Kong-athon: KING KONG LIVES (1986)



When I came up with the idea for Kong-athon, I had no idea that this movie existed. I watched the 1976 remake maybe 5 times in my life and never would I have thought that a sequel would follow ten years after the remake came out. So I did some research before I sat down to watch this movie and I was kind of baffled by the lack of information. KING KONG LIVES once again was directed by John Guillermin and produced by Dino De Laurentiis with a $10 million dollar budget, less than the previous movie's budget. The movie bombed in the box office and only made less than half of the movie's budget back. Writer, Steven Pressfield, mentioned in his book that KING KONG LIVES was a life-changing, validating failure. At the same time KING KONG LIVES was released it was competing with other movies like Little Shop of Horrors and Platoon, which is the 3rd highest grossing movie of 1986.


KING KONG LIVES starts off with the end of the previous film showing the final stand off on top of the World Trade Center. After Kong falls, the movie fast forwards ten years later finding out that Kong is still alive, but has been in a coma and he is being held at the University of Atlanta getting ready for a heart transplant. Dr. Amy Franklin explains that in order for the heart transplant to work, Kong needs a blood transfusion from another one of his kind otherwise he would die after being cut open and they needed a miracle. In Borneo, Hank Mitchell finds another Kong, but it's a female called, Lady Kong. Amy disagrees with using Lady Kong as the donor out of the risk that Kong will wake up and search for the female. The university buys the female and they go ahead with the operation anyways. The heart transplant becomes a success and Kong wakes up from his coma and does exactly what Amy warned everyone about. I guess it is because Kong didn't get laid in the last movie is the reason why he decided to take Lady Kong as his bride. 


The movie had a neat idea of Kong finding a mate, but the way it was approached came out being more comedic than anything else. It was funny to watch the two Kongs flirt with each other because it is nothing like how gorillas are suppose to act, yet it also made me cringe because of how goofy it looked. It was like they made the Kongs act too human from how they interact with each other right down to just their facial expressions. Linda Hamilton, who played Dr. Amy Franklin, had this to say, "It was a hoot when I finally saw those monkeys flirt and bat their eyes. Then it horrified me for being so stupid..."


Towards the end of the movie, Kong saves Lady Kong for the second time and Lady Kong is about to go into labor. The military roles in and despite being ordered to take them alive the colonel wants them dead so Kong has to fight them off while Lady Kong gives birth. After fighting off the military, Kong loses a lot of blood to where he is about to die, but he gets to see his son for the first and last time. This was suppose to be the most heart breaking moment in the movie, but honestly I have seen Kong die so many times that it didn't phase me as much as it should and I am usually mushy over stuff like this.


All in all, KING KONG LIVES is just as bad as the first movie. The idea of Kong having a mate was cool, but because Kong was already so humanized at this point that it looked very silly. The movie has it's moments, but you may as well look it up on Youtube rather than watching the whole movie. I would pass up on this one as well.


Kong-athon is almost over! We just have two more movies to cover, KING KONG (2005) and KONG: SKULL ISLAND coming out March 10th! Stay tuned!

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