years after being shot down in New York, the giant ape Kong lies comatose at the Atlanta
Institute in Georgia. Surgeon Amy Franklin (Linda Hamilton) warns her colleagues that the
ape will die without a blood transfusion. In Borneo, adventurer Hank Mitchell (Brian
Kerwin) discovers a second giant ape, a female. Trying to cash in, Mitchell offers his ape
to the Institute. While Dr Ingersoll (Peter Michael Goetz) is eager to accept, to prevent
rival institutes having the creature, Amy argues that they cannot risk having a female
around Kong. She is overruled. When Mitchell arrives, Lady Kong is taken to the Institute
and has blood taken. Kong then undergoes surgery, and an artificial heart installed in
place of his damaged real one. The operation is pronounced a success. Mitchell attends the
Institutes celebration, but notices Amys absence. He is told she is with Kong.
In the gigantic operating theatre, Kong regains consciousness. Almost immediately, he
scents the female ape, who is being kept temporarily in a warehouse a mile away. As Kong
becomes agitated, Amy sedates him to prevent strain on his heart. She then confronts
Ingersoll at the party, demanding that the facility intended to house Lady Kong be
completed as soon as possible. Moving the female ape proves extremely difficult. As she
roars and struggles against the netting, Kong hears her, and tears his way out of his own
enclosure. As he breaks into the warehouse, armed guards try to shoot him, but Mitchell
rams his car into theirs. Kong picks up the female ape and carries her away
army is called in to deal with the situation, and the officer in charge, Colonel Nevitt
(John Ashton), warns that any civilians entering the search area will be shot.
Nevertheless, both Amy and Mitchell set out to search for the animals, the two eventually
joining forces. Meeting an army roadblock, Amy turns her 4WD into the woods. When the
track becomes impassable, she and Mitchell get out and hike. Disaster nearly strikes when
a wooden bridge gives way, but Mitchell grabs Amy before she can be swept away. Amy,
however, is more concerned over the equipment she is carrying, including a unit that can
monitor and adjust Kongs heart. At that moment, the two hear the apes and track them
down. Amy checks Kongs heart: it is fine. As night falls, Amy and Mitchell make
camp, ultimately sharing a sleeping-bag. When they wake the next morning, there is no sign
of Kong. Suddenly, Nevitts forces appear. Lady Kong is gassed and falls unconscious.
Kong is located and pursued, eventually being trapped atop a cliff. As Nevitt moves in for
the kill, Kong leaps into the river below and is swept away. As Amy and Mitchell watch in
horror, Kong strikes a jagged rock head-first. Blood fills the water, and Kong sinks
beneath the surface. Amy checks the monitor: there is no sign of a heartbeat
Comments: Strange what
stature tragedy can lend to the most trivial of things. A couple of weeks ago, a group of
us were discussing what we didnt expect to see on our television screens for quite
some time, given recent events. The usual suspects were tossed around: plane crash, or
hijacking films; any of the Die Hard films; The Towering Inferno (which,
oddly enough, was on TV here only a few weeks ago); the episode of The Simpsons
where they go to New York. Then I suggested, "King Kong."
They looked at me, puzzled. (Theyre a
mainstream-y bunch.) "The re-make of King Kong," I repeated, "where
instead of climbing the Empire State Building, Kong climbs the Twin Towers."
There was a silence you could have cut with a
knife. I doubt that any mention of Dino de Laurentiiss hubristic venture had ever
before been received with such respect. Or ever will again.
I had seen King Kong Lives before, and
recalled it as one of those films that simply stagger you with the sheer idiocy of their
premise. What I didnt remember was that it opened with the final five minutes of the
previous film, which was not something I really needed to see again just now. But after
those few moments of squirmy discomfort, the sequel settles into its routine, displaying
those qualities that simultaneously make it such a hoot and such a chore to watch. As with
its predecessor, the main problem with King Kong Lives is that it is unable to
settle on a tone. Some of it is played out deadly seriously, some of it for laughs.
Unfortunately, in both cases the writers got their wires crossed. The "serious"
parts of the film are hilariously funny; while the "comedy" is just painful.
The opening scene the real
opening scene is an absolute riot, as we realise that the film asks us to believe
that since his fall to the streets of New York, Kong has been in a coma; and has been kept
alive on life support at the "Atlanta Institute", Georgia, by a team of doctors
and scientists led by surgeon Amy Franklin. (I put "Atlanta Institute" in
inverted commas because, if you listen closely, you will hear every character in the film
call it the Atlantic Institute.) Kong is kept in a huge, presumably sterile
operating theatre, with all of the equipment the usual stuff reproduced in super-size.
