King Kong Lives [Import]
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A giant ape King Kong, which was shot and fell off the Empire State Building, appears to be alive, but is in coma for 10 years and desperately needs a blood transfusion in order to have an artificial heart implanted. Suddenly, in the rainforest, another gigantic ape is found - this time a female. She is brought to the USA, and the heart is successfully implanted. But then King Kong, having felt a female ape, breaks loose. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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They weren't disappointed. Prior to the film's release, however, the naysayers were out in full force. After all, the 1976 KING KONG was an unassailable classic, a noble and poetic masterpiece, the most fantastic expression of Beauty & The Beast ever filmed. How could this new film expect to follow such a cherished, cultural and cinematic touchstone, and more importantly, how could it do anything but cheapen it's legacy?
All misgivings were quickly disspelled when the film finally hit the multiplexes. After a dramatic recounting of Kong's tumble from the World Trade Center at the end of the original film, (complete with cameos by stars Jeff Bridges and Jessica Lange, neither of whom appear to have aged a day), we fast-forward ten years later to discover Kong has indeed survived his plunge from New York's tallest skyscraper, and we find him comatose at a privately-funded research facility, awaiting a heart transplant...
I wouldn't dare give away more than that. Brimming with remarkable special-effects wizardry, KING KONG LIVES is a true entertainment spectacular and, in a rare feat, has become every bit as legendary as its illustrious predecessor. Even though Rick Baker chose not to don the monkeysuit for the sequel, it's virtually impossible to distinguish this ape from the '76 model, and that's as it should be. The near-documentary quality of the effects proved so convincing that many people reportedly ran screaming from the theater in shock and terror.Read more ›
This movie is jaw-droppingly bad. But given that Jessica Lange survived the original "King Kong" remake and Linda Hamilton had some success after this turkey, there is really no reason for any young actress to ever turn a role in one of these films, no matter how bad the script. King Kong's leading ladies do pretty well. The gap between the original "King Kong" and the remake is certainly a lot closer than "King Kong Lives" and the original sequel, "Son of Kong.Read more ›
Kong.and we actually both liked it.sure it's no masterpiece and i
didn't like it quite as much as King Kong,but i did find it
entertaining and fun.i felt it was on a smaller scope than KIng
Kong(1976) and less serious,on my opinion,but it wasn't half
bad.true,the dialogue won't win any awards,and the acting could have
been better,but there was plenty of action and excitement.the story is
bit of a stretch for sure,but if you don't take it too seriously,you
might enjoy it for what it is:an action packed,entertaining 90 minutes
or so.and it might make you forget about life for awhile.for me,King
Kong Lives is a 3.5/5
Highly recommended if you can get a copy of it.
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Directed by John Guillermin (not surprisingly his last film, especially after his previous disastrous outings including the 1976 King Kong remake and 1984's flopfest Sheena), the film stars Linda Hamilton (2 years after her role in Cameron's sci-fi thriller The Terminator...after this film, her star quality plummeted, forcing her to work in television for the next four years). Although she was obviously the star in this film, she didn't even get top billing as the credits rolled...that went to the two male actors in the monkey suits. Also appearing are Brian Kerwin (Murphy's Romance), whose career seems to have yet fully recover from his role in this sequel to a film that should have never been made. and John Ashton (Beverly Hills Cop I & II).
As the film begins, we're treated to a recap of the final scenes of the '76 Kong film, where a man in the giant ape suit plummets to his death from atop the World Trade Towers, after being riddled with bullets...but wait! After this rehash is concluded, fast forward ten years and we learn that Kong didn't perish, but was secured away at some institute in Georgia resting comfortably in a comatose state...oh bruther...also, Kong is in need of a heart transplant, as the visage of a giant, artificial heart is shown suspended by a crane (who the heck is financing this endeavor, and why?) Problem is, before Dr. Amy Franklin (Hamilton) can perform the operation (remember that Seinfeld episode where George hit the squirrel, and his girlfriend made him take it to the vet, and the vet said they needed special, tiny tools to operate? Well here they need the really big, honking tools...), they need a compatible blood donor. Well, it's a good thing entrepreneur Hank Mitchell (Kerwin) conveniently just happened to find a equally large Queen Kong (how do we it's female? She has giant monkey breasts, of course...kill me now) in the jungles of Borneo, and was able to come to terms with institute with regards to price (surprisingly, a bunch of natives were able to take the creature down with blowguns, and yet the U.S. military, as we'll later see, is unable to stop and equally sized Kong with a barrage of bullets and artillery fire...whatever). So the female Kong is brought to the institute, despite Amy's misgivings (she feels a female Kong will drive the male nutty coco puffs, hindering his recovery) and the operation is a success, only Kong escapes, hooks up with the female Kong, and both run off into the Georgia mountains (to a place called Honeymoon Ridge...I'm serious, kill me NOW) where they consummate their burgeoning relationship as only two guys in monkey suits can...ewww[...] Now with the military, lead by the gung-ho Col. Nevitt (Ashton) hot on their giant, hairy heels, Amy and Hank (who have since become romantically involved, mirroring the relationship between King and Queen Kong) have their work cut out for them, in trying to save this gruesome twosome.
