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Four stars for entertainment,
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This review is from: King Kong Escapes [DVD] (DVD)
I've been trawling through the very worst of the King Kong wannabe movies that the world has produced and I am glad to say that this one is a real hoot. It's lots of fun to watch if you don't take it seriously and just enjoy the silliness.
The plot is pretty daft to say the least. An evil genius called Dr Who has created a robot King Kong which he intends to put to work excavating a rare ore called "Element X", at the request of a mysterious ambassador from an unnamed "certain country", who is willing to pay hefty sums of money for it. At the same time, a UN submarine runs into trouble (I forget why) and the crew find themselves on a remote island called Mondo island, which just happens to be the home of the REAL King Kong. Dr Who finds all this out somehow (I forget that bit too) and decides to capture Kong to take over the digging work from the robot Kong who has somehow malfunctioned. It's then action all the way as the UN crew try to thwart the evil Dr Who and the two Kongs fight it out together over Tokyo.
Well as you can probably tell, the plot didn't make enough sense for me to remember the details, in fact it has massive holes in logic all over the place. But the fun comes from the big monkey antics of course, and there are plenty of these. You better realise up front that the King Kong you will see here is light years away from a realistic looking gorilla. With a big lumpy suit, an immobile plasticky looking head and seams showing all over the fur costume, this Kong is a laugh a minute. But I don't wish to completely insult him - despite his big glassy eyes (complete with papery eyelids that actually blink!) and fang filled mouth, this Kong actually has real character. I don't know why, but I found him a pleasure to watch in every scene. Certainly a hell of a lot better than the monkey mistakes in films like "A*P*E", "The Mighty Gorga", "King Kong Lives" or "The Mighty Peking Man" (oh yes, I've seen them all!), this might be down to the skills of the guy in the costume because as crazy as it sounds, I actually believed this Kong had a real personality. Albeit a dopey and easily confused one.
But anyway, lets move on to other highlights of the film. Sadly, "King Kong Escapes" does not even TRY to deviate from all the cliches that these wannabe films seem to keep re-using. Witness if you will, Kong saving the heroine from a T-Rex, placing her in a tree while he battles the monster, and killing it by pulling it's jaw apart. Watch as Kong scales a tall tower in the final, with the heroine, again perched precariously on the high ledge. I mean, come on! It really can't be that hard to think up something new!
The ridiculous script is what really annoyed me. Several times the heros are captured by Dr Who and imprisoned, then let go, then rounded up again, then left to escape, then chased again, while the mysterious ambassador from a "certain country" swaps loyalties between Dr Who and the good guys but is left entirely free to do as she pleases in the Who compound, simply releasing our heros when she feels like it. In one crazy scene, the Who crew even leave the keys to the prisoners handcuffs lying on a table and the cell door wide open - convenient eh? The dialogue is also laughable - the dubbing doesn't help, and many of the lines that the actors are reading out are pure nonsense. And poor Linda Miller, who plays the heroine (and Kong's love interest, naturally) has the worst possible voice for a female lead, seemingly dubbed by Chuckie from "Rugrats"!
But it all adds up to silly fun and certainly never gets boring. Even in the slightly duller moments you can marvel at Dr Who's disgusting brown, gappy teeth (can't evil genius's afford dentists?) and the kitsch 60's fashions (Linda Miller's outfits are pretty cool - some submarine doctor's uniform that is!). I enjoyed this a lot and I think others will too.