Friday, January 14, 2011

TURKISH STAR WARS (1982) - at midnight, I will destroy George Lucas through lax copyright enforcement

Here's the unstoppable training montage. The training montage from Rocky IV can go eat a dick.

Two years ago or so, I found myself stuck in one of those annoying conversations with a 40 year old geek, sort of a bland version of the comic book guy from The Simpsons. You know, an avalanche of geek rants with nary a response from my direction, maybe the occasional nod of the head, like I was a living message board and he was posting his complaints about whatever nerds think constitute a pressing issue. You see, I have a magical ability to accidentally convince others that I care about what they are saying, even though my body language and lack of retorts during these “conversations” would seem to say otherwise. I guess I can’t help but be polite and hope they catch on, rather than state the obvious and watch the fist of rejection crush their sad little heart.

This conversation finally plummeted to the depths of nerd hell when the dude, out of nowhere, starting ranting about Jar Jar Binks. Yes, he was still complaining about Jar Jar circa 2008. Look buddy, you got raped…GET OVER IT. Your little Star Wars nerd bubble got punctured when George Lucas decided to bend it over a pile of Ewok lunchboxes and ram it repeatedly with his money stick. Maybe you shouldn’t put so much importance on things that aren’t real. And don’t give me that bullshit that Yoda has important life lessons to impart. One or two fortune cookie snippets does not justify the transformation of the cinematic arts into a marketplace of hype and merchandise, nor the resulting diversion of an entire generation from things that actually have to do with the real world.

Well, instead of bitching about George's money whoring ways, somebody actually had the balls to fight back, stealing clips and music from Star Wars for their own gain, as some sort of political revolt against mediocre cash-in sequels and Boba Fett action figures. The man responsible is the director of Turkish Star Wars, a movie that would be considered a very illegal ripoff if it was officially released in most of the world. If a distributor tried to show this film in a theater in the U.S., Lucas would sue their pants off and then try to sell them the bottom half of a stormtrooper Halloween costume. However, it’s an entirely different situation in Turkey. Apparently, you'll get tossed in a Turkish prison just for spitting on the sidewalk (see Prison Heat), but blatant theft of Hollywood product is not only legal, but seemingly encouraged. Whoever directed Turkish Star Wars probably got a key to the city and an honorarium from the Turkish film institute, if for no better reason than the economic stimulus that the grosses provided.

The bulk of Turkish Star Wars is it’s own Turkish pop brand of action foolishness, sort of a particularly violent Sid and Marty Krofft show on a sugar high, filtered through the prism of low budget costume-fu Hong Kong movies; maybe Sigmund and the Sea Monsters meets Infra-Man. The human hero of the story is the Charles Bronson/Harrison Ford of Turkey, Cuneyt Arkin, who gets to beat up on all of these ruthless fucks, whether foam skeleton warriors, toilet paper mummies, cardboard robots, or evil Tickle Me Elmos, doing so with manly style and the occasional gratuitous trampoline jump. Despite their raggedly cute exteriors, these monsters are evil incarnate. They have no qualms about killing innocent children, which is pretty awesome, but this does cut into the subtlety factor a bit.

All of this is supplemented with shots and music from Star Wars, just like any number of Roger Corman movies, although to a greater extent. For example, you can bet your sweet ass that if you watch a space movie that Corman produced between 1982 and 1992 or so, there's gonna be a shot cribbed from Battle Beyond the Stars. The difference being that Corman owned the rights to the movies he was ripping off but, like I said, Turkey plays by it's own rules. However, even with all of the stolen footage and John Williams' iconic score, this is another universe entirely.
Arkin eventually gets to use the movie's equivalent to the light saber, but it's a cardboard sword that looks like a two dimensional Christmas tree designed by Frank Gehry. Regardless, it gets the job done, so who am I to complain. Even the requisite cabana scene is really an excuse for Cuneyt to pummel some more hellacious furballs in decidedly un-Lucas fashion. After all, furry creatures in the Star Wars universe have to be lovable, as kids love both furry things and useless merchandise, and this spells opportunity. Granted, opportunity for childhood rape, but opportunity nevertheless.


  1. Even though I am a 40-something-year-old geek (nerd, fanboy, what have you) I thoroughly enjoyed this post.

  2. @John
    I'm just complaining about nerdom with the exclusion of reality (which Lucas takes advantage of, it would seem), which leads to nerd rage. If it's something you love, fantastic...if you don't like it, move on with your life and go onto something else. For the record, I'm not implying that 40 year olds are too old to be "nerds", but just that they should have enough perspective not to still be angry about Jar Jar 8 years after the fact.

  3. Totally understood my good man. Merely razzing you a bit. Nerd rage: great phrase. I've never fully understood nerd rage. Yes, it's a sad thing when a beloved franchise jumps the shark, but there's always a billion other good things out there to watch. Easy enough to move on with your life. Really do like the post, too.

  4. "The occasional nod of the head." Wow, what a weird and wonderful coincidence. I just put the final touches on a bit about head nodding five minutes ago.

    Sergio Valente!!!