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Torn from his jungle home, this brutal 36-foot-tall monster unleashes a furious attack on the metropolis and people of Seoul, Korea. Nothing can withstand his rage. Buildings crumble to his touch. Armies cannot stop him. His only weakness: he has fallen for gorgeous American movie star Marilyn Baker (Joanna Kerns). Can she escape from his iron grip? Will the military be able to end his reign of destruction? A gargantuan spectacle... a heart-stopping adventure... a guy in a monkey suit... It's A*P*E!
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If you have have never heard of this movie and you are looking to buy it based on the cover art.....move on.....seriously, I'm not kidding....go find another movie. This movie is famously bad.
The rating is for the overall release of the movie, extra's, 3D and quality.
If you have any knowledge whatsoever of this movie then you will know that it is an incredibly low budget movie with horrendous effects and that it is known for its 'awfulness.'
Therefore you are probably more interested in the quality of the release itself by Kino Lorber. That said....here we go....
BLU-RAY: As I often state in my reviews, I have almost no knowledge of quality of film and how it is transferred and cleaned up. I can only go by what my eyes tell me. The transfer is certainly not perfect. There are a lot of imperfections throughout. It is still an improvement over the previous release. The imperfections are probably due to the way the movie was shot. Perhaps they were always there. Perhaps Kino Lorber didn't feel it was worth the effort to remove all the imperfections. There are plenty of imperfections throughout but nothing egregious that will ruin it. What you get is still the best version of this movie you will see. I've only watched this version once and it was in 3-D. Film historian, Chris Alexander, whose commentary track is available in this release points out some of the problems. He makes note of the fact that in the evening shots near the beginning of the movie, that the Ape is very difficult to see against the black background. A lot of the problems with the video of this movie are probably due to poor lighting for which the director had no budget for. Once again, I have almost no knowledge of video restoration...I'm sure there are others who will pitch in on this who have expertise.
3-D: The 3-D was decent. I'm actually surprised to see that a movie of this budget actually had 3-D! I wouldn't say it was used to add anything to the movie ('It Came from Outer Space' comes to mind as a movie that used 3-D exceptionally well.) But it is there and there are a few scenes that were filmed just for purposes of 3-D. The Ape throws rocks and oil cans at the screen. You also have guns pointed at you and a few other items.
EXTRA'S: There are several extra's with this release. They are:
- Commentary track from Chris Alexander and historian Hillary Hess. I only listened to the first half hour with Chris Alexander. He basically talked about the production and the director and how the movie was made. It was quite good and I will go back and finish watching it.
-Trailers for several other 3-D releases by Kino Lorber
There are no subtitles.
PLOT/SUMMARY: OK....here we go.....
We open with two guys(among the worst actors you will ever see) on a boat(one of the worst model boats you will ever see) talking about their cargo. We learn that the giant Ape they are carrying is from Harlem and they are on their way to Disneyland....Huh?!?....Harlem?....A 35 foot tall ape just roaming about in Harlem?....I'd love to see them try that in today's politically correct charged environment in a movie made today.....they producers would be crucified for being racist. For those of you who don't know....Harlem is right smack in the middle of New York City. I hate to sound condescending but I find that in today's google, smart phone world, people have stopped learning geography and don't know where anything is outside of where they live. Well....that said Ape is supposed to be unconscious for the next 5 days. 5 seconds is more like it. We see an Ape hand and then an explosion. The Ape has apparently grown a few hundred feet in seconds or the boat magically shrunk to the size of a toy in seconds. Because in the next scene you can see the remains of the hull of the boat and that boat is considerably smaller than the Ape. We see a laughable fin of a shark and next thing you know the Ape has a dead shark in it's arms and starts shaking it around. This was a year after 'Jaws' started the summer blockbuster craze so obviously they were trying to cash in on that....trying. Ape defeats the dead shark and heads for shore. Ape attacks a factory for no apparent reason other than he is supposed to be a menace.
Meanwhile movie star Marilyn Baker (Joanna Kerns, mom from Growing pains) arrives in South Korea to film a movie. Waiting for her is Tom Rose, a reporter. Apparently Tom and Marilyn used to date. Apparently things were 'moving too fast' so Tom has decided to follow Marilyn all over the world. Marilyn came half way across the world to star in a movie in which her love interest spends the whole movie trying to molest her and then chase her around when she runs. They also get aggravated when they have to do additional takes. This is ironic since many of the scenes of this movie look like they were filmed in just one take. During the filming of one of these scenes, Ape takes Marilyn hostage. Tom to the rescue. Captain Kim of the Korean armed forces is generous enough to allow Marilyn to hide out with his family at his home in Seoul.
Ape goes on a rampage and terrorizes everyone and everything he sees. He sets out in search of Marilyn. Meanwhile, American Captain Davis (probably in this movie just for comic relief) is having trouble believing that there is a giant Ape running around. He sarcastically calls him 'King Kong.'