(That they have these things after ten years is, I suppose, credible, but I would like to
know how they treated Kong when they first got hold of him.) But things are looking bleak
for Kong, as we learn from Dr Franklin herself. Enter Linda Hamilton, in easily the
films most embarrassing role, as she is required to react to everything with
a dead straight face. When we first see Amy, she is gowned and masked, leaving only her
eyes exposed. This proves to be highly appropriate, as most of Hamiltons
"performance" consists almost entirely of eye-acting: she is by turns wide-eyed,
starry-eyed and teary-eyed, with occasional instances of her eyes flashing angrily. Right
now shes teary-eyed, as her star patient has taken a turn for the worse. Amy reports
this to her colleagues, Dr Benson Hughes, Chief of Primate Research, and Dr Ingersoll.
Ingersolls position is never identified, but he is clearly the - boo, hiss! -
Institutes book-juggler, the one who wants Kong revived not for science, or love,
but for money. Boo, hiss! Gradually, the films astonishing premise is
revealed: Kong is to be revived by the installation of a gigantic artificial heart!
Okay Ive got to say this
sometime, so I might as well say it now: (i) who is paying for this work?
and (ii) what is the point? If the writers of films like this knew anything about
how difficult it can be to get even practical, worthwhile research funded, perhaps
theyd be a bit less casual about what gets funded onscreen. At least they could have
written in a line about the work being paid for by a rich eccentric with a thing for
Oh, well, excuse me. The work does
have a point after all! It is to "establish the scientific pre-eminence of the Atlantic
Institute" and to prove it "the equal of Harvard or Yale". Hell, yeah! Who
needs academic excellence when youve got a giant gorilla with a plastic ticker? But
these plans and ten years work and expenditure seem about to come to
nothing, as Amy announces that the operation cannot go ahead without Kong receiving a
transfusion and that there is no other species whose blood is compatible. Another
of the surgical team chips in here, explaining that Kong has been comatose too long, and
that his "blood line" [sic.? try as I might, I couldnt
figure out what was said here it sounded like "blood vine"] is
tainted. Ingersoll goes ballistic, and Hughes (who obviously has a thing for Amy) has to
intervene. Amy tears up again, and we get the groan-worthy "Kong needs a
miracle" exchange quoted above. Unbelievably, Amys colleagues treat her
platitudinous announcement with the utmost solemnity.
But, after all, this is Da Movies, where
miracles are a dime a dozen. We cut now to an unidentified jungle, where professional
adventurer Hank Mitchell is dragging a nervous team of mules through some undergrowth. The
Mitchell character is a ridiculously anachronistic stereotype. At one point, Amy
scornfully refers to him as "Indiana Jones", but what he really is, is a
cut-price Han Solo - a hard-bitten cynic redeemed by love and a cause to fight for. When
we meet him, Mitchells whereabouts are a bit of a mystery. Firstly, he reassures his
mules by telling them that "its so hot, even the jaguars are asleep". His
next move is to clear a reticulated python from his path. As events transpire, this latter
geographical marker proves fairly accurate, as Mitchell is supposed to be in Borneo.
Deciding against battling the heat, our hero beds down in some bushes, but no sooner has
he got comfortable than those bushes start to move and he finds himself evading the
grasp of a gigantic female ape. Proving either that he is really short-sighted, or really,
really bad at biology, Mitchell exclaims, "Whoa, boy! Whoa, big fella!"
as he runs through the jungle. Just as it seems that he will be caught, a group of
"natives" with blow pipes rise up from the bushes (!) and fill Lady Kong (as she
will soon be known) full of darts. Mitchell intervenes, not wanting her killed, and the
ape falls unconscious. Cut to Mitchell on the line to the Institute, and playing that
establishment off against Harvard. Incredibly, Ingersoll falls for this transparent ploy,
and is about to close the deal when Amy, overhearing the word "her", objects
that they cannot risk having a female ape around Kong, not with his heart condition, and
all. We then get this films most unforgettable line, as Amy further asserts,
"Were not lancing a haemorrhoid here, were transplanting a heart!"
