“Action…Excitement…Spectacle beyond your wildest dreams!” Action? Check. Excitement? Check. Spectacle beyond your wildest dreams? Check! Join your faithful Grue Crew – Doc Rotten, Chad Hunt, and Jeff Mohr (much to his chagrin, Bill Mulligan was unable to join us for this one) – as they discover a film that actually lives up to its tagline, and of course, it’s a Shaw Brothers film! Yes, they are talking about The Mighty Peking Man.
Decades of Horror 1970s
Episode 81 — The Mighty Peking Man (1977)
Initially released August 1977 in Hong Kong. The MIghty Peking Man didn’t see a U.S. release until March 1980. Directed by Meng Hua Ho and written by Kuang Ni, this film is the Shaw Brothers effort to cash in on the hoopla surrounding the Dino De Laurentiis production, King Kong (1976).
An expedition, led by an immoral and unscrupulous businessman (Feng Ku) and an altruistic and heartbroken hero (Danny Lee) plucked from a bar, sets out to capture the legendary, titular beast depicted in The Mighty Peking Man. In their search for the giant ape, the expedition also encounters Samantha (Evelyne Kraft), a female version of the Tarzan legend, who has developed a deep bond with the beast. Eventually, the Mighty Peking Man is captured and transported to civilization where he is shackled and put on public display in a stadium. Not surprisingly, the beast breaks free of its chains, creating panic and chaos. Even less surprisingly, the story works its way to an epic battle atop a skyscraper. Does this sound familiar?
Despite the story’s similarities with past big ape movies, The Mighty Peking Man has one key plot difference that Chad, Doc, and Jeff greatly appreciated. Samantha has been living in the jungle ever since she was a child when the Mighty Peking Man rescued her from a plane crash, solidifying an explanation for their long-term bond.
Despite its low budget and relatively high cheese factor, this film has it all, including a boatload of fun! Chad has always loved the opening scene as the giant ape emerges from its lost world after an earthquake, wreaking havoc on the nearby village. Doc is particularly enamored with the sequence in which Samantha, adorned as usual in her 2-piece animal skin, climbs a light pole to escape a crowd. The Grue Crew is in agreement on the hilarity of some of the dialogue, admitting something might have been lost in translation.
The Mighty Peking Man gets an emphatic recommendation from the Grue Crew! In fact, after covering The Oily Maniac (1976) on Episode 70 and now The Mighty Peking Man, the Grue Crew vows to cover Infra-Man (1975), another Shaw Brothers masterpiece starring Danny Lee, in the not too distant future.
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