Sure to drive you wild – here’s one of the funniest, most hysterically campy movies ever made: The Mighty Peking Man! A powerful earthquake awakens a giant, ape-like creature who descends from the mountains into the treacherous jungles of India. Later, an expedition of greedy showmen capture the fearsome beast, bringing him…and the scantily clad blond bombshell he protects…back to civilization! But payback comes when The Mighty Peking Man breaks loose and begins to run amok in the heart of the city! An outrageous adventure that never takes itself too seriously – treat yourself to a guilty pleasure that has entertained critics and late-night movie audiences everywhere!
Xing xing wang 6.75
eyelights: Evelyne Kraft. its so-bad-it’s-good quality. its general ineptitude.
eyesores: you name it. its general ineptitude.
Is it King Kong? Is it Mighty Joe Young? Nah… it’s just Goliathon. Um, I mean, it’s Mighty Peking Man!
‘Xing xing wang’ is a 1976 movie that was championed by Quentin Tarantino in the ’90s, going so far as to actually re-releasing it in cinemas through his Rolling Thunder Pictures company and then on home video under the title of ‘The Mighty Peking Man’ (it was originally released in the US in 1980 as ‘Goliathon’).
I remember sitting down to watch it with a buddy of mine, but falling asleep early on and sleeping through the rest of it. Snicker, snicker… I guess I was really tired that evening. Honestly, I wasn’t especially impressed by what little I had seen, and never planned to see it again, even though my buddy had liked it.
I recently acquired a DVD copy of it for dirt cheap, knowing that I was going to watch a bunch of kaiju movies in coming months, including many Gojira and Gamera ones. I figured that it wouldn’t be a terrible idea to give this one another shot; I have learned to appreciate bad movies in the last decade, so why not? Plus which the Rolling Thunder’s re-release ‘Switchblade Sisters’ had its moments.
Anyway, there’s not much one can say about a cheap Hong Kong rip off of ‘King Kong’. It will feel vaguely familiar to anyone who’s seen it:
A few businessmen decide to track down a mythic creature in the Himalayas so that they can bring it back and make a fortune off of it. Hiring the best adventurer that they can find, a man with nothing to lose, they bring the big ape (and his human female companion) back to Hong Kong. Thing don’t go well. Destruction abounds. The big beast takes a swan dive off of a skyscraper after being shot by helicopters. The end.
What’s great about the picture is that it’s done in such a hilariously inept fashion that you can’t help but laugh at it the whole way through. Between the outrageously dumb script, filled with exaggerated behaviour and simple-minded drama, the horrible cast and the cheesy production, this has all the makings of a late-night classic (Oh, how I wish that Mystery Science Theatre 3000 had done this one! It would have been totally delish!).
So why watch this particular bad movie over another equally bad one? What makes this one stand out favourably? Two words: Evelyne Kraft.
In my estimation, Evelyne Kraft was pretty awesome in the part of Ann Darrow… uh… I mean, Ah Wei. Her acting wasn’t stellar, but it’s easy to believe that she had the capacity for toughness; she tried hard enough. Plus which she was disheveled, but yummy as can be; she was always made up and looked fresh, tanned, fit – just like a REAL jungle woman! And is there anything more endearing than a woman who can command and cuddle with leopards? I think not!
But, beyond this, the film doesn’t have many redeeming qualities (and Evelyne Kraft is probably pushing it for most people, I know…): the model-work looked like it was made in someone’s basement, the rear-projections were far too obvious, the special effects totally lacked subtlety, and the ending was extremely abrupt – not that we could ever expect fantastic storytelling from a ‘King Kong ‘rip-off, in the first place, right?.
‘Xing xing wang’ is no mighty cinematic achievement, but fans of bad movies will have a hoot watching this monster picture; it’s so ineptly put together that the right kind of people could have a total blast watching it, laughing at its expense. All others should steer clear, however: there’s not much to see here – even less so than Ai Wei’s two-piece. Not that that’s enough to get the average person to cling to this big dumb ape movie anyway.
Date of viewing: March 18, 2013