Whenever a movie franchise breaks new ground in Hollywood, or looks like the next big fad, rival studios rush to make sure they have at least one similar property on the way. But overseas, where copyright laws, and blatantly ripping off entire movies are a grey area, a carbon copy can still be successful. And sometimes, a rip-off can reach heights – or depths – that the original could never have imagined.
Here is our list of 10 Foreign Rip-Offs of Hollywood Movies.
Turkish Captain America
Sometimes, a movie looking to profit off of popular superheroes doesn’t care about story as much as it does the costumes. In the 1973 Turkish movie 3 Giant Men, Captain America joins forces with the famous Mexican hero Santo – and brings his girlfriend – to take down the evil Spider-Man taking over organized crime in the country’s capitol. Next to nothing from the comics is adapted to the movie, with Cap murdering a version of the Spider-Man who can’t really be killed. Marvel obviously wasn’t happy with the film's use of their heroes (in such a nonsensical plot), but it released across Turkey anyway.
Brazilian Star Wars
There’s no movie series bigger than Star Wars, and success means plenty of big screen parodies and spoofs. Spaceballs put a funny twist on the series in the States, but Brazil came up with its own. The Tramps in the War of Planets put a trio of Brazilian stooges into a galaxy far, far away, complete with a golden Darth Vader and Chewbacca, too. Unfortunately, there’s a reason most parodies of Star Wars fall flat, no matter where they’re made (thus proving that the brilliant Spaceballs is the exception which proves the rule).
The name of this Indonesian knockoff – Lady Terminator – says it all, but the Terminator rip-off made just years after the original sticks closer to its plot than most dare. Replace a futuristic robot with a woman possessed by an angry sea goddess who uses sex to kill her victims, and you’ve got a clear picture of why Lady Terminator is a shameless carbon copy... that's still pretty fun to watch. The filmmakers clearly loved James Cameron’s original Terminator, recreating entire scenes and action sequences, so it’s hard to judge this rip-off too harshly. Especially when the movie is so violent, it makes Cameron's horror/action movie seem like a family-friendly adventure.
Hong Kong Street Fighter
The Jean-Claude Van Damme led Street Fighter movie isn’t exactly a successful adaptation, but it can't even claim to be the first to hit theaters - an unofficial Chinese version beat them by a full year. "Unofficial" means that characters like Ken, Chun-Li and E. Honda were replaced with knockoffs Kent, Chun May and Toyota. If that doesn’t make it clear that Future Cops was more of a comedy than an accomplished martial arts action movie, its story should: the hero cops travel back in time from the year 2043 to the distant past of 1993, all to keep the movie’s villain from killing a single government official. To be fair, the official movie didn’t exactly put this one to shame.
Marvel’s resident web-slinger is one of the most recognizable superheroes the world around, but that’s probably not due to this Japanese rip-off. Ditching the Peter Parker story completely, the Supaidaman series re-cast Spider-Man as a motorcycle racer who stumbles onto a crashed spaceship, and is injected with blood by the last survivor of the Planet Spider. If that didn't stray close enough to the origins of Green Lantern, the fact that the superhero uses a magic bracelet to shoot webs should do the trick.
But that's not his only power: Supaidaman can even command his own battle robot, the Leopardon. It’s a silly idea, but when the series ended, the production company used the giant robot idea in the Super Sentai franchise – the TV show that would eventually be adapted into the Power Rangers.
You’d have to be crazy to make a Batman movie without actually reading a Batman comic, right? For the Turkish rip-off, the Adam West TV show was apparently the only basis, following two men dressed as Batman and Robin – barely – who punch, kick, and occasionally shoot criminals dead. Those are about the only similarities between the two properties, which forces fans to ask what really defines a faithful adaptation of the caped crusader.
It should be pointed out that the Turkish Dark Knight only dispatches criminals when he isn't busy frequenting strip clubs or randomly bedding women. Even so, if you asked comic book fans, some might argue that Turkey didn't produce the very worst WORST Batman movie to date...
The 1988 movie Dariya Dil isn’t too out of place in Bollywood love stories, and stories of family drama – apart from one stunning musical number. As the movie’s hero tries to woo a young woman, the two are inexplicably shown in costume as Superman and Spider-Man, recreating the flight from Richard Donner’s first Superman movie. No explanation for the change is offered, meaning the superhero costumes and scene make no actual sense in the larger story. But when the clip finally made its way online, the sequence – and the movie – found a larger audience than the filmmakers could have ever dreamed.
Turkish Star Trek
If you haven’t noticed already, the laws against copyright infringement are pretty loose in Turkey, which meant that in 1973, popular comedy character 'Omer the Tourist' made a trip into the realm of Spock, Kirk, and the rest of the USS Enterprise crew. The movie recreates an episode from the original Star Trek series called “The Man Trap,” but with a lost Omer replacing the episode’s salt-hungry alien menace. It’s a strange choice for a big screen parody, but the movie managed to beat Star Trek: The Motion Picture to movie theaters by six years.
If a killer great white shark can take the American box office by storm, why not release a movie with the same plot, but an even bigger shark, and even more victims? That was the thinking behind Great White: The Last Shark, an Italian movie released six years after Steven Spielberg’s Jaws. But the rip-off actually hit American theaters, grossing $18 million before Universal had it banned for being a blatant copy of the blockbuster shark tale. You can’t call the Italian filmmakers cowardly, though – in some regions, they actually advertised the imitation Jaws as a legitimate sequel in the same series.
Indian Nightmare on Elm Street
In the world of ‘80s slasher movies, A Nightmare on Elm Street managed to stand out by setting its grisly murders in the dreams of teenagers, an added twist that made Freddy Krueger an immortal horror icon. The Indian rip-off, The Monster, lifted the entire plot – and the killer’s bladed glove – but with an even better twist. Since the movie was made in the Bollywood image, its version of Freddy Krueger got to take part in a handful of musical numbers along with twisted nightmares. So in this case, we’ll leave fans to decide if the rip-off was actually an improvement over the original.
So what do you think of our list? Did we miss any of your favorite foreign language rip-offs, spoofs, or parodies? Let us know in our comment section and don't forget to subscribe to our channel for more videos like this one.