(a.k.a. Attack Of The Giant Horny
Mutant, The New King Kong, & Super
Cast: Rod Arrants, Joanna Kerns, Alex Nichol
I am sure many people who visit this web site have seen
or at least
heard of Mighty Peking Man. For those who don't know, it
is a 1977 Hong Kong movie which got re-released by Quentin Tarantino to
theaters in North America last year. It was an attempt to cash in on
King Kong by ripping off the basic story of
a giant gorilla. (Though from what I've heard, few people managed to
suckered into watching it during its initial release.) What you may not
know is that a year earlier, some South Korean producers (with
from some Americans) had made and released their own giant gorilla
Several years ago I saw the poster for it, and they had thoughtfully
something like, "Not to be confused with the original King Kong"
off to one corner. That, the cheesiness of the poster (promising more
action than a cheapie could possibly deliver), and seeing a clip during
Came From Hollywood of the giant gorilla popping his middle
(!) to the army attacking him had made me want to see this movie for
years. And of course, when I finally got to see the movie, I was let
A*P*E is a bad movie. Usually when people
say a movie
is bad, they can mean one of two things; so bad it is good, or so bad
is bad. Occasionally, though, you'll get a third kind of bad
- the embarrassing kind. The kind that's, well, bad, but you
a stronger feeling of embarrassment than annoyance - you feel sorry for
the actors doing and saying stupid stuff, you wonder if the people
the special effects cringe when they think back on the movie, and you
what the director really felt when making this movie. If he knew it was
a bad movie while making it, then you feel embarrassed that he had to
it. If he actually thought that he made a rootin' tootin' action flick,
you feel embarrassed that he was so stupid to not realize he failed.
some parts of A*P*E are so bad they are funny, and some
are so bad they are bad. But most of the time, I just felt pity for
involved in the making of this movie.
The movie actually starts off with some promise that it
will be entertaining,
albeit in an unintentional way. We see a dinky little toy boat floating
in the ocean (presumably near Korea), and we cut to two sailors on deck
who have a conversation about what they found on some island and is now
drugged asleep below in the hold. (Mentioned in the slowest, most
dubbed over voice you can think of): "I know...... imagine...... almost
36 feet tall....... wow.......", utters one of the sailors. We then
they plan to take the giant gorilla (what else did you think it was?)
Disneyland (!) But something goes wrong, and the gorilla wakes up, and
destroys the ship in a matter of seconds. (Last words of the monotone
"Ohhhh...... s**t......") The gorilla stands triumphantly in the water,
though I couldn't help but notice since half his body is out of the
that means the ship must have been sailing in just 18 feet of water.
instantly, the gorilla gets into a fight with a shark that's his size.
I'm no marine biologist, but can sharks really grow to be 36 feet long?
The shark doesn't seem to put up much of a struggle - in fact, the
simply holds it vertically in front of him and shakes it back and forth
over and over, symbolizing the masturbation act. Who says a monster
can't be psychoanalyzed?
Meanwhile, South Korea greets with open arms blonde
Marilyn Baker (get it?), making a movie in Seoul which includes an
rape scene with happy music playing in the background. Her reporter
Tom (Arrants) also happens to be in the neighborhood, and he initiates
the sappy and boring romantic subplot in the movie. Not only are the
with him are boring, but he's not really needed in the movie at all.
only use he seems to have is to lead Marilyn away from danger (can you
possibly guess what kind of danger she ends up in?) at a couple of
in the movie, though only an idiot in those situations would not know
leave, and which direction to go - and she isn't that blonde. He comes
across as a somewhat annoying jerk. Somewhat more watchable is Alex
as Colonel Davis, the commander of the American troops in the country.
True, even considering that giant gorillas don't appear every day, his
character is unbelievably dense when the giant gorilla invades and
to pound the countryside. I can understand that he wouldn't believe at
first it was a giant gorilla doing all the damage, but you'd think that
he'd at least realize there's something dangerous out there. However,
the second half of the movie, his character brings a lot of laughs with
some hilarious lines of dialogue. Among other things, he yells at his
aides, "To hell with the press - I'm going to smoke this cigarette!"
"What the hell ya looking at - my fly unzipped?" Near the end, when he
brings the artillery onto the gorilla, he smirks, "Let's see him dance
for his organ grinder now!"
Since we are talking about the characters, we might as
well now discuss
the giant gorilla. It's one of the worst gorilla costumes I've seen,
made out of brown carpet, and notable parts of its anatomy include a
belly and nipples that apparently grown an extra size during the events
of the film. But the worst thing about this gorilla is that it has no
at all. That might sound silly, but when you watch the original or even
the remake of King Kong, you have at least a good
of what the giant beast is thinking. Not with the gorilla here. All he
does is go place to place and smash things up, with no reason. Godzilla
may be guilty of this charge, but he at least did it with style; this
has no heart to his pounding and smashing. He is neither a total
machine, nor a beast with a compassionate side - he is actually boring.
Yes, I did laugh at that middle finger scene, and I laughed at the
where he has one paw on his hip and his other arm in the air, doing
almost like a disco dance. These sequences come way out of left field,
and seem out of character for this gorilla, even though he doesn't have
The gorilla does indirectly provide a few other laughs.
in the movie, he stands not far away from a person or a group of
and they don't notice him for several minutes. Well, he is
still and not making any noise. There's also another time in a suburb
the residents, panicking after having seen him and running through the
streets, turn a corner and run right into his feet. I guess even in a
you wouldn't see a 36 foot ape a couple of blocks away in the direction
you were racing. Scattered through the movie there are some more bits
unintentional humor, like kids breaking into the Korean equivalent of
to just play on the slides and swings, or the hideously amateur Korean
martial arts movie the gorilla stumbles upon.
Most of the time, the movie is just embarrassing to
watch. The movie
was originally made in 3D, which means that there are sequences where
stick their guns into the camera, or when the gorilla throws rocks or
drums (held by visible wires) into the camera. These attempts are not
obvious, they are just so "Hey, look at this!" that it's hard not to
What's interesting is that there aren't many of these in-your-face
at all; in fact, the movie is so blandly directed, I don't think it
have been an improvement to have seen it in 3D. When the (mildly)
crowds run, they almost seem as if they were overly choreographed. We
get to see the real South Korea - most of the movie is shot on
or in rooms, and the few outdoor locations, both urban and in the
look dusty and bland. There are also sequences of stock footage that
show the moving around of fire trucks, army trucks and helicopters.
sequence goes on and on for so long, it becomes clearer that there
much of a story to tell. These and other pathetic attempts (such as
pointless conversations) to stretch out the movie make A*P*E kind
of the equivalent of seeing high school students prancing and singing I'm
A Little Teapot during their graduation ceremony - embarrassing,
with no point.
Check for availability on Amazon (VHS)
Check for availability on Amazon (DVD)
See also: The Crater Lake
Monster, Godzilla VS King Ghidora, King Kong Escapes