November 7, 2021

Chi-Lien Yu's Invincible Space Streaker

Est. Reading: 3 minutes

In 1977 director Chi-Lien Yu fashioned a new edition to the Taiwanese Fantasy genre. Let me, if I may, describe to you the opening few scenes of his film entitled Fei tian dun di jin gang ren or Invincible Space Streaker.

We open with a very badly made facsimile of a placid pond on a very badly made soundstage with what appears to be just a flat monochrome backdrop. Suddenly a water spout erupts and a golden clad monstery, robot looking, thingy appears. Then without explanation we cut away to a children’s soccer game for awhile. Then also without explanation we return to the pond where a suspicious looking man in a flowing robe sprays smoke out of his sleeve and produces two henchmen dressed entirely in scarlet, one of whom has a matching scarlet beard, hair, and sweat band. Actually as an aficionado of Taiwanese fantasy films I have come to understand that scarlet haired people are something of a common trope. Then all the little boys who were playing soccer arrive at the pond and strip naked to go skinny dipping. This is where one might expect some careful editing and a few strategically placed bushes but one would be wrong. We stick with wide shots and medium shots while 15 or so 6 to 8 year old boys let it all hang out. They jump and prance around for what seems like a very uncomfortable eternity until it is made even more uncomfortable when the camera starts intercutting shots of the suspicious looking man grinning while he spies on them.

The man entices the boys to come back to his home where he turns each of them into different animals. While this is going on one child complains that he really has to “sing.” He seems desperate and begs to be allowed to “sing,” but the man is busy torturing the other children and is annoyed by this child’s interruptions. To shut the boy up the man tells him to just go ahead and sing in his ear. The boy then take out his penis and in a tight close up shot urinates in the man’s ear. As far as I can tell the urination is real. Again, as a dedicated consumer of Taiwanese Fantasy films, urine and urine related antics seem to be a consistent presence throughout the genre. I can not explain it, I simply bear witness. Believe it or not all of what I just described constitutes only the first fifteen minutes of the film and I have left quite a bit out. Taiwan gives you a lot of bang for your kuài

The version I watched of this film seemed to be a VHS copy of a VHS copy, of a two millimeter film transferred at zero resolution from a floppy disc that had been through the wash. The subtitles were very hard to make out but the film appears to be about a proxy war between Dr. Mao and Dr. Pao. Each scientist has his own Las Vegas themed supersized science lab. Dr. Mao’s is done in red and silver, and Pao’s is just silver. The proxies are of course the children, unless you count the fire breathing insect-parrot.

One of the boys is able to turn into a sort of bad Ultraman knock off but with an oversized head. The conflict between the two scientists ensues and what follows is a lot of motorbike chases and really bad fight choreography. The less-than-ultraman boy battles weird masked henchmen which are actually the boy’s friends that have been transformed and enslaved by Dr. Mao. Things take a disturbing turn when the red beard man turns himself into a little girl and tries to seduce the little ultraboy.

I don’t know if Kawasaki was an investor in this film but the bad guys ride motorbikes, the good guys ride motor bikes, the police ride motor bikes and the monsters ride motorbikes too. Maybe it was some kind of union negotiation with the motorbike stunt double union. Anyway through a haze of exhaust and a few more jokes about urine the movie hurdles forward without the benefit of rhyme or reason. Eventually, after a few more monsters join the fire breathing insect parrot, and a few more motorbike conflicts the ultra-boy drives the evil Dr Mao back into the lake and all the naked boys return to frolic in the water. Then the frame freezes and text appears across their naked bodies. It reads, I kid you not “THANK YOU FOR YOUR COMING”


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