Thursday, January 13, 2011

Last Warrior / Son Savasci (Turkey, 1982)

I've just finished watching the legendary Turkish action/ninja movie LAST WARRIOR (aka Son Savasci) starring the main pride of Turkish cinema, Cüneyt Arkin. The film was directed by another legend in Turkish cult cinema Cetin Inanc. I'm not gonna bore you with a list of his films, if you're into world-weird cinema you already know and treasure them, but the one title Inanc sure is gonna be remembered for is TURKISH STAR WARS (aka The Man Who Saves the World/Dünyayi Kurtaran Adam) which also stars Arkin and sexy Füsun Ucar who plays his love interest in both films (she's also in the follow up DEATH WARRIOR/Ölüm Savascisi).

This time Arkin is a Turkish cop with a past; He was in the Korean war (which ended in 1953 and LAST WARRIOR is set in the early 80s!!!) where he learnt the skills of a ninja. When the movie begins Arkin gets a phone call from his police chief asking him to go to Germany to help the German polizei who are having trouble with people being bumped off by... a ninja!! (I wonder how Danish or Aussie police would handle such a case?) and Arkin would obviously be the right man to fight the ninja as he knows "the way of the ninja" so to speak. xD

When Arkin gets the call he's on holiday with sexy (very sexy) Füsun Ucar but even tho she looks at him with those sexy (very sexy) Turkish eyes he's adamant, "A cop never be owner of ownself" as he puts it in the crappy subtitles. Once he's arrived over in Deutschland he experiences the carnage left behind by the brutal ninja and with the local police he sets out to put an end to this masterless criminal's reign of terror.

LAST WARRIOR is totally entertaining! There's not ONE dull moment in the entire film and you really don't want to blink because you'll just miss something. I referred to TURKISH STAR WARS earlier in this review and once again Cetin Inanc saves money by stealing left and right from an American film! This time obviously not from the original STAR WARS but from some film with lots of car chases in it! You'll see Cüneyt Arkin throw himself from side to side, frantically turn the steering wheel, and work that gear rod like there's no tomorrow - and then the camera angle jumps to an outside view of the car - or rather how the car looks in the American film, haha. I have no idea which films the scenes are from but, regardless, it adds to the awesomeness of the film that's for sure! :D

EDIT: The stolen scenes are from Paul Bartel's CANNONBALL (1976)!! Thanks to Jayson of "Basement of Ghoulish Decadence" blog for this info.

The DVD I got is from my friends at Ciko in Turkey; They actually asked Cetin Inanc if it were all right to release his films on DVD-R and they got his okay. However, that doesn't change the fact that this has the look and feel of a bootleg; The print is sourced from an old VHS and there's no cover or disc art (apart from the handwritten title, LOL). But in contradiction to earlier bootleg releases this DVD-R is actually subtitled in English (or something that resembles English anyway) and big kudos to Ciko for this! The quality of the print used for the original VHS is alright, I have certainly seen VHS prints that were far worse. There's also a trailer but in contradiction to the film print the trailer looks like it was downloaded from YouTube, in other words it's pretty crappy (and for some reason not subtitled!) but it's cool it's included.

I must admit I've seen enough Turkish and HK Chinese films that weren't English friendly to last me a lifetime and I'm happy to just get ANY kind of English subs. However, having said that, I should point out the subs are not very good TO SAY THE LEAST. They'll give you a fairly good impression of what's being said but to tell you the truth the subs kinda blow in a major way! And trust me, this isn't a question of me making a note of the few times there's a slight spelling error or some bad grammar; This is a question of making a note every time there's a correct sentence!!

Some of my film friends, especially in the US, have commented that the subs are alright but I disagree on this and I think it's partly due to a cultural difference; In the English speaking world films were rarely subtitled in the old days and so native English speakers weren't used to subtitles. But what they were used to was foreigners who spoke broken English. So somehow they just see subtitles in broken English as an extension of this.

In northern Europe on the other hand, all foreign movies have always been subtitled into the local lingo. And the way I see it, the characters in these Turkish films speak perfect Turkish so why would it be okay to have them translated into broken English? They don't speak broken Turkish so OBVIOUSLY the English subs ought to be correct too.

Anyway, forget about the less than perfect subs and get hold of LAST WARRIOR anyway! The DVD is available from Ciko's eBay store "Turkish Cult". Just trust me on this one! Hands down, it is a totally enjoyable piece of trashy Turko celluloid and the film shits all over 99% of EVERYTHING ever made in Denmark!!! Inanc made a sequel two years later, DEATH WARRIOR (aka Ölüm Savascisi), which also stars Cuneyt Arkin and Füsun Ucar.

For Ciko's Turkish Cult shop on eBay go here.

In regards to the English subtitles: in all fairness I should point out this DVD-R is one of their earlier releases and (reportedly) they put more effort into their translations now as the subs are being checked by a native English speaker.

And finally a girl... and a sniper... and a car... of which none of them knew they were one day going to take part in a Turkish film, LOL:

Cüneyt Arkan and true friendship

Cüneyt Arkan and the women