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  Mighty Peking Man, The Let's Give Him A Big Hand
Year: 1977
Director: Ho Meng-hua
Stars: Evelyne Kraft, Danny Lee, Chen Cheng-feng, Ah Wei, Huang Tsui-hua, Lu Tien, Chen Shi-yu, Ah Lung, Ah Pi, Chen Ping
Genre: Action, Trash, FantasyBuy from Amazon
Rating:  8 (from 3 votes)
Review: News reaches Hong Kong of an incredible creature, unleashed on the Himalayas after an earthquake. It's known as the Mighty Peking Man, a gigantic ape, and a party is sent out to track it down led by Johnny Fang (Danny Lee), who has recently split up with his girlfriend after she had an affair with his brother. Johnny throws himself into the quest, and there are dangers along the way as they travel through India to reach the home of the ape, but only when the rest of the party gives up and abandons him in the jungle, does Johnny find what he's looking for - and gets more than he expected.

When Dino De Laurentiis came up with his King Kong remake, this cash-in on the old story turned up soon after, nominally written by Yi Kuang, but in fact a rehashing of all the clich├ęs. Taking the Yeti legend and making him into a King Kong clone is what happens at first, but by the time the great ape makes it to civilsation, he acts more like a Japanese giant monster who should be battling Godzilla as he causes wanton destruction, smashing up buildings and terrorising the populace with his newfound stomping technique.

But there's an extra element added to the mix, in the shape of Samantha (Evelyne Kraft), a young lady who was orphaned in a plane crash as a child, and was brought up by the ape in a female variation on Tarzan. Speaking in fractured English and dressed in an animal skin bikini that she constantly threatens to pop out of (and sometimes does), she is MPM's closest friend, and a love triangle develops when she meets Johnny and he saves her from a snake bite, with MPM's assistance.

Somehow Johnny manages to persuade Samantha to return to Hong Kong with him, accompanied by MPM, and the ape is chained to the deck of a ship and transported over the sea to Hong Kong. All the while, Samantha is learning, and rejecting wearing clothes, so we get that old nature versus society theme that, as we know it must, results in all round tragedy for everybody involved. You can take the Mighty Peking Man and his girlfriend out of the jungle, but...

The film is nothing if not eventful, although the story is so familiar that you could have written it yourself. The special effects are certainly ambitious, but the execution is laughable, with obvious miniatures and unconvincing projections; still, this gives the enterprise a camp appeal that not even the attempt at a depressing ending can completely wipe out. The supposed pathos is less than affecting, and you're more likely to be won over by the ridiculousness of it all than by the torrid emotions and injustice meted out to the jungle visitors. Nice try, but file it in the "entertaining for all the wrong reasons" category.

Aka: Hsing Hsing Wang, Goliathon
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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