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Askew Review 15

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MIGHTY PEKING MAN (Rolling Thunder) 1977. Campy monster romp. 100 minutes. NR. The natives of a remote Himalayan village carry on their lives just like every other ordinary day. Until that is, a giant earthquake (of course the mountains in the background shake before the village in the foreground does) unsettles a giant 10 story gorilla like beast. As the natives run for cover, the monster stomps on people and destroys the village. Soon enough, the rumors and stories hit Hong Kong and Johnny Feng is hired to lead an expedition of explorers to investigate the legend of THE MIGHTY PEKING MAN…PEKING MAN....PEKING MAN…Peking man…. A few days into their adventure, things start to go wrong. One man has his leg bitten off by a tiger, other men step into quick sand (the quickest quick sand ever by the way), and a few poor souls tumble to their death while climbing the side of a mountain. Thinking that the conquest is futile, the remaining men abandon Johnny and leave him to continue on his own. Within minutes of his loneliness, Johnny finds himself running for his life from the Mighty Man himself. Just when Johnny appears doomed, he is saved by an absolutely gorgeous animal skin clad blond woman who orders The Beast away. As the time passes, we learn that the woman’s name is Samantha, she was the lone survivor of a plane crash that killed her parents when she was a child, and that her and The Mighty Peking Man are pals. After teaching Samantha English, Johnny assures her that it is best to bring her and Mighty Man to Honk Kong for all to see. Somehow, someway, The Mighty Peking Man finds himself chained to a huge barge heading for Honk Kong while Johnny and Samantha do the dirty below deck. When in Honk Kong, The Mighty Man finds himself in a jam packed stadium being pulled around by big dump trucks (think Tonka Toys) and being pelted by rotten fruit thrown by Honk Kong’s finest. To make a long review short, Mighty Man sees Samantha getting smacked around and flips out. He escapes and goes on a rampage destroying Hong Kong. Only Samantha can help save him.
        Ok, I could have gone on and on with this review, but I held back. I LOVED this hilarious monster flic. The famous Shaw Brothers made this one in a hurry after the success of Dino De Laurentiis’ 1976 release of King Kong. Mighty Peking Man was done quickly, cheaply, and it shows. However, all that cheapness only adds to the goofiness of this movie. Some quick notes on this movie; while bonding with Johnny, Samantha is bitten by a snake on her inner thigh. Johnny then sucks the venom out of the bite, which is about four inches from her crotch. All of the jungle animals love Samantha, why didn’t that snake? When Johnny and Sam first meet, Samantha only speaks some weird jungle language and all the animals, including Peking Man understands her. However, even after teaching her crude English, all the animals and Peking Man still understand her! While destroying Honk Kong, Peking Man dwarfs all the buildings. However, there is one building that he is able to scale at the end of the movie. That would mean that building would have to be about 10 times the size of the rest of the buildings. I’ve seen better ape costumes being worn by five-year-olds on Haloween. When Peking Man sees Johnny and Sam porking, he gets all bummed out and cries. He even kicks at the ground as if saying, “Aww, shucks!” Evelyne Kraft (Samantha) is a BABE and she looks remarkably like Tonya Roberts in Sheena: Queen of the Jungle. She also always has on eyeliner and lip-gloss, a bit odd for a jungle woman don’t you think? Quentin Tarantino brought this gem back from the dead through his Rolling Thunder label. The movie ran on the midnight movie circuit last year and is now available on video. Yes, I know Miramax, which is owned by Disney, owns Rolling Thunder. Who cares, this movie is flat out fun. If you liked all those Saturday afternoon creature-feature, Japanese monster flics, you will adore this baby. Go here to view the trailer. – Denis Sheehan


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