Amazingly, Ingersoll is unswayed by this powerful argument, and closes the deal with
Mitchell. The next thing we know, Mitchell and Lady Kong are landing in Atlanta. All of
the Kong films tend to skip lightly over such matters as quarantine restrictions, and how
an ape that size is actually moved, but King Kong Lives is unique inasmuch as
having done the skipping, it then goes out of its way to draw attention to the fact. Met
at the airport by the Institute hierarchy and a swarm of reporters, Mitchell responds to
the question, "How did you get the ape from the jungle?" with "I left a
trail of bananas". Amy and Mitchell are introduced and greet each other coolly, she
resenting his "publicity seeking", he that she just wants Lady Kong for her
blood. From this we understand (i) that Mitchells reformation has commenced; and
(ii) that Amy and Mitchell will probably be making hot monkey love before very much longer
if youll pardon the expression.
The films comic highlight follows:
Kongs operation. Ive said it before, but I feel its necessary to
reiterate here that this entire sequence is played out with utter, utter seriousness.
(Watching, you cant help but wonder what were those poor actors thinking
while they were doing this!?) Amy leads her team into the operating theatre. They are
gloved, gowned and masked but, incredibly, not goggled! The operation starts as Amy
swings a gigantic buzzsaw over Kongs chest and makes "the incision". We
now see why she didnt bother to wear goggles: though generously splashed with blood
(and bone, youd think) on her gown and mask, not the tiniest drop touches her
exposed skin. Most orthopaedic surgeons should be so lucky. Then we get a shot of the
various medical types scrabbling in Kongs chest cavity, muttering the usual words
and phrases (no-one says "STAT!", though). A giant crane then swings into
position, and lifts Kongs heart out of his chest. A second crane swings the
artificial heart into position. Just at the very last moment, a cable snaps and the heart
swings around dangerously. The team steadies it, and then theres a medical crisis as
a clamp slips. More cries of "Clamp! Clamp!" and "Suction!" fill the
air, and finally the heart is lowered into position. Instead of watching the installation,
we get a pan shot of the people watching. Mitchells there, of course, and we
understand from his expression that hes reassessing his opinion of Amy.
As the operation is pronounced a success,
wild celebrations break out across the campus, as the students enjoy the fact that they
now attend an institution that is the equal of Harvard or Yale, without any of them having
to do a lick more work. (One of the students carries a sign reading "You Kong, Me
Fay" odd considering that in this universe, Fay Wray presumably doesnt exist.)
At the faculty party, a tuxedoed Mitchell is explaining his theory that Borneo and Kong
Island were originally parts of the same land mass. Which is fine, except that Kong Island
was small, and permanently wreathed in fog, and consequently not on the maps, while Borneo
is the third largest island in the world with a population of over a million, and
youd really think that someone would have noticed a fifty-foot ape wandering around
before now. Mitchell sees Hughes, and bounds across to ask him where Amy is. She,
dedicated doctor that she is, is still with her patient, who at just that moment
begins to stir. His eyes meet Amys, and hers of course fill with tears.
"Welcome back, Kong!" Kong, however, isnt too interested in making
small-talk. Hes already scented the female ape, who is being kept temporarily in a
converted warehouse about a mile away. Kong immediately starts jumping up and down and
trying to get out, then stops and clutches his chest. Amys colleague warns her
"Hes occluding!" and she has him pumped full of sedatives (ah, the ape,
not the colleague). She then storms out of the facility, and storms into the party. There,
Mitchell is regaling Hughes and Ingersoll with a "humorous" anecdote, of which
we (thankfully) only hear the punchline: "What it turned out was, thats their
word for mule!" Hahahahaha!! (Or as Jack Thompson would say: "Now
we can all get some sleep!") Ignoring Mitchells presence, Amy confronts
Ingersoll and tells him that the female must be moved ASAP. He agrees to have the work on
her permanent enclosure expedited. Amy then storms out again, and Mitchell goes after her,
and after some "Aw, shucks"-ing, he tells her how great he thought she
did during the operation. This induces "gooey-eyes" rather than
"flashing-eyes" in the good doctor, and she drives off mollified.
Lady Kongs enclosure is completed, but
the attempt to move her is disastrously handled (chiefly because she wont eat her
drugged food, and Amy wont let them shoot her with a tranquiliser dart. Why? IITS.)
In the operating theatre, Kong comes out of his own sedation, and immediately escapes. (He
stands bolt upright in the process, and we get our first reminder of how horribly
un-apelike the Kong suit is.) As Lady Kong howls and struggles with the net in which she
has been trapped, Kong smashes his way into the warehouse. He and Lady Kong freeze. The
films "love theme" swells on the soundtrack. The apes eyes meet
across the crowded room. They smile at one another
And no, I am not making this up.
