Awfully Good: Super Fuzz
Super Fuzz (1981)
Director: Sergio Corbucci
Stars: Terence Hill, Ernest Borgnine, Joanne Dru
Is there a plot?
Rookie cop Dave Speed accidentally gets exposed to nuclear radiation, and instead of hulking out, gets a host of zany powers that turns him in to…Super Fuzz!
What's the damage?
If goofiness was a super power, SUPER FUZZ would be the biggest superhero in cinematic history. Also known by its even worse alternate title SUPER SNOOPER, FUZZ feels like a slightly bigger version of those really bad 70s and 80s superhero adaptations like "The Amazing Spider-Man" or "Greatest American Hero." An Italian production with an English speaking cast, it truly feels like the result of two groups of people who couldn't understand each other at all.
Through state of the art CGI, Warner Bros. was finally able to make the sequel to THE SEARCHERS they always dreamed of.
There are plenty of bad superhero origin stories out there in the comic universe, but SUPER FUZZ might have them beat. One day our hero cop Dave Speed unknowingly responds to a call… in the middle of a nuclear test site. It's also a nuclear test site he can only reach via canoe and when he returns to his boat to leave, he finds a crocodile in it. Naturally the officer fires his gun in the air to scare away the reptile, but unfortunately his bullet strikes a nuclear missile flying overhead, causing it to explode in the atmosphere and rain down radiation upon him. Now, it doesn't help that lead actor Terence Hill is one of the more generic leading we've encountered, or that his disbelieving partner is played with overzealous gusto by Ernest Borgnine. And it really doesn't do the story any favors that the main bad guy is smuggling counterfeit money…inside fish. (Even better…he's counterfeiting one-dollar bills!)
Though it sounded silly to some, Dave's powers of Ass Helium came in handy more often than you think.
So exactly which magical abilities does this radiation give our hero? Why don't you ask the writers, who clearly made up his powers as they went along, adding in new ones whenever it's convenient to the story. There are the basic expected ones like telepathy, telekinesis, flying, invulnerability and Jedi mind control, but there's also a host of ridiculously specific powers that will leave you baffled. Stuff like the ability to predict elephant location, walk on water, talk to fish, use bubble gum to make a giant hot air balloon and using his thumb and forefinger to make a telephone with his hand that can actually call people.
When Dave Speed tells you to kiss his ass, he means it!
Even when the movie is making sense, SUPER FUZZ is just so goofy and silly, chock full of slapstick and cheese that it plays like a live action cartoon. (It even has its own repetitive theme song!) Gags like the hero making crooks beat each other up under the guise of testing their reflexes recalls the Three Stooges. And the films final shot, where Speed catches his falling boss, only to have the force of gravity blow them both through the Earth all the way to China is something straight out of Looney Tunes. That kind of insanity, coupled with the film's unbelievably low budget, makes for something truly special. My favorite cheap moment? All the underwater ocean shots are so clearly filmed in a pool that you can see the painted sides and lights if you look closely enough. They even add a few fish to make it really seem like an authentic trip under the sea—except they use tiny everyday goldfish, presumably because that's all they can afford.
Every day they made fun of Giuseppe for wearing his Pasta Force Field Hat 9000. But not today, dammit. Not today.
Ernest Borgnine uses his deductive reasoning skills to help solve a crime.
1) Our hero confidently proves he has super powers once and for all!
2) This fight just gets sillier and sillier as it goes on.
3) Super Fuzz foils a robbery with his gun…but not in the way you think!
I'm just gonna leave this screenshot featuring Ernest Borgnine right here.
Play Along at Home!
Take a shot or drink every time:
- You hear the "Super Fuzz" theme song
- Dave loses his powers or gets hurt accidentally
- There's a music or dance sequence
- You're reminded of the Three Stooges
Double shot if:
- A creepy kid watches people make out
Thanks to Carson for suggesting this week's movie!
Seen a movie that should be featured on this column? Shoot Jason an email and give him an excuse to drink.