Friday, July 24, 2009

The Mighty Peking Man (1977)

Dino De Laurentiis mega-production of King Kong was a big hit and spawned a couple of big ape-movies. South Korea with A.P.E, UK with Queen Kong, Italy with Yeti and Hong Kong with the best of them all, The Mighty Peking Man! It had a brief comeback some years ago when Tarantinos Rolling Thunder released it on DVD in the US, but of course the original Hong Kong-version is the one to see. We even have it on dvd in Sweden, under the name Goliathon. But fuck that title. We want our Peking Man!

Danny Lee is the unhappy hero who escaped the shallow Hong Kong-world to catch the worlds biggest ape in India. There he meets a semi-naked blonde jungle-woman, Ah-Wei (Evelyne Kraft) and falls in love - which is something you have to see. There's tons of running around in slow-mo, playing with a huge jungle-cat (which looks hilarious!), some harmless sex and more slow-mo. Well well. Her best friend is a big, ugly ape that of course get's jealous. They take the ape to the city and the transfers it to Hong Kong... where it breaks havoc and finally get's burned to death on top of a skyscraper!

So it's more or less the same story as in King Kong, but with a friendlier ape and more nudity. The thing that makes this one so much better than the other rip offs out there is that it's a Shaw Brothers production. It has a slow start, with only an elephant-attack and some typical chinese melodrama, but then it hits the big one and produces more action than in any other Kong-movie. The miniature works is amazing and extremely detailed. It's also lit in that way that it seems to be direct sunlight, which makes the studio-based action scenes very realistic (as realistic as it can be at least). Peking Man stomps through Hong Kong with a wonderful frenzy, and it intercuts with scenes of Evelyne running around among completely uninterested chinese citizens.

Danny Lee is, as usual, a great hero and manages both to be a first lover and a tought guy trying to save both the ape and his new jungle-mistress. To make everything better it also has more blood, a cut of leg and some gory squibs, and a lot of politically incorrent scenes with stupid indian villagers. Those darn chinese!

The Mightly Peking Man is a cheesy and almost to entertaining monster-flick from Hong Kong and is recommended to everyone with a good taste in movies ;)

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