Monday, March 12, 2012

Space Thunder Kids: Epic Korean Knock-off of Total Incomprehension

Space Thunder Kids 1991 Produced by Joseph Lai Production company Adda Audio Visual LTD.

Joseph Lai is a name well known in the circle of B movies as a producer of films involving Kung fu and/or ninjas. His name is synonymous to ninjas as Carl Macek is to anime. Some of his notable titles include:

  • Rage of Ninja
  • Ninja Destroyer
  • Diamond Ninja Force
  • Ninja Power Force
  • Bionic Ninja
  • Challenge of the Ninja
  • Ninja Dragon
  • Cobra vs Ninja
  • Ninja Avengers
  • Ninja Commandments
  • Zombie vs Ninja
    And the list goes on and on...

So it would hardly come as a surprise that the man with such vision to come up with a cinematic masterpiece such as Robo Kickboxer-Power of Justice would come up with the Korean animated tour de force known as Space Thunder Kids. This film is a mind numbing, myopic, mosaic of WTF non-cohesion with sub plots that go nowhere, aborted story arcs and characters that appear once only to be never seen again.

Joe!!! What are you doing in this movie?
Looking at the cover art one would expect an OVA quality DVD featuring classic character designs by Nobuyoshi Habara and mecha by Masami Obari, complete with a Leina Stol look-alike and a modified Diens from Dragonar. Alas this is not to be, what you do get is like a horrible piece of fan fiction edited by a blind monkey.

Here's some examples:
Raideen with the RX-78's rifle.
Amuro Ikimasu!!!
Giant Robo and the ID monster.
Sometimes they are five,
sometimes only one...
Zion type bad guys.
Sieg Zion!!!
Ouch!!! That's
gonna leave
a mark!!!
Space dreidel!!!
The Crusher Joe team!!!
Mazinger Gooooo!!!
Half the man he used to be...
Dragonball's Piccolo joins the fight!!!

Sigh... the wonderful thing about Korean animation is that 99% of the subject matter is derivative of well established Japanese anime, I doubt you will find anything original or unique in this train wreck compilation.

Graaaargh!!! Pointless monster from Space!!!
This movie is comprised of bits and pieces to form an incomprehensible mess that defies the rules of logic and cinematic storytelling. This is what the story should be:

"The Dark Empire is determined to conquer the Universe and get rid of anyone who acts against it. The Space Thunder Kids, made up of three valiant youths, are responsible for patrolling space and obstructing the invasion of the Dark Army.

Doctor Sparta, a scientist, is pursued by the Dark Army after the devastation of his planet. He flees to the Earth and meets Doctor Rhodes, who develops advanced weapons for the Guardian Army.

The Dark Army bombards the Earth aggressively and kidnaps Dr. Sparta and Rhodes. The Space Thunder Kids come to the rescue with the fighter robots, and together with the aid of the Guardian Army, they Successfully save the two scientists and shatter the Dark Empire."

To tell the truth I'm not sure if any of this took place in the entire movie. One thing that should NOT be done from the get go is to introduce the trailer for the very feature that you're going to watch which actually is the first thing you see when you pop in the disc. The whole thing goes on for 2 minutes and 50 seconds!!! That's just plain WRONG.

In fact some of the characters don't even have names so you can't identify who's who and at times don't know one is the good guy or bad. In fact there is no clear indication as to who the Space Thunder Kids actually are!!! For example:

The Space Thunder Kids, right?
No wait, maybe
these are the Space Thunder Kids.
Those can't be the Space
Thunder Kids, that's Crusher Joe!!!
WTF? Whose this guy?
Is this guy one
of the Space Thunder Kids?
Damn I just give up!!!

I can't even begin to describe the insanity so here's some moving pictures to save me from typing a thousand words...

Did you get all that? Even Crusher Joe appears in this movie along with Alfin and Ricky (All probably slumming for a paycheck). And what is wrong with their eyes? (probably their reactions to reading the script). Not only are the characters stolen but Joe's background music is shamefully lifted to be used in some key sequences. The only thing missing is the Minerva... and Talos (Who probably refused to play a bit part).

In fact it was the appearance of Joe that inspired me to seek out this animated fiasco in the first place. But the movie doesn't stop there... if it did we'd be getting off way too easy.

