....no. No they're not.
Dino De Laurentiis' sequel to his 1976 King Kong remake, King Kong Lives is absolute garbage. Easily earning its reputation as one of the worst Kong movies out there. Easily earning the terrible reputation it has amongst the Kong fanbase. And despite me not exactly liking Rotten Tomatoes as a source, it easily earns that 0% approval rating. Because the movie fucking sucks. And before anyone asks, yes. It is worse than Queen Kong. I don't think the question needs to be asked. That question being, "what's wrong with the movie?". The question should really be...what's NOT wrong with it? And I don't know the answer to that question.
Right off the bat this film does nothing but present questions that are never answered. The film takes place ten years after the events of the previous movie. Kong apparently has survived his fall from the World Trade Center, and has been kept alive in a coma by this...Institute in Atlanta. Because...that's a thing now. First thing in the movie. Makes. NO. Sense. Why would a school keep Kong alive? Especially if it's running them seven million dollars? Especially after Kong has proven to to be a dangerous animal? Did the government approve of this? Guess what. None of these questions are answered. We just gotta roll with it. We see Linda Hamilton, not playing Sarah Connor, as this doctor in charge of replacing Kong's heart I guess because it's failing, but because he's been in a coma for so long, not even a transplant will save Kong. Not without a blood transfusion of a similar species. What a coincidence, another giant ape is found immediately afterwards, and is a female. And it's all history from here folks. They capture the female, proceed with the transplant and transfusion, Kong wakes up, senses the female, and the two develop a bond, while being pursued by the military, and while Sarah Connor and discount Indiana Jones form a pointless bond of their own, and try to preserve both specimens. And Lady Kong gets pregnant, and has a mini-kong. This movie sucks.
The list of problems I have with this movie is endless. Like the surgery for Kong in the beginning of the movie. So they need to take his heart out. Does...no one here know just how much work would go into replacing the heart of a 50 foot ape? The bigger question is does Kong even have a sternum? Because if he does, it's about as thick as my dinner table at home. But then again, a simple bump on the head in a river knocks Kong out, and bloodies up the water in a few short seconds later in the movie. Might also explain how a tribe managed to tranquilize lady Kong with blow guns, or how Kong was in any way hurt by tiny little bullets of a handgun during the climax. Seriously with all this in perspective, it's a wonder Kong survived falling off the Twin Towers at all. Wait a moment...it just came to me. HOW did Kong not suffer much more damage falling from the top of the Trade Center? With as quick a recovery he has in this movie after being in a coma for ten years, I'm having a hard time buying the entire scenario of this movie! I've only been watching a few minutes and this movie is already trying my patience! Back on track, I cannot buy the surgery scene at all. They make it look way too simple. They literally just kinda set the heart in...no one making detailed checks to make sure it's in the exact place it needs to be. Again, this is a fifty foot ape. I think this job would have been a LOT dirtier, and bloody. They just seem to use giant cotton swabs and other oversized tools and make this job look so easy, when it would likely straight up fail. Instead, Kong just suffers a few minor setbacks during his very brief recovery (and I do mean very brief), before he senses the female and takes her away, quite literally in his arms. As strong as before. Who needs rest? Oh and they have this remote control that apparently can fix any complication of Kong's new heart...what is this? Really what is this? That's just....really stupid.
