FAM Double Feature: Invasion Of The Neptune Men

While it must be said that all actors start somewhere it must also be said that some start lower than others. Sonny Chiba, before starring in the martial arts films that would bring him international success, was no different taking roles in scores of what can only be described as truly terrible films. This is not to say that his output since then has been of stellar quality and one could say that he never quite graduated from the B-movies of his youth but then one might risk Sonny Chiba punching one in the face so hard that one’s eyeballs exit explosively from one’s colon.

Today, the FAM takes a look at one of those early films, Invasion of the Neptune Men from 1961; a title that simply screams B-movie. The then 22-year-old Chiba plays one Shinichi Tachibana, a mild-mannered astronomer, who in actuality is the superhero Iron-Sharp, or Space Chief as he is called in the English dub. When mysterious metal aliens arrive to invade Earth, it’s up to Iron-Sharp/Space Chief to stop them.

It’s standard, ’60s era sci-fi/superhero fare with the distinct advantage as being a pretty awful example of the genre. With a kitsch factor this high it was no surprise that it was featured on the cult television series Mystery Science Theater 3000 in 1997. Indeed the movie was so bad that it almost succeeded in fulfilling the plans of Dr. Clayton Forrester to drive Mike Nelson, Tom Servo, and Crow insane. They are only saved by a surprise visit from characters from the 1958 Japanese television series Planet Prince. The movie received fairly harsh treatment from the three, including one off-color moment in which they refer to Chiba’s character as “Space Dink”. The MST3K version also omits footage of the destruction of Tokyo which was actual World War II bombing footage — the writers’s feelings being that it had no place in a kids’s movie.

Regardless of such questions of taste, Invasion of the Neptune Men remains a prime example of ’60s era, Japanese cinema awfulness; a must watch for anyone looking to expand their knowledge beyond the likes of Godzilla.

One Response to “FAM Double Feature: Invasion Of The Neptune Men”

  1. Tequila Says:

    Ah Sonny, even in this C-Grade debut he’s still awesome :P

    True he never starred in a Kurosawa epic or got the kind of roles that would cement him in the annals of Toshirō Mifune kinda fame…


    He IS The Street Fighter and that’s way better than most stuff even heavily acclaimed actors ever accomplish.