I keep thinking I’ve seen Mighty Peking Man before, maybe on cable, or during the lost days of WABC’s 4:30 monster-movie blocks, but I could be mistaken. After all, this
1977 mutant-ape movie was cooked up by Hong Kong’s Shaw Brothers in order to
cash in on Dino De Laurentiis’s remake of King Kong, making mondo déjà vu not just a buzzy side effect of the bad acting and rubber-suit rampages
but Mighty Peking Man‘s
reason for being.
Restored to its original, cheesy grandeur (a shorter version was released in the U.S. as Goliathon), Peking Man tells a tragic tale of triangulation involving the eponymous 100-foot gorilla, a polyester-clad adventurer named Johnny Feng (The Killer‘s Danny Lee), and Samantha, a blond jungle babe (Evelyne Craft, of such exploitation films as Lady Dracula and
The Maddest Car in the World). Peking Man and Samantha have clearly been vibing on each other for years, but after Johnny stumbles into their idyllic Himalayan refuge, Samantha learns the pleasure of human love, taking slow-motion runs with Johnny that end in the missionary position back at her cave. The forsaken Peking Man pitches a fit, but the poor goof’s quickly soothed by his ex (she rubs
her face on his improbably hairless palm, the rest of him being apparently a little too mighty), giving Johnny the mistaken impression that it’s safe to bring both his trophies back to Hong Kong.
While you could use Mighty Peking Man as the basis for a blank-studies paper on amour fou between white women and giant gorillas (also known in the transgresso-industrial complex as the Other), or
perhaps as the peg for a look at Asian manwhite woman movie romances, from the cheap seats Peking Man adds up to just your basic groaning good time.