I think most of us are familiar with the fact that sequels rarely live up to their predecessors, and this film is no exception. After De Laurentiis' remake (more aptly bastardization) of the original film, King Kong Lives was the equivalent of rubbing a heaping pile of salt into a gaping wound. There's really nowhere near enough room to talk about how much was wrong with this film. The story is so utterly ridiculous that even a child's capabilities of suspending disbelief would be strained. I mean, right in the beginning we're asked to believe Kong actually survived being torn apart by gatling guns mounted on helicopters, and then falling from the World Trade Towers...and now someone has decided to give him a heart transplant? And the moronic concepts just keep flowing, and at an exponential rate. The characters are completely insipid, lacking any credible or meaningful substance, spouting the most laughable, ludicrous dialogue I've heard in a long time. Here's an example as Amy relates Kong's physical state, "Only one things can save Kong.", "What's that?", "A miracle!" In another scene Hank arrives from the jungles with the female Kong and reporters ask "Are you going to breed her?", to which Hank replies "You mean personally?" The ingratiating attempts at humor matched the pathetic attempts creating a sense of pathos throughout the film, the latter being something that the original 1933 film had in spades, and flowed forth so very naturally. It looked like some serious money was spent on this film, although much of it spent on effects appears to have been wasted as giant ape special effects seemed not to have progressed much in the 10 years since the first film. Also, the ape perspective was so very screwy...one moment the apes seemed 100 feet tall, and another they appeared 50 feet tall...very disorientating. Despite all these things (and much more), I probably could have survived this film better if it wasn't for the overly obvious attempted anthropomorphizing, or `humanization', of the apes (smiling, kissing, mating...did I mention it was two guys in ape suits? Ewwwwww).
I was surprised to see a fairly pristine wide screen print on this DVD (heck, I was surprised to see the film released to DVD), along with clear, clean audio. There are no special features, but I wasn't looking for any. For those who say `This movie isn't as bad as they say', it is, and much, much worse...
It is just so dissapointing and innexcusable how bad this movie is.
That said, let me move on and state that it has grown on me in recent years. But only after over a decade of staying away from it. I enjoyed SON OF KONG, KING KONG VS. GODZILLA, KING KONG ESCAPES
and the 1976 remake (especially the "lost" four hour TV version) and I felt that, despite shortcomings, they were true to the spirit of the original.
This is the exception. KING KONG LIVES is a direct sequel to the 76
version and starts with a replay of Kong's battle atop, and eventual fall from, the World Trade Center in New York. In hind sight this is really
a hiderence to the film, as I believe it would play better (especially today) without the baggage of the last movie attached to it. A tactic that worked with KING KONG VS. GODZILLA and KING KONG ESCAPES.
But, because of Kong's Injuries, we are forced to sit through a laughably silly giant artificial heart transplant, which plays like something out of a Bert I. Gordon movie. And then faced with the unbelievability of Kong's
absurdly fast recovery from a 10 year coma. There are a few memerable sequences that are impressive. Such as Kong's heroic rescues of his
mate, the pumelling of some seedy hunters and a climactic battle in which Kong throws some attacking tanks and jeeps around. But, the scene in which Kong hides out in a swamp and eats dime-store rubber
alligators will have you roaring. Also silly is a scene where Kong eludes his militant pursuers by jumping from a seemingly thousand foot rock cliff into a deep river and dissapears under water. This movie takes place in Louisiana! There aren't any giant canyons or rivers deep enough to hide sixty foot ape in the American south. But of course, this film was produced by italians and directed by a brit. The characters are
unmemorable and there is the usual love interest. The antagonists are cartoonish and often cruel for no logical reason. We are supposed to believe that the government would spend ten years and billions of dollars in keeping Kong and his mate alive and then, on a dime,
torment, torture and kill them with military hardware. It just makes no sense. This all could have been enjoyable were it not for the boring characters and corney plot twists. The ending is perhaps one of the biggest let downs in cinema history. I was also deeply dissapointed, at the time at least, that the incredible John Barry musical score from the previous film was not used here. But I will admit that the score used in King Kong Lives is quite impressive, and emotionally stirring, even if the movie falls flat.
