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|Index||45 reviews in total|
I've seen this film a number of times growing up. Most recently in '94. I can't wait to see it again! I loved it. Loved it all. The bad guy was scary when I was young but was down right hip when I saw it when I was older. The characters were pretty much weak and the story was weak but when "Kong" gets mad and starts kicking butt; I just enjoy the ride. I don't recommend this as a "feel good" movie. Nor is it a "cinema experience" of note. It is entertaining and fun if you're a "Kong" fan like me. The props and costumes are old school and cheap! Brings back all sorts of fun memories. The soundtrack was also cool too. Excellent inspiration for aspiring Avant-Garde types. I loved this film!
There is nothing about this movie that can be taken seriously but
unlike the ugly mess "King Kong Lives" this movie is bright, colorful
fun that adults will enjoy as a comedy while the kids will get a blast
out of the crazy mayhem.
Just thinking about the plot makes me laugh and watching it is never dull, it has such a no holds barred silliness about it and the new DVD release is stunning. I had no idea just how impressive the look of the film was.
The complaints about the film are rather misguided in many ways and there is some serious confusion about it. The female lead Linda Miller was dubbed by another actress, so the complaints about her performance are a bit moot (though the combination of nutty dialog and weird delivery actually help the film for most since it is so funny).
Also this is not a sequel to King Kong Vs Godzilla, Kong in this film is a myth found to be real (and utilized to dig out a cavern for bizarre reasons that just get funnier the more you think about it).
As a last note for anyone interested in King Kong in any of his incarnations seek out Ray Mortons book "King Kong The History of a Movie Icon" released recently. He actually set aside a chapter of the book detailing this film.
This is the second film to feature the "Toho Kong". This film features plenty of action and is pretty much a copy of the original Kong (especially the scene where Kong and his Mecha double climb Tokyo Tower a la the Empire State Building). The big difference is that the girl isn't scared of Kong like Fay Wray was (note, there is no evidence that proves that this Linda Miller is Jackie Gleason's daughter. By all accounts she was a teen-aged model living in Japan at the time who was cast in this film.). Despite the fact that the film lifts several elements from the original, it stands on its own as a pure escapist fun.
Kaiju fans like me always know well enough to check our desire for (a)
believable dialogue and (b) completely realistic special effects at the door
when we settle ourselves down to watch what Japan has specialized in for
five decades now. As quality filmmaking, King Kong Escapes is of course
laughably bad, especially to those who deify the 1933 original. But in the
context of Japanese giant monster kaiju, King Kong Escapes is one of the
better entries to be found, coming in the 1960s when the focus was less
tounge in cheek, more action-oriented, and free of the kiddie thrust that
REALLY made Japanese monster movies annoyingly bad in the 1970s (Gamera
sequels and Godzilla vs. Gigan anyone?). In a ways, after the
dark,brooding seriousness of the original "Godzilla" in 1954, the 1960s saw
movies more in the Armageddon-Mummy vein of action, special effects and
empty-headed scripts. And while those weaned on GCI will find this hard to
believe, the work of Eiji Tsuburaya was considered top of the line for its
day (when you stop to think of it, how different are the SFX of Japanese
monster movies all that different from American movies, pre-2001: A Space
Odyssey? Not much really). And truth be told, I find these kaiju movies
of the 60s to have a lot more charm than their 90s American counterparts
like "Armageddon" or the Tri-Star "Godzilla."
Eisei Ammamoto, a veteran of Japanese sci-fi, deliciously chews the scenery as the villainous "Dr. Who" while Bond girl veteran Mie Hama ("You Only Live Twice") provides lovely visual distraction as "Madame X", and is far more appealing than the bland non-actress Linda Miller (badly dubbed by cartoon voice Julie Bennett who also dubs Hama!) as the object of Kong's affection (and let's set the record straight, this is NOT the woman of the same name who is Jackie Gleason's daughter, no matter what the erroneous IMDB data base says). The most amusing part of the script is how they almost seemingly plagiarized from "Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea" in their basic premise (a sub commander named Nelson for goodness sake!). No matter though. Bad dubbing, lame script notwithstanding, "King Kong Escapes" is pleasantly mind-numbing fun from the peak period of kaiju cinema.
