The Invincible Space Streaker ★★★½

INVINCIBLE SPACE STREAKER is Taiwan's incoherent and go for broke response to the Shaw Brothers' SUPER INFRAMAN (1975) and other popular tokusatsu (masked superhero) genre fare. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the titular hero is neither invincible, from outer space, nor a streaker (something appears lost in translation here). Also, the only version I could locate of this film was the world's worst cropped 4:3 transfer, boasting white subtitles, and a blown-out image that made the subtitles completely illegible for approximately half of the film's run-time. Not much in the way of artful cinema happening here, except all the outlandish things happening onscreen - otherwise, this movie would be relatively forgettable. All those barriers to entry considered, INVINCIBLE SPACE STREAKER is one hell of a wonderfully weird, creepy film.

A mad scientist lurks behind a bush at the old swimmin' hole, peeping on a bunch of young boys. That's how this movie begins! He lures a bunch of the young boys to his lab with the promise to turn them into "supermen." Instead, he turns them into animals. First, a monkey. Then, a wild boar. The kids start to become scared, so one (Hsiao Wen) urinates on the mad scientist's control panel, preventing him from going through with his evil experiments. This interrupts the transformation process and Hsiao Wen's friend Hsiao Po is left half-human, half-monster with only a single antennae on her scalp to indicate the monster transformation. The two escape from the lab in order to seek the help and wisdom of the mad scientist's good brother, whose name is Dr. Pau.

The good scientist successfully converts Hsiao Po into a "superman," presumably the Invincible Space Streaker of the title, but Po doesn't really have any powers. He mostly rides around on a bladed dirt bike chasing generic henchmen, but can also gesture with his fist to cause an explosion (okay, I guess that's technically a power, but a lame one). Moreover, Pau must repair Po after every battle, constantly upgrading him with new, mysterious mechanisms that nobody in the film mentions until they are necessary to continue the plot. It more or less continues like this until the end of the film, only the visuals are too chaotic and difficult to properly explain in any real detail.

My favorite moment, bar none: at one point, a bipedal (were?)wolf henchman shows up out of nowhere, growls at the Invincible Space Streaker, but then only two seconds later is kicked into a mountain and explodes upon impact.