While I'm on the subject of the Kongs, how are they portrayed? No better. The costumes can stick out like a sore thumb. While not as bad as say Queen Kong, the suits aren't that convincing. Kong was better portrayed last movie, and granted the suit wasn't perfect, but the little things are portrayed better. Like his posture. In the previous movie, Kong is a bipedal, walking on two legs, much like the original. Here, they both walk on all four legs, though there are times they constantly switch back and forth. I don't really care if your Kong walks on two legs or four. I love the original in which he walks on two, and I love another movie in which he walks on four. The only problem here is that it creates a continuity clash. Did you not watch your own movie, Dino? They also have arm extenders which while they aren't as noticeable as they are in the Toho movies, do still stick out. Especially when combined with some of these fake-looking sets they use. Also apparently Kong is a meat eater now, despite the movie clearly showing him as a plant eater first. I mean...apes are herbivores. That makes sense. Then the movie says he can't live without eating about 1000 pounds of protein a day, before we see him munching on bunch of alligators (that's not an exaggeration either, we see them just dangling from his mouth). Even a person later on. In a really dumb...dumb scene. The roars...oh my God. I wanna take back all the bad things I said about the last film as far as it being occasionally annoying. The roars here are INCREDIBLY annoying. And what adds to this is thar the trailer advertised Kong with his previous roar. Here, it sounds nothing alike, and was likely produced by modulating human vocals. Every roar makes me wanna turn the volume off. They sound like shit. And it doesn't help that there are scenes with just constant roaring. I also really don't care how these two apes act. They behave a little too much like humans than they do apes. Kong carries her out like a newlywed husband, there are scenes in which they bond in which they part with each other and fake each other out, it just doesn't feel right. Times they look at each other, and I just wait for the romantic music cue. Hell, they even seem to understand the humans right down to their language. It's just not believable. I can't think of one thing I liked about how they portrayed them. Even the pregnancy of lady Kong is botched up. I mean she gives birth to an ape...the size of a man. Despite her abdomen being much bigger than that. I mean, what the hell else was in her belly, air?
But if the monsters weren't any good, the human characters of this movie are no better. And that's because practically everyone in this movie is just a one-dimensional asshole in this movie. Like the military Colonel. Who wants to kill Kong, because he's nothing more than a jarhead killing machine...because movie. Literally, the first line the movie uses to describe him, is that he'll shoot any civilian on sight that attempts to break through his perimeter....WHAT? How did this asshole become a Colonel? This guy should be in prison with behavior like that! Yeah, if there's any stragglers you find in the red zone, KILL 'EM ALL! Not like they're citizens or anything. No arrest, just good old fashioned cold blooded murderrr... Literally, the guy's first response to anything going on is to shoot the big monkey. And his jarhead soldiers are no better, I wanted to slap half of them. Like holy cow, stop being so stupid. Why are all of you being so stupid? And it goes beyond the soldiers. There's hunters who manage to briefly capture Kong, who torture him, and treat him like dirt and whatnot just for the sake of being evil, because movie (really it's just a stupid scene), there's the institute heads who have no idea what the hell they seem to be doing, the only two characters in this movie who aren't complete dicks are Sarah Connor and discount Indiana Jones, but their characters are so bland that I don't care about their characters at all. Their relationship literally comes out of nowhere. It sparks from a horrible one-liner from Sarah Connor. "We're primates too." What the hell, movie? What the hell? Sure we have zero development between our characters, but I conveniently have this sleeping bag for two people, despite being single, and you're the only other character who isn't a 100% asshole in this movie. You must be the one. I also found a lot more of the dialogue rather annoying. Like how Sarah Connor can apparently "feel" that Kong is alive, and how she argues that with the Colonel. This is one of those movies, people.
I can't even get a kick out of the action of this movie, because it only happens because the Colonel decides to just be a jarhead. Literally whenever any reason to stop shooting is brought to him, he usually replies with an answer along the lines of, "well I don't care, we're gonna shoot anyway". The climactic fight of this movie is so forced, that it stands out in all the wrong ways. It looks incredibly fake, I'm given literally no other reason to believe that this was supposed to be in this movie, other than to make Kong go out like a hero while his lover goes into labor. Well Kong is gonna die anyway, we might as well just have the movie show him going out in a blaze of glory. If you want Kong to go out in a blaze of glory, is it so much to ask that you not painfully force it? Why should I, the viewer, care about Kong's death, when he himself guaranteed it when he destroyed the one device that could have saved him in the first place? I didn't bat an eye when the military was shooting him up. Why? Because I already knew he was going to die. The jarhead military just made it more annoying. I couldn't have any fun watching Kong tear the jarhead military a new one.
