Happy Cinco de Mayo everyone. So there is a particular movie coming out at the end of the month, and I decided to review some appropriate movies to get myself even more in the mood for it than I already am. So today I decided to start with a quaint little King Kong knock off. So today’s movie was basically an attempt to cash in on all the publicity surrounding Dino DeLaurentis’ remake of King Kong, but would actually come out 2 months earlier than that movie. I have watched this movie several years ago and wasn’t overly impressed by it but it is always a good idea to give B-movies a second chance, as they might surprise you by being laughably bad. So let’s see what we have in store as I re-watch A*P*E.
The plot: As an oil tanker is sailing close to South Korea, two men are talking on deck when a massive, 36 foot gorilla breaks free from the tanks it was in, destroying the ship in the process. As the gorilla heads towards shore, a large shark attacks it but the gorilla easily kills it, then continues towards shore, where it destroys several buildings before disappearing into the jungle. The next day, American actress Marilyn Baker arrives in South Korea to shoot her first picture outside of the U.S. and is surprised to find her lover, journalist Tom Rose, is outside the airport waiting for her. AS Tom offers to escort Marilyn to her hotel, he tries to talk to her about wanting a more serious relationship with her but Marilyn tells him she is focused on her career and doesn’t want anything more than to be casual lovers as they are now. Meanwhile, the giant gorilla appears outside a small village in the jungle, causing the villagers to flee in terror. Captain Kim of the South Korea police receives a phone call, where he is told about giant footprints, but he dismisses the story as someone’s imagination gone wild. When a U.S. soldier comes across the wreckage of a military checkpoint, he calls in to his superior but Colonel Davis thinks it is nothing more than publicity for the movie being shot. As more people report seeing the giant gorilla, Kim begins to believe the stories but when he talks about the matter with Davis, Davis is still skeptical, jokingly asking someone if they think the gorilla is King Kong. When the gorilla shows up where a martial arts movie is filming an outdoor scene, the actors manage to chase it away by shooting flaming arrows at it. Hearing this, Davis reluctantly believes the gorilla is real but attempts to keep it from the public during an impromptu press conference, causing Tom to get suspicious about the matter. Tom then heads to the set where Marilyn is filming and warns her about the gorilla, telling her she should go back to Seoul, but Marilyn tells him she can’t go back until Friday, which is when they will finish shooting, and the two kiss before she goes back to work. As the gorilla continues making its way through the countryside, villages are evacuated ahead of time, while Tom and Kim attempt to figure out where it is going. The gorilla happens across where Marilyn’s movie is shooting and grabs her, carrying her away into hills. When Tom and Kim hear about this, they chase after the gorilla just as the military shows up to try and kill him. The gorilla begins fighting with the military and Tom uses the opportunity to rescue Marilyn and drive back to Seoul, while the gorilla gives the military the finger at their failed attempt. As Davis discusses the situation with his superiors, he says that the gorilla is heading to Seoul, apparently to reclaim Marilyn, and he is upset to learn that he is to capture the gorilla, not kill it. Tom takes Marilyn to Kim’s house, leaving her with Kim’s wife and children, then he meets back up with Kim to discuss what to do about the gorilla. The gorilla reaches Seoul and begins trashing the city as it searches for Marilyn, eventually finding and recapturing her. The gorilla heads back to the hills, with the military going after it again, only Davis disobeys orders and orders his men to kill it, not capture it. The military eventually manages to kill the gorilla, and Tom manages to locate Marilyn in the cave the gorilla had hidden her in and the two lovers embrace.
Ok, this is just as bad as I remember it being and that is not exactly a good thing. This movie really is terrible. In fact, it seems like the director decided to try and make a terrible movie, hoping people would think it would fall into that “so bad it’s good” laughably bad style. The acting wasn’t really that good, as it seemed like several of the people just didn’t put much effort into their roles. The funny thing about this movie is how much it did kind of point out that it was a spoof of King Kong. I mean, you had the obvious aspect about the giant gorilla going ga-ga over a blond and chasing after her, but you actually had Davis mocking calling the gorilla King Kong. My favorite part though was the fact that the director of the movie that Marilyn was working on was called Dino, which was a nod to Dino DeLaurentis, who was directing the Kong remake. Another thing I thought was interesting was the fight the gorilla had with the shark, which was a total shot at Jaws, which had come out the year before. The special effects were incredibly cheap, as in they only gave $1200 of the movies $23,000 budget towards special effects. To put it in perspective, the model buildings in this movie made the models from the old Gamera movies look like Oscar winning effects in comparison. This is one of those movies that might be worth watching once just to say you watched it, but not for much other reason.
Rating: 1 1/2 out of 5