Sunday, August 2, 2009

"...there's a blacksmith who knows a little about medicine..."

VHS/UK/fullscreen/English dub/no subs
(click scan for bigger size)

This afternoon I watched LION MAN (aka Kiliç Aslan) and it's without a doubt one of the most entertaining Cüneyt Arkin films I've seen! This really needs a DVD release that's for damn sure!! LOL. Oh, and don't get fooled by this "Steve" Arkin, haha. It is indeed good ol' Cüneyt Arkin. Actually, the last of his movies I watched, KARA MURAT SEYH GAFFAR'A KARSI (aka Der Rächer des Khan) had him credited as yet something else, "George" Arkin I think, haha.

The version I got hold of is an NTSC video tape that was released in the US back in 1983 - so obviously it's totally obscure and difficult to get hold of these days. But try and see if you can get a copy somewhere, it's totally worth it. The tape is dubbed into English and fullscreen. LION MAN was also released in Canada and the UK but needless to say those tapes are just as difficult to find.

The plot is like this; We're back in the days of the Byzantine Empire. The proud Turks have been overrun by nasty and cruel Christian crusaders. Yes, that's right! In this film the Christians (which are easily recognised by their big crosses on their chests) are bloodthirsty savages and the proud Turks are the heroes.

VHS/US/fullscreen/English dub/no subs

When you're someone who's born and raised on bloody Hollywood movies this is quite different. But never the less very entertaining and makes perfectly sense in my book. Just like you always root for the Chinese hero against the nasty Gwailos in a HK movie no matter how white you are. LOL.

Anyhoo, the Turkish emperor is killed by slimy Europeans (probably French people, or ze Englisch) but somehow his wife escapes and isn't killed until their son is stolen by a lion! (I didn't know they actually had lions in Turkey, lol, but maybe they did in the old days).

Anyway, much confusion later and the introduction of a dark-haired fair maiden (the same babatious chick who's name escapes me but who was also in THE BOY WHO KNEW TOO MUCH aka LITTLE EYEWITNES), and eventually the lion-boy becomes a mix of Robin Hood/Tarzan/Barry Prima (haha).

VHS/France/fullscreen/French dub
(click scan for proper size)

This is really entertaining cinema if I ever say any. Totally! And the film is quite gory too! The only down-point is the ANNOYING orchestral elevator music score! But I can live with that and I plan on watching this again. You should do the same. Apparently, the dubbed print is slightly different to the Turkish version (don't worry it's not cut) I haven't watched it but reportedly it's nothing serious.

By the way, the Turkish title for LION MAN is indeed Kiliç Aslan. Don't believe this "ASLAN ADAM" that the bloody IMDb will tell you! I have my info from this worlds biggest expert on Turkish cult cinema Ayman Kole (an Australian of Turkish descent).

PS: The headline is a quotation of some of the rad dialogue! I mean you have this scene where Cüneyt Arkin's character is truly and severely fucked up and some guy suggests they go to the blacksmith of the nearest village cos he knows a little about medicine, hahaha.

Thanks to Gokay of Ciko for the UK scan. Much appreciated!

Added French VHS scan (5/8/09): I love how the characters on the front cover look nothing like in the film, LOL. Thanks to Lurker of Cinehound forum for the French scan.


  1. Yeah, this one is really fun. I have to wonder who put this English version together. It's not just the music that's awful, but the dubbing itself is hilariously bad. It sounds like only two actors, one male and one female, doing all the voices and not even trying to act. Just reading their lines off the script and hoping to get it all over with so they can go home, smoke a joint, have a TV dinner and go to bed. No emotion whatsoever!
    There's gotta be a story behind this. It's interesting enough that someone thought to release a Turkish adventure film at all.
    Great review by the way, very funny.

  2. Thanks, Jared. And yes I agree it's rather obscure that this film was released in the "Anglo Saxon" world at all. I mean "we" (or at least our ancestors) are being portrayed as brutal savages who tried to suppress the inhabitants of (what later became) Turkey. One thing I did wonder is if it's more clear who the crusaders are in the original Turkish dialogue? In the dubbed version the only way you can tell they are crusaders is not in the dialogue but by looking at their clothes; those crosses are rather big!

  3. There is a real irony to Lion Man as in the UK during the Video boom of the early Eighties it was one of those titles that was readily available but looked so cheap & tacky from the people that released it that no one bothered to either rent it or buy it. Subsequently I would imagine that pretty much the entire stock was thrown on the scrap heap or thrown into a bin & burnt. Now of course since Chutney Arkin (I like to call him chutney) has a cult following the movie is super rare & highly collectable.
    There is a Lion Man II as well, and apparently at the end of that movie there is promise of a third, which seemingly never got made.

  4. So they were all chucked out! :-O
    Terrible, just terrible!
    Anyway, thanks for the info, Paul.

    About the sequel; I'll qoute one of Ayman's posts from Cinehound where he explained the link between the two film (or rather lack of link):

    Ayman Kole:
    "This answer requires a bit of history - KILIC ARSLAN was a real warrior, in fact he was the king of the Seljuk empire (that is, the Turkish empire before the Ottomans were established).

    When a crusade was launched he fought wave after wave of crusaders and won. There was also KILIC ARSLAN II (1115-1192) and KILIC ARSLAN III ( ? -1205).

    Out of the three Kilic Arslan's I believe the one nearest to the LION MAN film was KILIC ARSLAN III. He was the son of Suleyman Shah (as in the film!). However, history ends there, as there is nothing to indicate that his hands were burnt with acid by his enemies, and so he fought with lion claws!

    The first LION MAN was produced by UGUR FILM. The second was produced by Eris Akman's production company and has nothing to do with the first, production-wise. Unless you count a minor side-kick or two that were brought back for this somewhat unofficial sequel.

    By the way, the unofficial sequel was released in Turkey under the title ASLAN ADAM (maybe because of legal matters?). This has led to many misunderstandings, and some assume that this is Cuneyt Arkin's title. No, the Arkin title is KILIC ASLAN :-) "