King Kong Eacapes (1967) – Ishiro Honda

 

My time with that big ape continues with my exploration of King Kong titles thanks to the Sci-Fi Chronicles book. The fun, goofiness of King Kong Vs. Godzilla would be hard to top, and this film can’t quite seem to do it, though it does introduce the pretty cool, and drastically underused Mechani-Kong!!

The film opens with a UN sub, captained by Carl Nelson (Rhodes Reason), with Lt. Cmdr Jiro Nomura (Akira Takarada) and the lovely Lt. Susan Watson (Linda Miller) at his side,  looking for oil (funny considering the next film) and talking about a remote island, known as Mondo, and rumoured to house a monster known as Kong (a man in a suit, as before, with the most vacuous and ridiculous looking facial mask).

In the Arctic a mining crew ruled over by Dr. Who (not that Doctor Who – Hideyo Amamoto) has created Mechani-Kong to dig for the radioactive and magnetic element X. His side is assisted by Madame Piranha (Mie Hama), who hems an haws a little over the plan, the mining and the possible threat it poses…

When the sub is forced to stop at the island they were just talking about, our heroic trio leave the sub in a quaint little hover jet, and set out to investigate. Kong is quickly discovered and has a knock-down fight with a Tyrannosaur (?) – and I never knew those buggers had such vicious kicks! Susan becomes the apple of Kong’s eye, but she leaves him behind when the UN crew return to their sub. They have to report this!

968full-king-kong-escapes-screenshot

But while they do, Doctor Who and his lackeys grab Kong and take him north, and through some mind control, puts the big fella to work digging out element X. But you know that trouble is going to happen when he gets free of the control devices, and he’s had enough of Who’s bullying and demands. Our UN crew is captured by Who, but escape, and also persuade Piranha to help them, at a price…

While the UN forces are trying to find a peaceful resolution to the rampaging ape, Tokyo may not be able to handle it, and things get even worse when Who releases Mechani-Kong to face off against the big ape. There are laughs, lots of enjoyable model work, towns getting trounced, and really bad men-in-monster-outfits fighting (though I will admit, Mechani-Kong does look kinda cool).

I quite enjoy the Japanese take on this classic monster, but it’s weird how they try to marry the best (and worst) of the Japanese films in the next version…

This film, much like the previous one, are wonderful Saturday afternoon fun, grab some popcorn, put your feet up, and just settle in for pure enjoyment. These films know they aren’t changing the world, they’re here to bust up villages and cities and let us have fun watching it!

King-Kong-Escapes

 

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