Ape must have some sort of psychic bond with Marilyn because he manages to march through Seoul and find her at Captain Kim's house. How he does this is anybodies guess. She is in a windowless room so he just starts smashing through buildings and houses till he finds her. Apparently Seoul isn't that big (kidding).
Eventually Captain Davis is convinced that there is a giant ape running around and sets out to defeat the Ape along with Captain Kim.
In the movies most memorable scene, Ape gives the finger to the military.
When we get to the final battle scene, Ape is standing on a pile of rubble. I suppose it was supposed to be a mountain. Once again I have to wonder about the seriousness of these scenes. The lighting is poor and it actually appears as if Ape is wiping his butt with Marilyn during part of this scene!
During another scene, we have Ape tossing rocks at the soldiers. One problem here....the rocks are the same size relative to both the Ape and the soldiers. So what are supposed to be giant boulders being thrown from a 35 foot ape become only the size of rocks when they reach the soldiers. But what the hell...who would notice?
****Spoiler Alert**** ....uhm....yeahhh.....spoiler......
Ape is defeated and tenderly releases Marilyn before he expires. It's not as if the military cared that she was in the line of fire.
PRODUCTION: This movie was made in South Korea with a miniscule budget. Reportedly it was about $25,000....and it shows.
The Ape costume is easily the worst I have ever seen. It's almost inconceivable that they used such a poor costume. It is ragged. It has tears and holes and looks ridiculously bad. Why make the movie if you don't even have the budget to buy a new one from a costume shop.
The acting at times is incredibly bad. Most notably the opening scene is beyond bad. From listening to the commentary we learn that this scene was shot at the very end. The actors were probably drunk and very much looked it. They were given alcohol to stay warm as it was very cold when this scene was shot.
Some of the miniatures used for special effects were probably the worst I have ever seen. I'm not sure when some of the scenes were filmed. Perhaps they were filmed for padding at the end. Chris Alexander states that there were a lot of scenes added for padding. It almost looks as if they were filming a Saturday Night Live skit. Just take a look at the model boat and the model cow used. This just can't have been done seriously.
The shark used to portray 'Jaws' was obviously dead. The scene was stupendously bad. You can see the actors t-shirt through a hole in the costume at several points and you can also see something inside the sharks mouth at certain points in an attempt to keep it's mouth open.
The military gets a special thanks in the opening credits. I'm not so sure they were thrilled with the credit when they saw the movie. They were used for filming some scenes with helicopters and other ground assault vehicles.
THOUGHT'S: Obviously if you are reading this review and have made it this far then you already know what you are in for and have very probably seen the movie and just want to see what someone else thinks of it. Well....if you are a lover of terrible movies then this one is one you want. Often the phrase 'so bad it's funny' is used for bad movies. I find that I don't find a lot of terrible movies very funny. But this one is, possibly intentionally so. Chris Alexander notes that the director may have given up at one point and deliberately made scenes ridiculous.
I almost stopped watching this movie the first time I saw it because of the opening scene. I know that it was filmed last but I felt they shouldn't have put it at the beginning. Especially since they did have a small miniature city set that was at least respectable. But I kept going and the movie got better. That is to say it went from horrendous to just incredibly bad.
There are actually some decent miniature sets. Though they are obviously just window dressing. Soon as they are ripped apart you can tell that they have no 'depth' and that they are just basically empty facades. But they look decent enough up until they get destroyed. There appears to be at least some effort put into making them look real.
RECOMMENDATIONS/CONCLUSIONS: I give the movie zero stars for a monster (kaiju) movie or 4 stars if you are want to see a 'so bad it's funny' movie. It gets 3 stars for extra's. Mainly a decent commentary track. I'm not sure how to rate the quality of the print and 3-D. I'll call it 3 stars for each. I felt that the there is still room for improvement if anybody ever bothers to do the work. Subtitles would have been helpful at certain points.
Overall 3 stars.
Strictly for fans of bad movies. There is no other reason to buy this even if you are a fan of 3-D.
You can tell a lot of love and effort was put into this.
Okay the Gorilla suit is pretty hilarious, but the acting all - round is really good, and you can see a lot of effort went into making this an epic film.
Watch the sincerity of the extras' acting!
Shame about the silly Gorilla suit but there is something oddly charming about the miniature sets and kooky special effects.
I loved it. Good addition to my 3D collection. My favourite scenes are at the Korean Airport- the depth and 3D is very true.
If you like camp & sub Ed Wood quality movies for laughs presented in surprisingly good 3d you may enjoy this film, otherwise rewatch the original 1933 classic King Kong I enjoy guilty pleasures & this film certainly falls into that catagory
don't match my memories, it is still a lot of fun to watch.
Most recent customer reviews
Talon: It's tough to get through. Most of the scenes are military people talking on the phone, or the main two actors making...Read more
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