The Mighty Peking Man (1977)
Reviewed by: ewaffle on 2007-11-27
Like Marc Antony, I come to bury “The Mighty Peking Man” not to praise it. But while it is as bad as everyone who has reviewed it here or anywhere else says it is, the movie is also an artifact that shows some of the strengths of the Hong Kong film business particularly in the 1970s and 1980s. To call the script derivative is to badly understate the case but many Hong Kong movies of that era were inspired by—or ripped off from, depending on your point of view—other successful films. The special effects weren’t very special but that is the case in a lot of low budget monster movies. The acting wasn’t very good but the actors probably did as well as they could with the material they were given. The cinematography and art direction were on the same low level as the rest of the movie and the scenes that stick in one’s memory do so because they are so unintentionally ridiculous.

Much like the U.S. based production company American International Pictures, Shaw Brothers knew how to get a movie shot, edited, printed, publicized and on the screen quickly and profitably. Scriptwriter Ni Kuang wrote hundreds of movies—SIXTEEN of the films he wrote, including this one, were released in 1977. In 1978 he penned “Heroes of the East” and “The Five Venoms”. Action director Yuen Cheung-Yan, while not quite as prolific, did the fights and stunts for “Dreadnought” and “7 Grandmasters”—neither of which are universally loved but both are highly thought of in the action category. Given those involved in front of and behind the camera “The Mighty Peking Man” probably did what Runme Shaw expected: came in on time and on budget, filled a 90 minute slot in their distribution schedule, covered its overhead and was a small part of keeping the Shaw Brothers production, distribution and exhibition colossus clanking along.

Most unbelievable scene in movie doesn't involve the gorilla. It occurs when Samantha, still wearing her abbreviated leather bikini, approaches a couple who are getting into their car. Using her few words of English she asks them to take her to Utam (her name for the gorilla), underling her request by pointing to a poster advertising the show. The woman of the couple just says "Oh, the Peking Man--sure let's go" and Samantha hops into the car and is whisked to the stadium by these complete but very cooperative strangers.

Running it a close second is the reunion between the hunter Johnny and the former love of his life, listed only as “Johnny’s ex-girlfriend” in the credits. He had walked into the apartment he shared with the singer only to find her in bed with his brother. Having gone through hell for a few years—to the extent of signing on to lead the mission to find the giant ape—he forgives both of them with hardly a second thought. Clearly this movie wasn’t meant to plumb the depths of human emotion. Or to make sense on any level at all.

A poor effort by everyone involved and not recommended.
Reviewer Score: 1