A panic ensues, with lotsa car crashes and
explosions. Some army guys are there (why?), and they start shooting at Kong (why?).
Mitchell runs a car into their jeep, sending them all flying through the air (an action
that has no later repercussions). Kong tears Lady Kong free, sweeps her up into his arms,
and carries her off into the sunset.
And no, I am not making this up.
Believe it or not, it is at this point that King
Kong Lives gets really dumb and irritating and boring. The
problem of the apes on the loose (although why theyre considered such a problem is
never explained; theyre not hurting anything or anyone) is handed over to the army.
And in charge is Colonel Nevitt who proves to be a total raving psychotic.
Look, what is this, anyway? Why
are these guys always depicted as slavering, sociopathic morons? And is there any lazier,
more overworked cinematic cliché than this? Anyway
. Naturally, Nevitts first
action is to threaten to shoot any civilian who "crosses my perimeter". This is
of course the cue for Amy and Mitchell to cross it. The two set out independently, but
soon join forces. The apes, we learn, are inhabiting an area of land known as
"Honeymoon Ridge" (and no, Im not making that up either), and we
get an extended sequence that is just plain embarrassing, as Kong and Lady Kong go through
a "courtship" ritual consisting of such well-known ape behaviours as winking,
simpering, fluttering eyelashes, and the ever-popular "pretend to yawn and stretch so
I can put my arm around you". (I can only wonder once again - what were those poor
actors thinking while they were doing this!?) Meanwhile, Amy and Mitchell run into
an army roadblock. Amy pulls her 4WD off the road as the soldiers fire and they are
not aiming at the tyres. (Um is this legal?) They drive as far as they can,
then prepare to hike. Amy stuffs a large metal case into her backpack, prompting the
inquiry "That your makeup kit?" from Mitchell. (Hes lucky shes
distracted, or she might have treated that with the contempt it deserves i.e. a
lifted knee.) The case is, Amy explains gravely, a "cardiac monitoring unit",
which will allow her to assess Kongs new heart and, if necessary, adjust its
function but only (as we learn later) if she can get up close and personal. The two
set out, crossing one of the most artistically devised "rickety bridges" I have
ever seen: one very obviously constructed of good quality wood, but with lots of
"gaps". Mitchell crosses safely, but the railing "gives way" under
Amys weight and she is nearly swept away. Mitchell hauls her up and, after she
assures herself of the cardiac units safety, she treats the gash on his arm, giving
the two of them a chance to exchange "significant glances". (Gee, just
like the apes!) Soaked and cold, Amy announces her intention of changing clothes
and strips off her jumper without another word, proving to be naked beneath it.
(Dont get your hopes up: she has her back to both Mitchell and the camera. Although
if you have very, very good eyesight, or a very, very good pause button, you can get a
brief glimpse of Lindas boobs a bit later on. Or you could just watch The
Terminator again.) The two of them (Amy and Mitchell, I mean, not
.) then hear
the apes and track them down. Amy checks Kongs heart and announces,
"Incredible! After all that exertion, his heart is actually stronger!" Watching
the apes, Amy gets all teary-eyed. Mitchell starts speculating about a reserve in the
Borneo highlands, where the apes could live, safely and happily which turns Amy
starry-eyed instead. The two then make camp. It transpires that only Mitchell brought a
sleeping-bag, and the next time we see them, Amy is warmly bundled up, and Mitchell is
freezing his butt off at a respectful distance.
Look, Im sorry, but Im not having
this. First of all, in my book, if Amy didnt have enough sense to bring a
sleeping-bag, then Amy gets to freeze her butt off. Secondly it is
freezing so just share the damn thing, will you? But no. This way, you see,
Mitchell gets to prove what a gentleman he is beneath that rough exterior, while Amy gets
to prove that she is not only a doctor, she is also a woman by inviting him
in. "You sure about this?" he inquires as he slides in with her.
"Were primates, too," Amy offers (yeah, but some of us are more
primate-ive than others) and there is the inevitable Fade To Black.
When Mitchell wakes the next morning, Kong
has gone. He tells Amy, who leaps out of the sleeping-bag (Boob Alert!). Nevitts
forces then show up (and where have they been all this time?) and start dropping
gas bombs on Lady Kong. (Great gas: no sooner has it hit than Nevitt and his men all pull
their gas masks off!) At the same time, they start attacking Kong with bullets and
grenades and flame-throwers. Why? Why are they capturing one ape and trying to kill
the other? (We never get an explanation, but they spend the rest of the film doing it.)