Watching this movie, I cannot tell you how many times I rubbed my face in frustration. The fact that it dumbfounded me so much, to the fact that I actually went out of my way to find people defending this movie, is just mind-numbing. It's like me, finding someone from the Avatar: The Last Airbender fanbase, defending that atrocious live-action movie made back in the day. I understand that we have guilty pleasures. I myself have them. I get a bit of a laugh watching John Travolra's performance in Battlefield Earth, but I'm not going to defend it because even I know that movie is a bad movie. I enjoy a good amount of films by Roland Emmerich, but they're heavily flawed, and that needs to be pointed out. One particular review I saw for this film, pointed out the flaws of this film, which heavily outweigh anything good...if there is anything good, and defended the movie, giving it a six out of ten. Really?
They went on to say that they did their best with their limited budget to make the best movie they possibly could to rival their 1976 remake. An attempt to up the ante. Well even that remake was flawed. It can be a fun watch, but it's not as good as some make it out to be. I'm going to compare this sequel to another Kong sequel, Son of Kong. Son of Kong was bland and forgettable, but it did its best to give us a fun adventure for what it was. One of the primary reasons it suffered was that it was rushed into production and rushed into theaters, getting released the same year as its predecessor. This 1976 remake had ten years to come up with a quality sequel. Something to give us. And it fucked up at almost every turn. Not even the film's trailer makes it look any good. That blasted tagline "America's biggest hero is back" shown a total of four times, before being spoken a fifth time, to uninteresting scenes and atrocious music, it's a trailer that practically says, "Hey, you wanna see an awful movie? Here's one!" I cannot properly describe every problem I have with this movie, like how none of the original cast members return, nor do we know what became of them. Or how almost any question I had regarding story was never answered. Or how the government had practically zero involvement with the story at all. The most I saw was this signed document by the Secretary of Defense, allowing them to visit the female ape in captivity, before the jarhead military gives the finger to everyone and locks the place down. With so many faults, so many really fixable problems, I cannot defend a score of six out of ten. Not by a long shot. My rating will be much worse.
This movie had zero entertainment for me. It gave me zero reasons to be interested. It gave me zero laughs, even in an unintentional fashion. It gave me zero reasons to want to go back and watch it. And it is for this reason and more, that King Kong Lives will be the first movie I've ever reviewed to get the lowest rating I can give. Nothing. This is one of the worst movies I've ever seen. I can't even get angry at it, because from the start, I knew this one wasn't gonna be any good. Five minutes in, I was just counting the problems. Nothing of any quality saves this movie. The soundtrack wasn't bad, but it doesn't carry the movie in the way the soundtrack in say, Star Trek: The Motion Picture would. You can tell the actors are trying, but the movie they're in and the blandness of their characters didn't make me care once. When your movie does so little to keep my interest, so little to keep me from wanting to do something else, you can bet your movie will get a big fat zero in my book. And I'm sure some of you who found some saving graces in this film will try to convince me otherwise. But to put it bluntly for you...I don't care. If you find this film as a guilty pleasure, all the more power to you. Just keep it far away from me. I don't want to touch this movie ever again.
Please feel free to request any film you'd like me to take a look at down below. Leave a comment reviewing your own thoughts and feelings about the film, and as always, thanks for reading.
Well now that that shitty movie is finally behind me, I feel so much better. Like it is a relief to finally be done with this movie, you guys have no idea. Now I gotta figure out what I wanna do with the DVD copy I painfully had to buy to watch this. I don't know yet. But I'm telling you guys, there's no way it can get any worse than King Kong Lives in this marathon I'm putting myself in. So see you guys next week when we review a lost cartoon movie in the Kong franchise. An animated musical featuring the voice of Ariel from The Little Mermaid, "The Mighty Kong". See you next week.
Final Verdict: 0/4