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Issue #131 HOME E-mail: mail@dighkmovies.com BACK ISSUES October 28th, 2002

The Mighty Peking Man
(1977; Shaw Brothers)

A Masterpiece
Highly Recommended
Very Good
Marginal Recommendation
Not Recommended
Definitely Not Recommended

Cantonese: Sing sing wong
Mandarin: Xing xing wang
English: King Orangutan

Alternate North American Title: Goliathon
Alternate European Title: Colussus of the Congo

Shaw Brothers' disastrous attempt to cash in on the anticipated success of Dino DeLaurentiis' big budget KING KONG remake, THE MIGHTY PEKING MAN is unintentionally hilarious from start to finish and a must for bad movie addicts. When a giant ape starts crushing villagers in the Himalayas, shifty conman Lu Tien (Ku Feng) decides to capture the creature and put it on display in HK. He is able to convince adventurer Johnny Feng (Danny Lee Sau-yin, billed under his Mandarin name Li Hsiu-hsien) to head up an expedition through the Indian jungle, where they must fend off stock footage of charging elephants and a tiger that looks more interested in wrestling than mauling. Having lost all of his porters, Lu abandons Johnny but the latter is saved by Samantha (LADY DRACULA's Evelyne Kraft, who also appeared in SB's CHARLIE'S ANGELS ripoff, THE DEADLY ANGELS), a beautiful blonde jungle girl with perfect make-up and a fashionable animal skin bikini. It just so happens that her "pet," Utam, is the gargantuan ape that has been wreaking havoc in the area. The two fall in love (Johnny and Samantha, that is) and she agrees to let Utam be brought to HK. The ape is put on display to record crowds but breaks out of captivity when he (somehow) manages to see Lu trying to rape Samantha. After stepping on his human opponent for Samantha's affections, Utam proceeds to go ape in the streets.

A major production by Shaw standards, this made a quick exit from HK theatres and reportedly did no better in other territories. While not as bad its counterpart in the Korean-made A*P*E, the ape suit still looks comically unconvincing and the rear screen projection work manages to be even worse than that seen in the DeLaurentiis film. The rotten English dialogue and dubbing adds another level of enjoyment ("This is Samantha. She was raised in the jungle, you know.") but even more amusing is the sight of Kraft, walking the streets of HK in her bikini, and attracting no attention whatsoever! Also worthy of mention is the score, which consists of overstated DeWolfe library cues and a wonderfully awful romantic ballad that evokes memories of Kipp Hamilton's "The Words Get Stuck In My Throat" from THE WAR OF THE GARGANTUAS. Some ham-fisted attempts at pathos are actually strangely effective but everything else here is either so laughably cliched or just plain wrongheaded, you have to wonder just who at the studio thought that the public would ever buy this load of hokum.

Cover art courtesy Miramax.

Danny Lee & Evelyne Kraft. Image courtesy Miramax.

The Mighty Peking Man! Image courtesy Miramax.
Miramax/Rolling Thunder #18285 (U.S. Label)

Dolby Digital 2.0

Dubbed In English

Optional English Captions

15 Chapters Illustrated In the Menu With Stills

Enhanced for 16:9 Displays

Letterboxed (2.30:1)

Macrovision Encoded

Coded for Region 1 Only

NTSC Format

90 Minutes

Contains moderate violence and some sexuality

DVD menu courtesy Mirmax.

Nova Scotia: 14 (Violent Scenes)
Ontario: AA (Violence)
Singapore: PG
United States: PG-13 (for Violence and Sensuality)

Directed by Ho Meng-hua (BLACK MAGIC, REVENGE OF THE ZOMBIES), THE MIGHTY PEKING MAN was first released to domestic English theatres in 1980, by World Northal, under the head-scratcher title GOLIATHON. Quentin Tarantino caught up with the movie at some point, realized its potential for the midnight circuit, and re-released it in 1999 through his Rolling Thunder company. Aside from the fact that the new release restores the Shaw Brothers logo to the height of the print, along with the bilingual opening credits, the two versions are identical. The anamorphic image looks sharp and colorful, a definite improvement over World Northal's overly bright and pre-cropped TV prints of GOLIATHON (which were also slightly cut to eliminate some almost subliminal nudity). In fact, the improved picture and presentation on the DVD has the unexpected benefit of making the miniature work (done by a Toho FX team) seem more convincing and effective, thanks to the restoration of detail and an improved sense of perspective. Miramax's source material has some very mild wear in spots but is clean overall. The sound is strident and scratchy, with some distortion on the high end and little bass, but no worse than earlier versions. A trailer created for the reissue (which consists of scenes from the movie emblazoned with 1950s-style hyperbole) is included and the disc opens with previews for RT's re-issue of SWITCHBLADE SISTERS (the original Centaur spot, with critic quotes tagged on the end) and FROM DUSK TILL DAWN 3: THE HANGMAN'S DAUGHTER. (If you would like to bypass these and get straight to the movie, the only way to do it is with your chapter skip button) The disc includes both optional captions and closed captions, which relay the dialogue and sound FX thoroughly, though the chapter titles and keep case guide incorrectly refer to Kraft's character as "Stephanie."

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