The Pumaman (1980)

THE PUMAMAN (1980)
aka L’uomo puma
Article 3967 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 6-30-2012
Directed by Alberto De Martino
Featuring Walter George Alton, Donald Pleasence, Miguel Angel Fuentes
Country: Italy
What it is: Stupor-inducing super-hero

An ancient mask of extraterrestrial origin falls in the hands of a villain who uses it to control men’s minds. Only Pumaman can defeat him… but the current incarnation of this hero is unaware of his powers. Can he learn the truth and fulfill his destiny?

This movie must surely be one of the biggest non-events in the history of superhero cinema. Heaven knows why he’s called Pumaman; most pumas I know don’t have the ability to fly or walk through walls. I don’t know which aspect is worst; the story is lame, the direction is turgid, the soundtrack is only rousing if you get excited about changing which floor you’re on in a skyscraper, the special effects are crummy (you will believe a man can flail before a blue-screen), and the hero has all the charisma of cardboard box. Even Donald Pleasence seems lost here, but then, he’s usually at his best when the script gives him something to play with, which is not the case here. At least Miguel Angel Fuentes has a bit of screen presence, but that’s about the best thing I can say about this one. At best, this one might be good for a laugh, but it’s more likely to induce sleep. About the only thing that held my attention was my speculation on the correct pronunciation of “puma”.

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