albeit dismissed by the Indian courts) for infringement. The suit came from Warner Bros, not for the similarity to Home Alone, but because the similarity between Hari Puttar and Harry Potter.

7. Every Terminator Rip-Off Ever
James Cameron's 1984 sci-fi masterpiece The Terminator was quite a phenomenon. The man who would go on to make the most expensive movies of all time made his mark with a very successful low-budget ($6.4 million) science fiction film. Attempting to replicate the success without changing the model, many foreign studios have followed suit. Due to the large number of Terminator knock offs, I decided to lump them together.

-There is the Indonesian Lady Terminator complete with incredible dialog.
-Or how about the bizarre 1995 Japanese film Terminatrix?
-The 2004 Spanish film about a robo-dog called Rottweiler?
-Saving the best for last, the Tamil sci-fi epic Enthiran which mimics Terminator but cranks it up to 11.

I am in no way defending the lack of originality in Hollywood. Additionally, foreign cinema produces some of the greatest films every year, so this in no way is meant to condemn non-American produced films. I simply am poking fun at some of the terrible ripoffs of American movies.

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