King Kong Escapes

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“The fate of the world hangs in the balance as King Kong fights the King Kong robot!”

What happens when everyone’s favorite super-sized gorilla is forced to do battle with the tin can terror known as Mechani-Kong, built by the nefarious Dr. Who? (No, not the British guy in the time-traveling telephone booth … the other Dr. Who, the one you’ve never heard of). Based on the evidence in this supremely goofy 1967 Japanese monster flick, a whole lot of laugh-inducing monkey shines, that’s what! In this crazed collaboration between Japan’s famous Toho Studios and American cartoon company Rankin/Bass Productions (creators of such ‘60s stop-motion animation TV classics as Rudolf, the Red-Nosed Reindeer), the conniving Dr. Who (a delightfully hammy Japanese rip-off of a Bond villain) builds a robot Kong in order to retrieve a highly radioactive element for his mysterious boss, Madame X. But when the lame robot proves less than reliable, the devious duo scheme to kidnap the real Kong from his remote island home of Mondo. But interfering with their evil plans are a heroic submarine crew – Commander Carl Nelson, Lieutenant Jiro Nomura and Kong’s current crush, sexy blonde nurse Lieutenant Susan Watson. It’s up to them to outwit the greedy ape-nappers as the not-so-majestic King Kong (complete with a crinkly papier-mâché face, googly eyes and a grungy fur coat) battles silly island monsters, fondles Susan with his vinyl couch-like fingers and eventually battles Mechani-Kong in an explosive (well, not exactly explosive …) climax atop Tokyo Tower. Fast-paced and fun as only a mid-‘60s Japanese sci-fi creature feature/spy thriller produced by Toho and Rankin/Bass could be, this is one monster mash that’s guaranteed to drive you bananas! (Dir. by Ishiro Honda, 1967, Japan, dubbed in English, 96 mins., Rated G) Digital