Incidentally, I'm glad to note that Rhodes Reason, who by his own admission "knew the film was lousy but couldn't pass up the trip to Japan" to make it, was able to overcome this in the long-run and earn better notices as Daddy Warbucks in numerous Broadway productions of "Annie."
As it states under 'Trivia', 'King Kong Escapes' was a tie-in to the
Rankin-Bass 'King Kong' cartoon series, and to be honest, this film is
very much a children's movie, featuring a cartoonish super-villain, a
faintly ridiculous plot and comical fight scenes. This shouldn't be
taken to mean that I hate the film, however. While it's not as good as
Toho's previous Kong outing, 'King Kong VS Godzilla', it's still okay
if you're in the mood for that kind of thing. I've never seen the
cartoon, but the plot of this film is straightforward enough that you
don't need to.
The film does have a number of flaws, the most notable being King Kong himself. I personally thought the ape suit from KKVG looked pretty impressive, but KKE's version is more than a little silly, particularly the face, with its wide, staring eyes and permanently open mouth, which makes Kong look like he's high. Also, the fights with the other monsters aren't overly impressive; the battle on Mondo Island (Kong had obviously moved from Skull Island after it was destroyed at the end of Son of Kong) with Gorosaurus is actually quite funny, particularly when Kong gets repeatedly drop-kicked, but the showdown with Mecha-Kong is a bit anticlimactic, particularly compared to the city-destroying smackdowns of KKVG and the best of the Godzilla series.
The plot is some silly gubbins about mining a radioactive element, and King Kong comes into the story after the evil Dr Who (not the time-travelling character from the long-running British T.V series) builds a robot ape, only for it to fail. He then kidnaps the real Kong, but he escapes (hence the title) and the usual Kaiju action ensues. The human element is rather bland, although this is probably the fault of the script rather than the actors. Linda Miller is the ersatz Fay Wray of this picture, her role generally consisting of being picked up by Kong and trying to save the big ape from getting into trouble. Rhodes Reason is solid if unspectacular, and Dr. Who makes a good, over-the-top villain.
Having said that, I do think it's a shame Toho never made any more Kong movies. Personally, I would have loved to have seen Mecha-Kong come back, perhaps in a Godzilla movie. Given that Godzilla battled so many monsters over the years, it might have been interesting if he had come up against King Kong again, maybe in a scenario that forced them to work together against one or more of the many monster that big G faced.
A very pleasing movie, that has a total of 4 kaiju's (giant Monsters) in it. They are King Kong, Mechani Kong, a Giant Sea Snake, and Gorosaurus (from Destroy All Monsters fam). This movie is filled with a lot of action, and goes at a fast pace. The Kajiu fights are great and numerous. And Dr. Huu makes a very good villain, although he is a little trigger happy (he kills every one in the movie with at least three shots from his gun). Over all a very good kajiu movie.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
King Kong is once again at risk from being exploited by ruthless
humans. On this occasion a group of power-mad people, assisted by evil
scientist Dr Who, intend to use Kong to find a mineral under the ground
which can be turned into a deadly weapon. Despite this film's obviously
limited budget, and its 'tributes' to the far superior original RKO
film, this is an entertaining romp. Not cerebral, but still fun. The
monster scenes (Kong battles a robot version of himself, plus a few
prehistoric beasts on his island) are good, and once more Kong falls
for a human blonde. The human drama is great as well, with some real
action thriller scenes.
There. I reviewed this film without making any jokes about Dr Who, so I needn't exterminate this review (oops).