In conclusion. Awful on the big screen in 1986, Not nearly so bad on a TV set 20 years later. Is there a fan edited version yet? A good re-editing/shortening could save the life of King Kong Lives.
I confess, I liked this motion picture more than some other reviewers. When I heard that "KING KONG LIVES" I was afraid he'd just go after another white woman and end up being shot down off a tall building again. I know what it's like to be grossly misunderstood and mistreated by humans for being different. I also never trust sequels. So, I expected nothing and got more than I'd dreamed. It is worth seeing on late night TV. I mean, it's much better than most infomercials.
This movie starts with the premise that King Kong wasn't really killed when they brutally assaulted him in New York City and shot him down from the World Trade Center in the 1976 movie excellently reviewed elsewhere. Despite what we saw on the silver screen back then, the big guy was only injured. It turns out he has been kept alive lo these many years by top scientists. One wonders how they slapped together an I.C.U. of such massive proportions quickly enough to get him on life support and how they were able to smuggle him away from S.W.A.T. teams and planes and military folk that had just blasted thousands of rounds into him. You'd think the local authorities would have rolled that yellow crime scene tape around the area or something. It does take time to get one of those cop dudes to draw a chalk line around such an enormous shooting victim.
However, lest ye think that this is a PETA film where the massive beast will be returned to his native island and allowed to live out his life on his own terms, nothing could be further from the truth. It seems nobody learned the lesson. Their wisdom leads them to put Kong in rehab, hoping to one day put him on display again. You can't really blame them......I mean it worked so well the first time.
Apparently giant gorillas don't have D.N.R. clauses in their living wills or perhaps his medical power of attorney just couldn't be located. How he got such great medical insurance as an immigrant is not explained either. Let's hope the massive ape is not a Jehovah's Witness; because they want to force a blood transfusion on him and an artificial heart transplant. If only Dr. Kevorkian had been on the scene - he'd know what to do.
I'll have to check to see whether the artificial heart invented in Utah by Dr. Jarvic predated this movie. I mean, did he get the idea for it from this film, or was it the other way around?
The team is faced with a problem that might even stump Dr. House. Where does one find a donor to suit Kong's needs? Apparently synthetics will not suffice. A close relative must be brought in. The American Red Cross wants nothing to do with this disaster.
What's odd is that no one explains how they were able to keep the bullet-ridden great ape alive all these years without a previous blood donation. I mean, if he survived all that high-powered ammunition and the fall from the World Trade Center without a transfusion, wouldn't a heart replacement be a cinch? Couldn't they store up blood for him in advance of the operation? Wouldn't it be safer than trying to find a relative of the guy? Remember, almost everyone on the first team that found him was killed absolutely downright fatally!
The sequel becomes at once a medical mystery as well as a monster thriller. At first glance it has box-office gold written all over it.
Given the fact that Kong was originally incarcerated and seemingly executed publicly without a trial, it is amazing that instead of continuing to attempt to snuff him out, or at least return him to his native island, they instead decide to get him back on his feet. Perhaps they thought he could perform enough community service to make up for all the damage he did when he escaped in the first film. I don't know, somehow I don't think he'd take it very well letting Judge Judy drop the gavel on him. On the other hand, he would be a barrel of laughs in the prison yard.
This is like Jurassic Park XIX. I mean, I don't feel too much empathy for people who knowingly go into the same kind of danger again and again and again, never learning a thing. Even a child who puts his hand on a hot stove learns he doesn't want to do it again. Still, all these people with all these degrees prove time and again that they are woefully, stupidly, gigantically ignorant.
Where are the attorneys suing to stop this operation or at least make millions off of the violation of Kong's civil rights? Certainly the litigation would have made a better movie. Look, this one isn't bad, it's just that it doesn't include Jessica Lange or Jeff Bridges or anything else that made the first film work. I didn't find myself caring about these seemingly brain-dead doctors one bit.
One last thing: imagine you were kidnapped because you were black and wanted a fine white woman like Jessica Lange; that you were arrested and shot at when you tried to escape; you were blown off the top of the World Trade Center and was kept alive against your will for ten years in a hospital and still never even got your day in court. Wouldn't you be a bit annoyed when you finally pulled the I.V.'s from your arms? Wouldn't you do just about anything to get away from the insane people who did all these things to you? The people In Guantanamo Bay were held over five years before their trials began. Kong was locked up for ten.
This then, is a film about what happens when people are denied their civil rights. You thought lawyers were ugly? You aint seen nothin' yet.
"But the monkey died at the end of the film. How can you make a sequel?" Dino asks.
"They give Kong an artificial heart!"
Dino's eyes light up and he makes a deal for the screenwriter to write it. The screenwriter goes home happy that he made a sale and clueless what to do for a story. And it shows.