The opening sequence has to be one of the most boring parts of the movie as the crew of the space station tinker toy just stare off at the void drooling with their mouths open waiting for the movie to start. 43 SECONDS OF DEAD AIR!!! The pride of the Earth fleet indeed, these guys look like Yamato Wannabes.

This is the pride of the galaxy?
The crew of Space Station Crap.

When something FINALLY does happen a shower of meteors start to hit the station the plot goes nowhere and we're introduced to a new station, with different characters and another sub plot that tells us that the Dark Emperor is amassing his forces for battle and just as things start to heat up they die just as quickly as the screen fades to black.

Hey, ho it's the pirates life for me!!!
No battle, no action, no nothing, as these characters never return again. This movie is so full of random WTF it's hard not to look away and watch your brain melt right before your eyes

Meanwhile Earth falls under attack from a semi invisible Godzilla type monster who goes flailing about destroying city blocks and nothing is done about it, at least not until later.

Solar Mech-1... yeah right!!!
At this point we're introduced to Mazinger... I, I mean Solar Mech-1 supposedly piloted by the kids mentioned in the title that look like the Getter Robo team... or maybe not... All I could gather is that the leader's name is Jack and he is accompanied by an unnamed girl and a rotund guy both whom apparently have the power to teleport to different seats in the mecha. Okay so it's just continuity errors but it's still jarring in a movie that has trouble keeping the story continuous to begin with.

Cockpit continuity errors.
Okay there's just too much craziness here to cover in one shot so here's just some samples of the total gonzo stuff that goes on in this film...
Nikita Khrushchev protests.
Look, it's Inferno
from The Transformers!!!
Chief Anderson call out...
...The Science Ninja Team!!!
Don't mess with John Koenig!!!
The Dark Emperor's
evil Monkeybots.
Look, it's Daidenjin!!!
Space Pirate Sheila.
Beware of monsters,
John. Monsters from the ID.
Ha, ha, ha,
this movie makes me laugh!!!

Damn movie you have no shame... to continue:

When last we left our heroes they were piloting Solar Mech-1 into space... even though an attack was taking place on Earth with a Godzilla type monster that is partially invisible.

Yeah... uh so meanwhile Mazinger, damn it... I mean Solar Mech-1 encounters a saucer in space and a fight breaks out. If you could call it a fight it's really just a bunch of evasive maneuvers and the occasional brandishing of weapons that convinces the saucer to break off and head back into space.

Evil space monster!!!
This is just another pointless scene inserted to fill in time as the next scene sets itself up at the International Science Conference... wait that has a familiar ring to it... Kagaku Ninja Tai Gatchaman? Sigh yes the scene does try to imitate it but at least they don't have 5 young ninjas flitting about (A complete surprise to me considering this is the guy obsessed with them).

What we do have is a message sent by the emissary of the Dark Emperor by the name of General Daly who unleashes some space monster on some unwitting soldiers and carries out some threats the lead to no consequence.

In fact that's the problem with this movie there are numerous sets of random evens that lead to no definitive conclusions whatsoever. Even Carl Macek was not this horrible at continuity.

Tiger SX-3.
At this rate we find that the Space Thunder Kids are a triumvirate team that pilot the mechas Solar Mech 1, Zortec 2 and Tiger SX-1. Well at least that makes a little more sense... that is until Tiger SX-3 changes from a Daidenjin clone into Inferno from the Transformers later on in the film... just don't ask, just take my word for it.

This part of the story arc is of poor quality which is a shame since it's my favourite portion of the film mainly because it features a Crusher Joe team of lookalikes and they are piloting an awesome mech. How cool is that? Well it only gets cooler as we find out the enemy has a fleet of Yamato class battle cruisers at their disposal!!!! All this and we're still not even halfway through the movie!!!

There's even a blatant Tron ripoff in the move as shown in this clip...

Okay that was really the clip from Savior of the Earth but it's exact same sequence used in this movie... with different voices and no music... trust me this is the better version.
Yamato Hasshin!!!
In conclusion this movie just too much non-sequitur to put into words!!! Anyway for a dollar this movie is truly worth the price.

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