King Kong Lives – USA, 1986

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‘America’s Biggest Hero is back… and He’s not happy.’

King Kong Lives, also known as King Kong II, is a 1986 American monster film produced by DEG Studios (Maximum Overdrive; Trick or Treat; Evil Dead II). Directed by John Guillermin and featuring special effects by Carlo Rambaldi, the film stars Linda Hamilton (The Terminator) and Brian Kerwin. It was a belated sequel to the 1976 King Kong.

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Having been shot down from the World Trade Center in 1976, King Kong is kept alive in a coma for about ten years at the Atlantic Institute, under the care of surgeon Dr. Amy Franklin (Linda Hamilton). In order to save Kong’s life, Dr. Franklin must perform a heart transplant and give Kong a computer-monitored artificial heart. However, he lost so much blood that a transfusion is badly needed.

Enter adventurer Hank Mitchell (Brian Kerwin), who captures a giant female gorilla in Borneo (Mitchell theorises that Borneo and the island from the first movie were once part of the same landmass), bringing her to the Institute so her blood can be used for Kong’s operation. The transfusion and the heart transplant are a success, but Kong escapes along with the female, who is dubbed “Lady Kong”…

Reviews:

“The problem with everyone in King Kong Lives is that they’re in a boring movie, and they know they’re in a boring movie, and they just can’t stir themselves to make an effort.” RogerEbert.com

“Mere description cannot do this film justice. Neither the brain dead dialogue nor its delivery help us to resist deriding it at every turn. And in scene after scene, little touches like the Buick-sized artificial heart, the squishy/sucky sound effects during Kong’s surgery, or the dopey lovesick smiles on the apes’ faces prompt fits of disbelieving snickers.” John Wilson, The Official Razzie Movie Guide

Cast and characters:

  • Brian Kerwin as Hank Mitchell
  • Linda Hamilton as Dr. Amy Franklin
  • Peter Elliott as King Kong
  • John Ashton as Lt.Col. Archie Nevitt
  • George Yiasoumi as Lady Kong
  • Benjamin Kechley as Baby Kong
  • Frank Maraden as Dr. Benson Hughes
  • Peter Michael Goetz as Dr. Andrew Ingersoll
  • Jimmie Ray Weeks as Major Peete
  • Jimmy Wiggins as Boyfriend
  • Mary Swafford as Girlfriend
  • Michael Forest as Vance
  • Leon Rippy as Will
  • Herschel Sparber as Jay
  • Wallace Merck as Chigger
  • Dean Whitworth as Scruffy
  • Jonathan Canfield as Jump Ranger #1
  • Jack Wheeler (twin) as Officer #1
  • Joe Wheeler (twin) as Officer #2
  • David Hartzell as Sergeant #1
  • Patrick Webb as Infantryman
  • Greg Hendrixson as Jump Ranger #2
  • Jim Grimshaw as Sergeant
  • Robin Cahall as Mazlansky
  • Matt Totty as Sgt. Tucker
  • Rod Davis as TV Reporter

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Trivia:

King Kong Lives is listed in Golden Raspberry Award founder John Wilson’s book The Official Razzie Movie Guide as one of The 100 Most Enjoyably Bad Movies Ever Made

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