Amy and Mitchell try to escape here, but are finally rounded up. (Not shot?
Im disappointed), while Nevitt starts screaming hysterically at his men to
"Kill that hairy son of a bitch!" (Even by the usual standards, this guy is nuts.)
Kong is finally driven up the side of a cliff, and hurls himself off the edge to escape
his pursuers. Landing in the river, he is swept along by the current and finally goes
head-first into a large boulder. He sinks, and the water turns red. Amy grabs her cardiac
unit, and sees the signal stop
. She goes teary-eyed.
Time passes in leaps and bounds now. We learn
that Lady Kong is being kept in an underground pen at the armys "Primate
Holding Division". (Hmm
.does that get a lot of use, I wonder? Or maybe
its where the army keeps all of its psycho officers, when theyre not out
frothing at the mouth and getting bad screenwriters out of various sticky situations.) The
question of why Lady Kong is under army guard remains unanswered. Isnt she
the Institutes problem? And didnt they just finish building a proper enclosure
for her? So why are no less that 104 soldiers stuck with looking after her? And if
shes at the bottom of a well-like pen, what are those 104 soldiers actually doing?
(Oh, yeah: and if, as were told, "no-one ever goes near her", why
hasnt she drowned in her own faeces by now? [Im sorry. Im a biologist.
My mind always works in those channels.]) It transpires that Amy and her colleagues have
spent the preceding months trying to get permission to see her, and finally get an order
signed by "the Secretary of Defense himself!" A sight of this piece of
paper sends Nevitt into the usual frenzy, but he is obliged to let Amy and Hughes in. They
find Lady Kong hunched in a corner, moaning softly. "Why the hell is that monkey
crying?" Nevitt snarls. "Ill tell you why," Amy says. "For
Kong!" "Shes grieving," Hughes offers, but Amy disagrees. "No.
She senses something. Kongs alive." The others barely refrain
from laughing in her face. Amy then insists, "I feel it, too!" (Oh, great. Not
content with giving Lady Kong "feminine intuition", theyve got Amy having
"feminine intuition" about the apes "feminine intuition"!)
Nevitt then chucks the visitors out (and who can blame him?), and Hughes tries to convince
Amy that Kong must be dead, as he couldnt possibly be meeting his daily protein
requirements. But Amy remains stubborn, chiefly in view of the absence of a corpse. And
where is Kong? Hes down on the bayou chasin down a hoodoo
. Well, not really. Mostly what hes doing is munching on alligators
(the sudden depletion in the population of which, youd think someone would have
After some more time passes, Mitchell arrives
back from Borneo, where he has been negotiating the Institutes purchase of a
highland reserve for the apes "for only a million three". Amy then breaks
the news about Lady Kong: thats no-ones been near her for months. Mitchell
flips out and tries to break into the "Primate Holding Division", only to have
the stuffing beaten out of him by two good ol boy soldiers (who, naturally, sport
the films first southern accents, despite its setting). Meanwhile, Kongs
wanderings have taken him close enough to Lady Kong to hear her moans. Deciding that
thats all he can stands, he cant stands no more, Kong comes out of hiding and
heads for her prison. The next sequence is played primarily for laughs [sic.], so
with your permission, Ill be brief. Kong stomps a sportscar, from which two wanky
teenagers just escape. "My dads gunna kill me!" Kong strides across
a golf-course and gets bonked with a ball. Kong peers through a window as a boy is
complimenting his girlfriend on having "the biggest, brownest eyes". Kong
generally bothers the inhabitants of a small town, and much car-crash and shotgun humour
ensues. Nevitt and his goon squad finally show up, only to find hoards of drunken rednecks
pouring into the woods in search of the ape. ("Those guns loaded?" a soldier
demands obtusely of one redneck. "Yup, an sore we!" is the
inevitable response. Yuck, yuck, yuck!) One group of hunters does manage to find
Kong, and dynamites some rocks to trap him. They then torture him with a burning piece of
wood from their fire. (I dont think I can do better than to quote the illustrious Dr
Freex here: under what circumstances would this be deemed a good idea?) Kong pulls
himself free and some major disarrangement of the rednecks follows. One is torn in half,
another swallowed whole. Amy and Mitchell finally catch up with Kong (how do they always
manage to get there before the army? - oh, yeah feminine intuition), and
find the remains of the hunters. Mitchell surmises how they trapped the ape, adding, as he
picks up a bit of burnt wood, "And then they had their fun with him!"
