Wednesday, September 14, 2016

King Kong Escapes (1967)

Original title: Kingu Kongu no Gyakushu

Director: Ishiro Honda

Writer: Takeshi Kimura

Composer: Akira Ifukube

Starring: Rhodes Reason, Mie Hama, Linda Miller, Akira Takarada, Hideyo Amamoto, Ryuji Kita, Ikio Sawamura, Haruo Nakajima, Yu Sekita, David de Keyser, Paul Frees, Julie Bennett

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Two King Kongs Fight to the Death!

Plot: King Kong is brought in by an evil ruler to dig for precious gems in a mine when the robot Mecha Kong is unable to do the task. This leads to the machine and the real Kong engaging in a tremendous battle that threatens to level Japan.

My rating: 6.5/10

Will I watch it again?  Yeah.

This is a Japanese/American co-production.  On the Japanese side, it's from Toho Studios that kicked off the Godzilla franchise (including the same director & composer among others).  On the American side,  you've got Rankin/Bass, the kids that gave us those great stop motion animated Christmas specials in the 60s & 70s like RUDOLPH, THE RED-NOSED REINDEER (1964).  That's some talent right there.  This is exactly what you think it is if you've seen any of the man-in-suit Toho stuff.  What makes it different is that it's pretty fun and cheesy.  What's more is you get A LOT of Kong action.  Usually these pictures are heavy on the human drama crap and light on the giant monster stuff.  Not this one.  He's the star of the show and he kicks some ass.  The only downside to the movie is that it does slow down around the two thirds mark and it stays that way for probably fifteen minutes but it's a long way off from being a deal-killer.  The models are great.  I really dig the hovercar.  Neat-O!

The special effects are cheesy but they're fun as hell.  I love this kind of stuff.  This picture also does something different than others of its kind and that's giving us vastly different locations.  You get some jungle action (the best parts of the movie), Arctic snow and ice action and finally the big fight between Kong and Robot Kong in the big city.  It's a gas and it's one of those movies you should watch with a group for maximum enjoyment. I've seen a few of the Godzilla pictures and most of them have lots of dull spots with comparably little man-in-suit goodness.  This is one of the better ones.

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