King Kong Escapes (1967)

Poor Kong. He’s only a pawn in the game of life. “King Kong Escapes” is another in the efforts by Toho to create a more expanded mythology for King Kong, which is a shame since I think he could have been a nice part of the Godzilla movie series here and there. He could have balanced out all the reptiles and lizards and bugs. “King Kong Escapes” is a direct sequel to “King Kong vs. Godzilla” except this is a movie much more about Kong. This is also one of the few King Kong movies with an actual conniving villain, who walks around committing to an evil scheme.

Produced by Toho, we meet the evil Dr. Who and his sidekick Madame Piranha. They plan to mine for the valuable Element X, a mineral at the core of the Earth that can benefit their companies and countries. To help mine for the hard to grab mineral, they build a giant robot that looks like a giant ape because—um—it’s a sequel! Understand? Best not to put a lot thought in to why the specifically chose an ape as a design for a mining robot. In either case, when they set off the robot known as Mechani-Kong, its high tech circuitry malfunctions. Meanwhile a US naval crew finds themselves at Kong island, where the original film kind of plays out in short form.

They meet Kong, he fights a Gorosaurus and even falls in love with crew mate Lt. Susan Watson, who he risks everything for. He loves them blondes. There isn’t much to “King Kong Escapes,” save for watching King Kong and Mechani-Kong do battle. He becomes an inadvertent asset when King Kong begins wreaking havoc on Tokyo, and the design for Mechani-Kong is pretty awesome. He’s right up there with MechaGodzilla. The sequel to Kong’s meeting with Godzilla is just as silly, with a lot of inexplicable plot points that develop. Like, why does King Kong understand English? If Kong can be hypnotized can Godzilla and other Kaijus? Can women only tame the beast that is Kong? And what is Element X? In either case, “King Kong Escapes” is a fun novelty sequel with a final hurrah for Toho King Kong.