|Copyright 1976 Kuk Dong
| Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 31 January 2010
- Marilyn Baker - Joanna Kerns! I sure hope that she thanked Elton John for loaning her a pair of his glasses.
- Tom Rose - Dude, you are doing it all wrong. In Asia, it's the women who are hell bent on getting married. Actually, it's not just Asia; the whole world is like that.
- Colonel Davis - He cannot figure out why, but Monday always makes him really tired, and the only thing he ever does on Monday is to make phone calls. I know why he gets tired. It is because he always stands up while speaking on the phone. Eight hours and ninety phone calls later...
- Captain Kim - How many Captain Kims do you think there are in the South Korean police force?
- Mrs. Captain Kim - Where there are Captain Kims, there are Mrs. Captain Kims.
- Lieutenant Smith - Son, when the Colonel is complaining about headquarters, your job is to commisserate, utterly.
- Dino - The name of the director of Marilyn's movie.
- The Ape - A foul-tempered gorilla that is almost forty feet tall and covered with nappy fur. Somebody fetch me a ton of bananas, my tranquilizer dart gun, and a brush. I am going to fix his bother.
|This horrific version of "King Kong" was released the same year Dino De Laurentiis produced his remake of the classic monster movie. While I think that Dino's goal was to create a money-making big-budget blockbuster (he and Roland Emmerich overlap often in my subconscious), it's pretty apparent that the producers of "A*P*E" had no such illusions. Their idea was to cash in by creating a quick and cheap rip-off. Filming a feature movie about a giant gorilla with a budget less than was ever spent on an episode of "Ultraman" was not going to bring in a lot of money, but it would make some, and some money is better than none.
By the way, the producers of "A*P*E" are as follows: Paul Leder, Reuben Leder, Tony Francis, Yang Tseng Hsui, and K.M. Yeung. The Leders are credited as the writers, and Paul also pops up as the director. Some of Paul's other directing efforts include "I Dismember Mama" (1972) and "My Friends Need Killing" (1976), but his most impressive credit has to be producing "The Farmer's Other Daughter" aka "Haystack Hooker" (1965).
The name Leder appears a few more times in the credits for "A*P*E." At least one of those occurrences is a sister, wife, or other female bearer of the proud Leder bloodline, unless Paul or Reuben are known to put on a dress and insist upon being called Mimi.
Music for this fine film is provided by the Seoul Symphony Orchestra. Yes, you are going to hear a lot of classical music during the movie, and some of it is actually going to be appropriate.
The story starts with the Ape asleep inside of a ship that is transporting the recently captured monster to a circus. When the massive creature wakes up the ship explodes! That should be the end of the story right there, but the Ape suddenly pops out of the water, appearing much annoyed with being drugged, confined in a smelly cargo hold, and then blown up. A huge shark swims up to the raging primate, resulting in a furious battle between the Ape and the toothy denizen of the deep (actually, it's a guy in a cheap gorilla suit pretending to wrestle a dead shark, but you get the idea). What's really funny here is that I think the Ape must be attacking a harmless basking shark; it's the only explanation I can offer for a shark of that size and appearance. The shark hears the ship explode, begins looking for survivors, and is gruesomely ripped apart by a violent gargantuan gorilla. So ends the story of Dave, the friendly basking shark.
Wading ashore, the Ape continues his anti-social behavior by smashing a factory and throwing flaming barrels at nearby buildings until everything is a burning ruin. Notice that I did not mention anybody shooting at the gorilla, because nobody does. He destroys the factory for no apparent reason. First he kills Dave, now he is wrecking a factory that probably makes polio vaccine for children in third-world countries. That monkey is a menace.
I suppose it could be worse. Instead of throwing barrels, the darn thing could be throwing poo.
As the movie progresses, the Ape continues to demolish Korea one village at a time. He is not always destructive; he does step over a cow (a toy cow; an obvious toy cow), and he plays with a hang gliding enthusiast that accidentally strays too close to the beast. However, by and large, what the Ape sees the Ape stomps flat with his feet, pounds flat with his fists, or squishes flat with a rock. Maybe he would be less of a menace if he was some place that was already mostly flat, like Nebraska.
Worry not, that is likely to be the only endorsement of Nebraska that I will ever type. Eight hours of driving with nothing but corn on either side of the road and Baptists on the radio is not my idea of a fun state.
Colonel Davis spends the first half of the movie guffawing at the numerous reports of a giant gorilla that flood his headquarters. However, once he finds out that the Ape is real, he gets excited. A monster is attacking South Korea! Get the troops! Get the tanks! Get the helicopters! Not since Joseph Stalin has the world faced such a terror! Kim Il-sung is a gnat compared to a twenty-ton gorilla. Had the North Korean President appeared at the DMZ, atop a red elephant with a cannon mounted on its head, nobody would have noticed.
