Mighty Peking Man
Sure to drive you wild - here's one of the funniest, most hysterically campy movies ever made: The Mighty Peking Man! A powerful earthquake awakens a giant, ape-like creature who descends from the mountains into the treacherous jungles of India. Later, an expedition of greedy showmen capture the fearsome beast, bringing him...and the scantily clad blonde bombshell he protects...back to civilization! But payback comes when The Mighty Peking Man breaks loose and begins to run amok in the heart of the city! An outrageous adventure that never takes itself too seriously - treat yourself to a guilty pleasure that has entertained critics and late-night movie audiences everywhere!
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What makes Mighty Peking Man such a trashy delight? It's not just the absurdly obvious special effects and atrocious dubbing--those are the easy laughs--it's the over-the-top romantic and dramatic moments that really push this movie into camp heaven. When a gigantic ape-man destroys a village in a remote jungle, a fiendish promoter decides to capture this prehistoric creature and put him on display. He hires Johnny (Danny Lee, who resembles current Canto-pop superstar Andy Lau), a heartbroken adventurer, to hunt Peking Man down. Hardly five minutes go by without some life-threatening danger; in just the first half-hour there's an earthquake, a tiger attack, and a fatal mountain-climbing accident, and that's in addition to the rampaging man-ape and bottle-blond jungle queen Samantha (the lovely Evelyne Kraft), who occasionally falls out of her already skimpy jungle attire. It seems that Samantha survived a plane crash that killed her parents and was kept alive by Peking Man--though where she finds her mascara is never explained. After falling in love with Johnny, she helps him bring Peking Man back to civilization. By the time Peking Man is unleashing devastation on downtown Hong Kong, the movie has reached a giddy delirium that defies all logic. Part soap opera, part monster madness, Mighty Peking Man is completely entertaining. --Bret Fetzer
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I loved the contrast of the stage set with the background scenery. Clearly this was done as a tribute to those old Tarzan films were they would weave stock footage into the film. There is also an Ed Wood influence.
Evelyn Craft runs around as if she is on frame or move from popping out of her top.
Very high camp value. Great with the funny stuff.
There is one quick nude scene, however in this version the extended nudity has been cut out. Nudity in trailers.
So what about the movie? Okay, here it goes...the film starts off in Hong Kong, and shows some Chinese guys talking over a newspaper reporting on a giant footprint found in the Himalayas. They seem awful excited, as they have dreams of fame, fortune, and pennywhistles dancing in their heads if they could ever capture the creature that made this footprint, and bring it back to Hong Kong. Cutting to what I am assuming is some sort of flashback, we see a primitive jungle village (okay, a cheesy looking miniature of a primitive jungle village), all peaceful and calm, suddenly torn apart by a violent earthquake. The quake not only shakes up the villagers and such, but awakens Mighty Peking Man, who happened to be sleeping, or frozen into, a nearby mountainside. He proceeds to trash the village, and we get to see a whole lot of crummy blue screen work as natives run to and fro, shrieking and getting squashed by flying debris, as they're oft to do...after cutting back to the Chinese men, they decide to mount an expedition to capture the monster, and enlist the aid of Johnny, another Chinese man, one who agrees readily to lead them as he just had a falling out with his girlfriend, told through a tedious and particularly nauseating flashback later in the film, and is willing to risk life and limb just to get out of town.
As the men travel to where they think the Mighty Peking Man might be, they encounter all kinds of jungle dangers, stuck carts in shallow rivers, stampeding herds of elephants (yeah, keep shooting that .38 revolver at them, I am sure that will do the trick), man hungry leopards, quicksand, and precarious cliffs. Just to give you an idea how `professional' this expedition actually is, the men scale the particularly steep cliff using a grappling hook. Needless to say, various pack-bearing natives are lost through all these encounters. After finding some giant footy prints, they decide to follow them, and then set up camp. During the night, the remaining members decide to leave, all the bad stuff that has happened up until this point has them discouraged, I guess, so they sneak out and leave Johnny, who awakes the next morning to find himself alone. While wandering around, looking for the rest of his party, he gets scooped up by Mighty Peking Man (Johnny seems painfully disconnected to his surroundings, or Mighty Peking Man is awful stealthy, given that he's like 60 some feet tall) and also meets a blonde jungle girl named Samantha, who seems to have control over Mighty Peking Man, along with many other jungle creatures. The Johnny and the jungle girl, who is sporting barely there animal skins, develop a relationship, and Johnny convinces her to get Mighty Peking Man to take them to civilization. This sets up for one of the men, the greedy capitalist and leader of the group who was on the expedition originally, to make Johnny adhere to the deal and Mighty Peking Man is soon chained on the forward deck of a steamship.
On arriving at Hong Kong, Mighty Peking Man is put on display at what appears to be a monster truck rally, and Samantha is beginning to regret her decision about leaving the jungle. Oh yeah, she continues to run around in her skimpy animal skins. The evil capitalist exploits Mighty Peking Man in rather cruel fashion, and even attacks the blonde in a lusty manner (yuck) which cause Mighty Peking Man to go insane in the membrane, breaking free of his chains and cage and run amok in Hong Kong, which seems rather scarcely populated...maybe it's the off season. He smashes empty buildings and stomps on cars filled with jet fuel, based on the explosive reaction after said cars get stomped on...he also squishes a number of fleeing pedestrians, in less than realistic fashion. This sets up the final climatic fight scene with Mighty Peking Man on top of a tall building, battling helicopters (I know I've seen this somewhere before), and his eventual flaming, crashing, demise (big surprise). I really loved how the authorities dealt with the creature, and how little regard they had for the surrounding public they were trying to protect.
Yeah, The Mighty Peking Man is an obvious rip-off of King Kong (1933) and Mighty Joe Young (1949), one that lacks even the most basic shred of likeability of those two films. The monkey suit looks about as good as costumes donned in a Toho Godzilla release. The dubbing is exceptional bad throughout the film, and the miniatures are all that great, either. The extra poor treatment of Mighty Peking Man by his captors, beating his feet with bamboo sticks and such, meant to make us feel sorry for him, was so obviously blatant as all it did was illuminated the stupidity of the makers of this film, and their incredibly lame efforts to try and garner emotion from the audience. Given the unresponsive nature of the man in the rubber monkey suit, this was certainly a difficult task
The wide screen print does look pretty good, and special features include a theatrical trailer for The Mighty Peking Man along with trailers for Switchblade Sisters (1975) and From Dusk Till Dawn 3: The Hangman's Daughter (2000).
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