R.I.P. The Star Of The Greatest ‘Star Wars’ Rip-Off Ever: Cüneyt Arkın
Sadly, we learned this week that legendary Turkish actor Cüneyt Arkın passed away at the age of 85; a former doctor, he appeared in a whopping 250 film and TV productions during his career – including 1984’s Death Warrior, which featured this gloriously delirious final fight.
Which might seem somewhat strange, if not for the fact that this is the same movie (co-directed by Arkin) which earlier featured a dream (?) sequence in which a woman turns into an iguana and attacks our hero.
But Western audiences likely know Cüneyt Arkın best as the star of The Man Who Saved The World from 1982, also known as “Turkish Star Wars” for … obvious reasons. While the plot revolves around two space-pilots crash-landing on a strange planet ruled by an evil wizard, the film liberally borrows visual effects footage from George Lucas’ Star Wars, plus music tracks from Battlestar Galactica, Flash Gordon and Raiders of the Lost Ark. Add-in costumes and sets that feel like they’re the product of a community theater's experiments with LSD, and you have something truly unique.
It also features what is arguably the greatest training montage in cinematic history – suck it, Rocky II.
Directed by Çetin Inanç, the “Roger Corman of Turkey,” The Man Who Saved The World was created following “a military coup d’état in Turkey” which “led to the Turkish film board clamping down on Western blockbusters entering the country.” Subsequently, it’s become a cult movie staple, and was recently painstakingly restored after film historian Ed Glaser discovered the “last remaining 35mm print.” It’s worth watching for the ending alone; a martial arts battle between our heroes and a gang of monsters – which is 1000% how The Rise of Skywalker should have wrapped things up.
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Thumbnail: Anıt Ticaret