The Turkish film industry has a curious tradition of appropriating Hollywood classics and remaking them on a budget roughly equivalent to the price of lunch at a neighborhood kebab shop. Devoted readers of Film Threat will recall “The Turkish Wizard of Oz,” which tossed the MGM classic over an Istanbul rainbow and into a realm of utter surrealism, and there are also Turkish-based versions of “Star Trek,” “Tarzan,” “Superman” and even “E.T.” lurking about.
However, none of this knowledge could possibly prepare you for the jaw-dropping insanity of “The Turkish Star Wars.” This film is not actually a scene-for-scene remake of the George Lucas landmark, although it shamelessly pirated the special effects footage from the 1977 original and tacked it into a feverish nightmare of celluloid dementia which needs to be seen if only to prove how far the minds of lunatic filmmakers can run. Prepare yourself, because the only way to appreciate “The Turkish Star Wars” is to follow the storyline through its labyrinthine lunacy.
Long ago in a Turkish-speaking galaxy far, far away, the universe is being imperiled by a quartet of evildoers: two bush-haired men wearing Mardi Gras costumes, a slutty babe dressed as Cleopatra, and a blue robot with an ambulance light on his head. (I am not making this up…I could not possibly make this up!) Their fleet of spaceships go to war against the flying saucers of a heroic group of rebels, and for several minutes the screen is filled with F/X footage from a battered print of “Star Wars.” There’s no Luke Skywalker here, but instead we have two middle-aged space jockeys (Cuneyt Arkin and Ayetkin Akkaya) who are leading the rebel attack. Unfortunately, there was no budget for a spaceship set here, so the heroes are photographed in very tight close-ups while footage from “Star Wars” plays on a rear projection behind them.
A dastardly laser beam smashes the space jockeys’ ship and they plummet through the heavens to a barren planet. Or at least that’s what assumed…there was also no money to depict this, so director Cetin Inanc rushes things along by having his heroes emerge completely unscathed from a sand dune and talk about their crash. They are stranded in a rough terrain, although a glimpse on a far horizon reveals grainy stock footage of the Sphinx and the pyramids. But rather than try to see if there’s an Omar Sharif retrospective playing at the Cairo Film Forum, the heroes trek in the opposite direction.
Suddenly, a half-dozen knights in flowing red capes come charging on horseback. Our heroes launch into Jackie Chan-style martial arts maneuvers and the knights come tumbling down (even though the various karate chops land a good 10 inches away making actual facial contact). The soundtrack inexplicably blasts with the music from “Raiders of the Lost Ark” as the dynamic duo ride off into a low-rent version of “Sparactus,” where skinny gladiators hack away at skinny slaves (it seems no one on this muscle-free planet ever heard of creatine). After disposing of the gladiators with their karate chopping, the heroes are greeted by a foxy bleached-blonde babe who is wearing a leather headband and enough red lipstick that she could paint a house by kissing it. They retreat into a cave populated by unwashed little boys wearing nightgowns.
As luck would have it, the cave dwellers are suddenly attacked by a tribe of mummies who come crashing through the stone walls with the same finesse as the giant Kool-Aid pitcher who ran amok in the old TV commercials. The mummies begin slashing the little boys to death with their talon-sharp fingernails, and the chaos intensifies as a troop of furry creatures who resemble the Beatles in their “I Am the Walrus” costumes from “Magical Mystery Tour” suddenly show up to kill more children.
The space jockeys, the foxy faux-blonde, and one little boy escape to the mountains and the heroic he-man decide to begin training for another battle. An endless sequence follows with the guys karate chopping cardboard boulders, doing ærobics, and running long distances with paper rocks strapped to their legs. The guys accomplish these Olympian feats while shirtless, displaying physiques which would be adequate if they were certified public accountants but which seem fairly underdeveloped for movie superheroes. One of the guys bloodies his hand during the training and the lippy blonde washes his wounds with seaweed…although just where she obtained seaweed in the mountains is not explained.
Remembering that they are starring in “The Turkish Star Wars,” the heroes then find a bar which is supposed to recall the zany bar in the 1977 classic. The bar patrons here include a few skinny gladiators, men wearing rubber masks, and a few of the “Magical Mystery Tour” knock-offs. The space jockeys take a table and begin drinking from cups which are strangely empty of any liquid. A fight breaks out and the space jockeys beat everyone to a pulp.
However, this is all a trap as the evil quartet seeking to take over the world (remember them?) capture everybody and take them to their headquarters. Despite threats of physical violence and the promise of hootchy-kootchy with the Cleopatra-wannabe member of the quartet, our heroes refuse to join the forces of darkness.
Needless to say, yet another fight breaks out and several furry creatures have their arms and legs severed by some well-placed karate chops. Then an eight-foot-tall yeti appears, but the heroes stomp on him until he is out cold. The Cleopatra look-alike complains to one of the Mardi Gras kings, who turns her into a zombie and then into a spider.
During this chaos, one of the space jockeys is abducted and is imprisoned by being tied to a concrete slab with a telephone cord stuffed in his mouth. The other hero is sent by a holy man to take the foxy faux-blonde on a journey to an ancient church, where they are to locate a cardboard sword shaped like a lightning bolt and a box containing a green brain. These treasures are guarded by men wearing tin foil suits. A few karate chops later, the sword and brain are secured and the hero somehow locates his abducted pal and frees him from being tied to a concrete slab. But his freedom is short-lived, as he is soon killed in a booby-trapped doorway. The surviving hero melts the sword into liquid and dips his hands into the mix, coming up with new golden gloves. The green brain decomposes into a maggots’ buffet.
Now it’s time for a showdown between our golden gloved good guy and the entire cast of miscreants. A huge rumble takes place in an open field, with the villains getting their heads decapitated left and right. While this is going on , footage from the outer space battles in “Star Wars” is repeated, along with scenes from a film about the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. After much derring-do and chopping, the bad guys are vanquished and everyone lives happily ever after. The man with the golden gloves goes back into outer space, leaving his chemically-enhanced blonde lady friend behind to clean up all of the severed heads.
What can anyone say? “The Turkish Star Wars” makes film criticism moot. From the early days of the flickering shadow scenes in the Lumiere Brothers’s shorts through today’s digital cinema, there has never been a film quite like this. Help us, Obi Wan Kenobi…help us!
For more information on how to obtain a copy, email Shocking Videos.