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Issue #155a HOME E-mail: mail@dighkmovies.com BACK ISSUES April 14th, 2003

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:
Colossus of the Congo

I reviewed Miramax's English-dubbed Region 1 DVD of this Shaw Brothers production in issue #131 and my evaluation of the film can also be found there. As with the company's kung fu pictures, THE MIGHTY PEKING MAN plays much differently in its original Chinese version. The Mandarin revoicing is handled far more competently, making the storyline's melodramatic asides easier to take, and the English subtitled dialogue is considerably less absurd than the dubbing script.

This is a conspicuously silly movie in any language but, with the original Chinese track now available, it can be enjoyed as a guilty pleasure rather than a "so bad, it's good" item, the only reception that could be accorded previously. Incidentally, some sources claim that the HK version boasts a more upbeat ending but minor alterations in the score are the only noticeable variation.

Screen grabs (courtesy Intercontinental): Danny Lee Sau-yin, Evelyne Kraft and The Mighty Peking Man!

Cover art courtesy Intercontinental.
Intercontinental #612060 (Hong Kong label)

Dolby Digital 5.1

Dubbed Mandarin Language Track

Optional Subtitles in English, Traditional Chinese, Malaysian, and Indonesian

12 Chapters Illustrated in the Menu With (Tiny) Clips

Letterboxed (2.40:1)

Coded for Region 3 Only

NTSC Format

86 Minutes (at 25 frames-per-second)

Contains moderate violence and some sexuality

DVD menu courtesy Intercontinental.

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

The Miramax DVD of THE MIGHTY PEKING MAN seemed quite good at the time though, upon reflection, that may have partially been because World Northal's cropped 16mm TV prints were so awful. Although it lacks the American disc's anamorphic enhancement, Celestial's restored presentation looks and sounds better. Miramax's source material contains a dusting of speckles and some dirt, and the sound is quite flat and noisy. Celestial has done their usual thorough digital scrub job and the image looks 99% spotless throughout (a few insert shots of the ape are plagued by faint white scratches that may have occurred during the original photography). Colors and contrasts are also improved, though the difference is not as dramatic. The 5.1 re-mix is very clean and gives the audio some welcome dimension, though purists might be annoyed by the added insect noises, surf, etc. Framing is a toss-up: the R1 disc has a bit more on the top and left side, while the R3 displays a little extra on the right side and bottom; the differences are insignificant.

As far as the film extras go, the Miramax disc offered just the Rolling Thunder reissue trailer and Celestial has only provided slightly more. The packaging promises a trailer but it is really a video promo spot (additional ones for BUDDHA'S PALM, SHAOLIN TEMPLE, THE HAPPIEST MOMENT, and WHEN THE CLOUDS ROLL BY are included in the New Releases section). The Movie Information section serves up the original poster, a still gallery, production notes (simply a replication of the single paragraph synopsis included on the case), and bilingual bios and filmographies (the latter listing only the titles Celestial has the rights to) for Danny Lee Sau-yin, Evelyne Kraft, Hsiao Yao, Ku Feng, and director Ho Meng-hua. It is a shame that the disc does not contain any interviews but Lee reportedly shows no interest in discussing his past work.

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