The other person completely oblivious to the twenty-ton gorilla in the room is Marilyn. That is because she is completely wrapped up in the new feature she is filming. The male lead always calls her a slut, slaps her around, and then sexually attacks her. Apparently, the whole movie is just a string of rape scenes. I am sure that will make Marilyn's career go far. Anyway, the Ape sees this and rescues Marilyn from her career. Being carried around by the gorilla is frightening, but the terrified girl still has the presence of mind to say, "Be gentle, big fella."
Marilyn, you had best be hoping that the Ape's love for you is platonic. Entirely platonic.
The gorilla's female playtoy gets away during one of the military's attempts to subdue the monster. Tom leaps on her immediately (Tom started begging Marilyn to marry him the same day she arrived in Korea). The lovers go to Seoul; this means that the Ape goes to Seoul, because if anybody is as enamored with Marilyn as Tom, it's the Ape. So, pretty soon there is a giant gorilla walking through the streets of Seoul, peering in through windows and knocking the roofs off of buildings when he cannot find his blonde damsel. Stock footage of the military chases after the monster, including anti-aircraft guns.
AA guns...to kill a giant gorilla...right.
The battles between the military and the Ape are really awful. Smiling men shooting rifles, stock footage of tanks and aircraft, and stuff being tossed at the camera abound. Now that I think about it, objects being tossed toward the camera and zipping along obvious guiding wires is a major theme in this film. That happens with flaming arrows and boulders. The Ape also stops and gives the military the middle finger at one dramatic juncture. The thing is already an anti-social pyromaniac menace to well-dressed, peace-loving rice farmers. Flipping the bird at the audience is just the icing on the cake. I am glad that the South Korean military and the stock footage of its American allies finally killed the miserable thing.
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|Things I Learned From This Movie:|| |
- The Merchant Marines is a society of seagoing philosophers.
- One hairless primate's barrel of crude oil is another hairy primate's incendiary grenade.
- A woman loves it when a guy tries to swallow her ear.
- The Koreans are all kongtropic. They migrate toward giant gorillas.
- Los Angeles and Seoul are sister cities.
- It is very difficult to differentiate between South Korea's national guard and its acting guild.
- The dress code for Korean rice farmers is business casual.
- Asian women look like they are 16 until their 48th birthday, when they turn into Yoda.
- Being shot to death is indistinguishable from disco dancing.
- Bolt action rifles can be fired three times for each operation of the handle.
- Opening Credits - My thanks to the Army for taking this particular bullet.
- 6 mins - These look like sets leftover from "Gappa."
- 20 mins - Who dressed that child?
- 24 mins - Ah, the South Korean giant anaconda is obviously not merely a legend created by villagers, though it is rare and endangered.
- 25 mins - I hope that wasn't the last one of those.
- 34 mins - "Quake" so ripped off this set.
- 41 mins - She has to be out of frame by now, right?
- 52 mins - Whoever is responsible for these special effects should be executed with a belt sander.
- 56 mins - "Not on your rife!"
- 61 mins - My word but this scene is a liability lawyer's wet dream.
- 72 mins - Is the mud on fire?
| ||Audio clips in wav format||SOUNDS||Starving actors speak out|| |
||Tom: "There's this Buddhist priest I know who says he's never married two caucasians before, and he's just dying to." |
Marilyn: "Oh you know you joke and you joke, and I bet if I said yes I'd scare you to death."
Tom: "Try me."
||Col. Davis: "Now, what kind of bulls**t you trying to hand me? Yeah, yeah, YEAH! A footprint five or six feet long. Look Captain, this is Korea not Scotland. The Loch Ness Monster couldn't make it over the Berlin Wall. Wait a minute. What do you want?" |
Lt. Smith: "I need you to sign this, sir."
Col. Davis: "Not now. Can't you see that I'm busy?"
||Capt. Kim: "Oh, Captain Kim here. Yes, the Ape is headed to the mountains. Yes, with Marilyn Baker, the American movie star. Oh yes, she is alive. Yes! Right, right sir. Rocky Bravo out!" |
Tom: "What did he say?"
Capt. Kim: "We are to follow him; keep him in sight. The armed forces are on the way now."
||Lt. Smith: "What did he say, sir?" |
Col. Davis: "General Pak and the Korean government have issued orders to kill that hairy son of a b***h!"
|Theme Song|| Listen to a clip from the soundtrack. |
| ||Click for a larger image||IMAGES||Scenes from the movie|| |
| ||Watch a scene||VIDEO||MPEG video files|| |
|Yes, he really did step over a toy cow. Yes, that looks like the camera behind the tree on the left side of the screen. And yes, I really did watch the whole movie.
| ||Leave a comment||EXTRAS||Buy the movie|| |
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