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The Asian ApertureThe Mighty Peking Man
POSTED BY JASON FETTERS, March 29, 2014    Share

In the classic tale of why large creatures should remain in their natural habitat, Shaw Brothers takes on the kaiju genre with satisfying results.

A young anthropologist named Johnny (Danny Lee,) has recently broken up with his girlfriend. To get him out of his depressing, gloomy state, he is put in charge of a group to seek out a large mysterious creature that leaves behind giant footprints.

It is not an easy jungle trek as one of the natives helping the team is attacked by a ferocious tiger that literally takes his foot off. Johnny and his group must come to terms with the hostile environment and it is quickly established how out of place everyone is.

Just in time to save Johnny from further peril Samantha comes, wearing an animal skin bikini, and screaming as she swings across on a vine. Evelyne Kraft because the ultimate Lady Tarzan heroine who introduces Johnny to what he has been searching for, The Mighty Peking Man.

Earlier, The Mighty Peking Man, at first glance, is just another raging giant apelike monster that destroys huts and sends villagers running for their lives. However, when Johnny meets him he is a caring, intelligent creature that fits in well within his jungle home. Samantha has the ability to calm The Peking Man and bring peace to the land.

Samantha and Johnny soon become romantically linked as she plays with tigers and is able to provide nourishment by climbing a tree to pick fruit. Johnny is clueless outside of his urban world.
As the relationship between Johnny and Samantha intensifies, Johnny is convinced that they must return to civilization and bring The Mighty Peking Man with them.

This is a very bad idea coming from an anthropologist who should know better. As they sail onboard a ship for Hong Kong, The Mighty Peking Man is chained up. Not a good sign.

Further trouble develops when The Mighty Peking Man and actually called Utam by Samantha is forced to perform inside a packed stadium. This doesnít set well with Utam as he is chained and harassed by various workers but when Samantha is nearly rape, his limit is pushed beyond and his rampage begins.

This is the point when all kaiju movies become fun to watch when the monster has finally had enough and goes all out smashing buildings, picking people up and slamming them onto the ground, and destroying cars.

Shaw Brothers, who were primarily known for historical Kung Fu epics and the Ultraman inspired Infra-Man, does an admirable job taking on King Kong.

Produced by Runme Shaw and directed by the prolific Ho Meng Hua, who had previously made The Black Enforcer (1972,) and The Human Goddess, (also 1972,) The Mighty Peking Man looks good considering the era that was created in. However, the real appeal for me is the dazzling effects created by the team of Sadamasa Arikawa and Koichi Kawakita. Both men worked on several Godzilla movies so expect the same high quality.

I am somewhat confused on why numerous critics and movie fans considered The Mighty Peking Man such a bad movie. It has a gorgeous blonde Lady Tarzan and Evelyne Kraft gives a great performance. In scenes where she is in the jungle she is strong and confident and when she arrives in Hong Kong and steps inside a building for the first time she is lost and confused and that is to be expected. However my favorite scene with Kraft is the one were Johnny gives her new clothes and tells her to stop wearing animal skins. Again, this is another sign that Johnny isnít much of an anthropologist. Samantha tries on the new clothes and soon feels restricted and resorts back to her beloved animal skin bikini. For all the critics who hated this, isnít that scene a real development of character?

However the real star of The Mighty Peking Man is Utam and I find myself rooting for him and hoping that he will make it back to his jungle environment and alive to enjoy it. I always hate the military shooting the giant monsters who are merely responding to a new environment.

If you want to have a good time watching a classic flick that has a groovy 70ís soundtrack and you love a good jungle movie with a big monster then give The Mighty Peking Man a chance. Ignore the haters who have no idea what they are saying anyway. I believe that critics hate anything entertaining. This movie is a good time and will be enjoyed by true movie lovers everywhere.

Highly Recommended

5 out of 5 Stars

"The Asian Aperture" is ©2014 by Jason Fetters. All contents of Crazed Fanboy are ©2014 by Nolan B. Canova and Terence Nuzum.

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