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Dastardly no-goodnik mad scientist Dr. Who (deliciously voiced with lip-smacking plummy panache by Paul Frees) makes a gigantic robot replica of King Kong to dig for rare and precious radioactive ore that's located in the bowels of the earth in the frigid Artic. (You can tell Dr. Who is essentially evil incarnate because he has precisely arched eyebrows and wears a flowing black cape.) When the robot Kong short circuits from exposure to the radiation, Dr. Who abducts the Great Ape and forces him to dig for the ore. Boy, does this entertainingly inane Japanese creature feature possess all the right winningly dopey ingredients which make these sort of movies such ideal delightfully dumb diversions: we've got choice ridiculous dialogue ("You would steal Niagara Falls for a drink of water"), crisp widescreen photography, lovably lousy dubbing, a totally absurd plot, a lush and stirring orchestral score, exciting monster fights (Kong mixes it up with both a towering Tyrannosaures Rex and a huge snake-like sea serpent before engaging in a lively no-holds-barred ape-to-automaton confrontation with robot Kong in Japan), and endearingly chintzy (markedly less than) special effects (I especially dug the Tonka toy miniature tanks and the ratty Kong costume). The cast play the sublimely stupid material with admirably straight faces: Rhodes Reason as a stalwart navy submarine captain, the cute Linda Miller as Kong's spunky human love interest, and the lovely Mie ("You Only Live Twice") Hama as a seductively wicked villainess in cahoots with Dr. Who. Overall, this honey sizes up as a great deal of infectiously asinine fun.
Surprisingly, King Kong's second Japanese outing, 1967's King Kong
Escapes is a much more enjoyable affair. A co-production with
Rankin-Bass to cash in on the success of their animated King Kong TV
series, it plays at times like a feature-length episode of Voyage to
the Bottom of the Sea (the hero is even called Commander Nelson) with
Kong as the guest monster. There's no Godzilla this time round, though
Kong does take on a Gorosaurus in a tribute to the original 1933
version (though Willis O'Brien's Kong never drop-kicked a dinosaur!)
before moving on to a giant RoboKong that those dastardly North Koreans
are using to excavate Mineral X from the North Pole. When RoboKong
proves to be not up to the task, they go after the real thing, who has
conveniently just been discovered by the voice of a thousand trailers
Rhodes Reason and his UN submarine crew. Naturally Kong takes a shine
to Linda Miller's medical officer, so to control Kong they kidnap her,
Japanese boyfriend Akira Tarada and Reason and threaten them with
fiendish tortures at the hands of the villainous Dr Who, who, the Toho
lawyers were quick to stress, bears no relation to the BBC's Dr Who
even if he has the same costume, cape, hat and hairstyle as William
Hartnell's first doctor. But to be fair no-one ever described the
venerable Time Lord as "an oriental skeleton, a devil with eyes like a
gutter rat" or sneered "You'd steal Niagara Falls for a drink of water"
The Kong suit is possibly even worse this time but the MechaKong puts up a much better fight and the action scenes are generally better all round: yes, they're only models, but it's still fun to see Kong shake up submarines, smash tankers, drop-kick dinosaurs and scrap it out with his mechanical nemesis atop the Tokyo Tower. This time round it's the original Godzilla Haruo Nakajima inside the Kong suit, and his superior grasp of body language and the art of fisticuffs pays off rather well. Mie Hama, Kissy Suzuki in You Only Lives Twice, provides the glamour as a North Korean agent but the acting honours among the humans go to Eisei Amamoto's villainous Dr Who, eating the scenery with underplayed relish like an Asian James Coburn.
Once again this is only available to non-Japanese audiences on DVD in the American version, though this isn't so much of a problem this time since the American cast were in the film to begin with rather than clumsily grafted on at the last minute and Akira Ifukube's score is retained (though not credited on the US print).
This is a monster movie that truly has everything you'd want from the
genre: A man in a rubber costume, a bunch of destructible environments,
an insane villain in a cape and a heroic trio that border on a love
triangle... Not forgetting the secret base, the insane plot and the
multitude of henchmen in the trademark white gloves.
There is monster on monster action, campy dialog and such a wonderful feeling of childlike adventure and exploration that'll make you feel like you're a kid again as you watch the movie.
I couldn't help but smile through the whole film and after viewing it I just wish more of the monster movies out there could be this good.
Probably Ishiro Honda's best monster movie. Go watch it!
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