(Which I guess is an example of masculine intuition.) Amy tries to monitor
Kongs heart. The news aint good and it gets worse as Kong strides
towards her and stomps the cardiac unit before Amy has time to "adjust" his
heart. Now, Amy announces (going teary-eyed) "he wont last a day".
We then waste an irritating amount of time
with Nevitts screaming and Things That Go Bang. When night falls, Amy and Mitchell
break into the Primate Holding Division again, knocking out the two soldiers left on
guard. (I guess the other 102 were busy.) They approach Lady Kong, and Mitchell gapes in
horror at her distended belly. "What have they done to her? he demands.
(Well, I told you he was bad at biology.) "They havent done
anything!" announces Amy, going both teary-eyed and starry-eyed.
"Shes pregnant!" They then set about getting her out of there.
However, one of the soldiers regains consciousness and throws a spanner in the works
(almost literally). But just as failure seems inevitable, Kong arrives and tears
open the roof of Lady Kongs pen. As Kong reaches in to lift his mate out, Lady Kong
snatches up Mitchell, and he too is carried away. (This is kind of interesting. Obviously,
Brian Kerwin was made so very blond for this film to re-work the standard Kong mythology.
However, while the blonde white woman/black male ape situation seems fraught with all
sorts of sexual and cultural implications, once the sexes are reversed, the situation ends
up being treated as entirely comedic.) Lady Kong does eventually put Mitchell down,
chiefly because shes got other things on her mind or at least abdomen. The
two apes invade a barn-dance/family reunion (allowing one hick to say to another,
"You never know whos gunna show up at these things!"), and Lady
Kong collapses on a barn, moaning and clutching her belly. Suddenly Nevitt et al.
show up and start blasting away again. Kong shields his mate, and cops a barrage in the
chest (a nasty scene recalling the end of King Kong). He remains standing long
enough to pulverise all the attacking soldiers and takes particular care with his
disposal of Nevitt, lining him up and then smashing him with one clenched fist. (Actually,
this "effect" is badly done, as Kongs fist doesnt land precisely
where Nevitt was.) His vengeance complete, Kong keels over not from the bullets,
but from a heart attack. We then cut back and forth between Lady Kongs labour
pains and Kongs death throes.
As Amy and Mitchell invade the scene, we see
the Kongs offspring which in defiance of all ape biology is immediately
active and self-sufficient. (And clean. And dry. And lacking an
umbilical cord.) The humans, both teary-eyed, urge Lady Kong to show Kong his son,
which she does. In a scene meant to be endlessly moving (but which instead is merely
endless), Kong makes contact with his son then dies
In the films final scene (which again
dodges the whole transport issue), we see Lady Kong and Kong Junior in their Borneo
reserve. Lady Kong is still mournful, but Kong Junior frolics lightheartedly, swinging
through the trees on vines.
.doesnt it just make you
want to puke?
King Kong Lives is the kind
of film that you have to believe started as a joke. Or at least, you hope it
did. But when did someone decide that the heart transplant plot thread should be treated
seriously? What enjoyment there is to be had in watching this film unquestionably comes
during the opening twenty minutes or so, as grim-faced actors run around pretending that
what theyre doing is Art. Beyond that point, the whole thing hits a brick wall,
chiefly because it starts trying to be funny. By the time Colonel Nevitt instructs
his men on how to recognise "the enemy" "Theyre fifty feet
tall and wearing their birthday suits!" you really just want the film to end;
but it goes on
. I know I keep harping on this, but how do
actors cope on set when theyre making a film like this? I guess Peter Elliott and
George Yiasoumi got the best of things: they at least got to hide their faces during their
performances, being Kong and Lady Kong, respectively. The "humans",
. John Ashton delivers every line like hes trying out for a regional
stage production of Apocalypse Now. Peter Michael Goetz carries on like a long-lost
descendent of Ebenezer Scrooge; while Frank Maraden is just sappy. There wasnt
really any way Brian Kerwins reputation could be damaged, I guess; but Linda
Hamilton--- The odd thing about King Kong Lives is that the person who should
have been most adversely affected by it probably came out the best. By this time she made
this unfortunate professional choice, Hamilton had sufficient audience goodwill
accumulated for viewers to feel embarrassed for her, rather than contemptuous of her; and
that in spite of her characters endless gushing and simpering. The final irony of King
Kong Lives is that rather than destroying its leading ladys career, as you would
reasonably expect, it actually helped it. Anyone want to dispute the fact that it
was Hamiltons demonstration of her winning way with large, hairy leading men that
landed her the lead role in Beauty And The Beast?