Film Review: King Kong Lives (1986)

Release Date: December 19th, 1986
Directed by: John Guillermin
Written by: Ronald Shusett, Steven Pressfield
Based on: King Kong by James Creelman, Ruth Rose, Merian C. Cooper, Edgar Wallace
Music by: John Scott
Cast: Brian Kerwin, Linda Hamilton, John Ashton, Peter Michael Goetz

Dino De Laurentiis Group, 105 Minutes


This was the second and final King Kong picture to be put out by Dino De Laurentiis. It is also considered to be the worst King Kong film ever made. It is. Although, I think that the 3.8 rating on IMDb is a bit harsh.

King Kong Lives reveals, ten years later, that despite getting blasted with miniguns and falling off of the World Trade Center, somehow Kong is still alive. I mean, in the previous film, we saw him blasted to chunks, fall off of the tallest structure in the world and then watched him lay in the street, a bloody mess, until his heart literally stopped beating. But the giant ape is still alive!

In this film, Kong smells a lady Kong from far away. He breaks out of the lab he lives in, finds her and frees her. The two Kongs run off into the country to be alone but the military has other ideas. So Linda Hamilton, best known as Sarah Connor in Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgment Day, and her male scientist friend lover guy are in a race against time to save Kong from the gung ho kaiju hunting Army.

It may be worth mentioning that you get a quick flash of Linda Hamilton boobage in this movie. It’s a blink and you’ll miss it sort of scenario but because of how quick it was, I’m surprised they even did it or that she agreed to it. It’s bizarre and so fast that it is damn near pointless, other than going, “Wha… was that Sarah Connor boob?.. rewind it!”

The film takes place over the course of a few days but somehow, Mr. Kong gets Mrs. Kong pregnant and she gives birth almost immediately with no physical signs that she is carrying. For the most part, the plot is really friggin’ stupid. Maybe that 3.8 rating isn’t that far off, actually.

However, Mr. Kong dies an equally violent death, as he did in the previous film. He dies protecting Mrs. Kong while she is giving birth. The dying Mr. Kong passes away, in a bloody lump, as he lovingly stares into the eyes of the newly born Kong Jr. Maybe I’m a sentimental sucker but the scene got me emotionally. The fact that this crappy movie was able to generate any sort of real feels makes it better than a 3.8 rated film.

The highlight is Mr. Kong fighting the Army head on. One other highlight, is the part where Mr. Kong gets revenge on some inbred redneck pieces of crap who were tormenting him. I did feel bad that the nicer redneck met his demise though, as he tried to spare Kong the torment and humiliation, only to be beat up by his buddies and then crushed by Mr. Kong.

In the end, Mrs. Kong and Kong Jr. are able to live out their lives in the wild and in happiness. We can assume that all went well for them, as Dino De Laurentiis didn’t find it necessary to do a third film where mother and son Kong were blasted away into bloody chunks.

Rating: 5/10