Invasion of the Neptune Men

November 22, 2016 at 1:42 am (6 Heads, Invasion of the Neptune Men) (, , , , , )

Invasion of the Neptune Men – 1961 – Japan

Aliens from Neptune invade Earth. With their advanced technology, they control the weather, impersonate humans, disintegrate people, demolish buildings, and make clocks run backward. To defend the world, Japanese scientists build an energy barrier and special missiles. With help from an alien superhero named Space Chief, they repel the Neptune Men.

Invasion of the Neptune Men is similar in style to other Japanese sci-fi superhero films of the era (i.e. Prince of Space and Evil Brain from Outer Space). Space Chief wears a cape, helmet, and sunglasses, and flies around in a hotrod-like rocket car. There are fistfights, shootouts, and spaceship dogfights, although Space Chief barely appears in the film. The real heroes are the scientists and their high-tech weaponry.

Unlike most films in its genre, Invasion of the Neptune Men is occasionally somber in its depiction of an apocalyptic threat to mankind. Atom bomb footage is shown when a nuclear power plant explodes. The Neptune Men disintegrate people, leaving scorched outlines of their bodies. This is a reference to the silhouettes of vaporized people left after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. For a film mostly targeted toward children, Invasion of the Neptune Men has a surprisingly high body count.

Invasion of the Neptune Men features some good special effects. The exploding buildings look very realistic and the spaceship dogfights are occasionally dynamic. In my (highly informed) opinion, Japanese sci-fi and fantasy films have the coolest costumes and props. Invasion of the Neptune Men is no exception. Space Chief is memorably outrageous in his futuristic jumpsuit. The Neptune Men have giant bullet-shaped helmets similar to Robby the Robot’s in Forbidden Planet (1956).

Rating: 6/10 Shrunken Heads. Space Chief is played by Sonny Chiba, the future star of many martial arts films. In this film, his only martial arts sequence is really lame.

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