THE GOLDEN BAT (1966) – Ogon Batto is the name of this film in its native Japan. The movie was based on the title character, Japan’s very first comic book superhero who debuted in 1930. That 1930 date puts him years before Superman and Batman in the west!
At any rate for the 1966 movie Japan’s perennial action star Sonny Chiba played the leader of a group of science-oriented commandos in what looked like aluminum foil suits. Chiba and his gang have fancy aircraft like England’s Thunderbirds and their debut mission finds them trying to save the Earth from collision with a rogue planet called Icarus.
Chiba’s outfit has constructed a giant laser cannon to destroy Icarus before it can reach our planet. Trouble is it needs a final component to be found only on a lost island. When Sonny Chiba’s Mighty Aluminum Foil Power Rangers explore the ancient city on that island they uncover the tomb of … the Golden Bat!
Ogon Batto/Golden Bat is one weirdass superhero. He rises from his coffin like a vampire and looks like a monstrous hybrid of Lon Chaney in The Phantom of the Opera and Jerry Lewis in The Nutty Professor. He’s apparently all good-guy though and he helps Chiba’s team battle an evil alien named Nazu and his gang of interstellar criminals.
Nazu wants to let the Earth and Icarus collide because, well, he’s simply that evil. His fellow E.T.’s include a four-eyed claw man, a wolf-man and a hot looking woman. The aliens can shoot energy beams just like the ones that the Golden Bat shoots from his cane, setting up some deliriously weird-looking fight scenes.
Throw in evil super-ninjas, a flock of big-ass bats and the maniacal laugh of our hero and just let it all soak in. The Golden Bat’s adventures make Ultra-Man’s look down to Earth and inspired a 1967 Japanese television series plus a sequel movie in 1972.
If you enjoy laughing at Japanese superheroes like Starman and Prince of Space then you will definitely get a huge kick out of this neglected little honey.
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