Friday, December 9, 2005

A*P*E

"Kill that hairy son-of-a-bitch! Let's see him dance for his organ-grinder now!"

Down near the bottom of the barrel of King Kong rip-offs with THE MIGHTY GORGA is director Paul Leder's A*P*E (KING KONGUI DAEYEOKSEUB, 1976), another Southeast Asian attempt to ride the box office coattails of Dino DeLaurentis' remake. Shot in South Korea and starring American imports Rod Arrants, Alex Nichol and TV mom Joanna Kerns (GROWING PAINS, here billed as "Joanna DeVarona"), APE was shot as a 3-D film, although never released (at leas in the U.S.) in that format.

A giant APE (a guy in a baggy gorilla suit) escapes from a ship in Seoul harbor, and wades ashore, pausing only to wrestle with a giant shark (played by a dead, real sand shark). Soon, the APE finds himself falling for an American actress (Kerns) – it must be his species notorious weakness for blondes. APE wanders the Korean kountryside, smashing buildings and battling the army until he finally meets his tragic fate.

The effects are laughable, and it seems like the filmmakers couldn't decide if they were making a "straight" monster movie or a spoof, with some of it played way too seriously, and other parts obviously meant as jokes (the APE flipping off an attack helicopter, for one).

The disc from Image Entertainment is a bare-bones affair, with a clean widescreen 1.85:1 anamorphic transfer and no extras at all. Overall, it's a crappy movie and a mediocre disc, of interest only to giant monkey enthusiasts. So of course, I bought it as soon as it came out.

BUY: Ape