Today’s Random Tokusatsu: ESPY (1974)

Today’s selection: ESPY (1974, dir. Jun Fukuda)

Subgenre: Esper

Available from: Paramount (dubbed, censored VHS. Fansubs also available.)

Today I refer you not to the annual ESPN award show, but the “spy” movie with “ESP” (get it?). It’s like James Bond with telekinesis, Golgo 13 with telepathy, The Tomorrow People with government backing. It works into the major spy movie and ESP trends that Japanese cinema had going at the time for a groovy mix, along with requisite early 1970’s nudity n’ violence (even Godzilla vs. Megalon had it!). The story, as one may easily surmise, is about a potential ESPer being drafted into a secret agency to join a team of similarly super-powered people (think Cyborg 009) to go after a psychic terrorist bent on worldwide destruction. It has globetrotting, shootouts, car chases, and colorful henchmen that one would hope for in a Bond-inspired flick (minus the pointless puns), and a wide variety of ESP skills: psychokinesis, clairvoyance, hypnosis, teleportation, all rendered by Teruyoshi Nakano’s special effects. It’s one of Fukuda’s funkiest, most entertaining movies, so it’s a shame that it’s not legitimately available on DVD in English yet.

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