April 10th, 2014

THE PUMAMAN (1980) *

A meek paleontologist (Walter George Alton) learns he is the descendent of a God with magic powers by a hulking Aztec (Miguel Angel Fuentes). He gives him a belt that turns him into a fruity-looking superhero named The Pumaman. Donald Pleasence is trying to take over the world using hypnotism and a shiny gold mask. He knows the Pumaman is the only one who can stop him, so he sets a trap for him.

The Pumaman plays like a fourth-rate Italian rip-off of The Greatest American Hero. The flying effects are pretty terrible and the Pumaman’s powers are inconsistent. Director Alberto (Operation Double 007) De Martino at the very least keeps things moving, but my God, the whole thing is just so goofy (and not in a good way), that you never once buy any of it. And the inane score is enough to drive anyone mad.

The performances don’t help. As the Pumaman, Alton makes for a boring hero and looks like he’s getting a headache whenever he’s “sensing danger”. Donald Pleasence looks disinterested the whole movie (almost as if he’s deciding what to buy with his paycheck) and the bubble-headed bimbo Sydne Rome is about as bad as a leading lady as you could imagine. At least Fuentes is memorable as the Pumaman’s sidekick.

The Pumaman of course, gained some amount of status with bad movie fans when it appeared on Mystery Science Theater 3000. The recent DVD includes the complete, uncut version of the flick. Why anyone would want to watch it without Mike and the bots riffing on it is beyond me.

AKA: The Puma Man.