A*P*E (1976)

A guy in an ape suit stomps model towns and cities.  There’s a story about a reporter, the actress he loves, and the big ape that tries to get between them.

Throw in a few tanks and helicopters and you’ve got the general idea.

This one was basically the South Korean answer to Dino Di Laurentis’ King Kong remake (and was “presented” by Jack H. Harris of The Blob fame).  They’d made their own version of Godzilla (Yongary) nine years earlier.  While it wasn’t anywhere near as accomplished as the real thing (and the detail on the models was very soft!), Yongary  wasn’t a bad attempt at copying the Japanese original.

The same can’t be said for this one, though.

The effects are nowhere near the Japanese standard (which is better than we usually give it credit for being):  the towns look even faker, the guy in the monkey suit doesn’t ever look like anything other than a guy in a monkey suit, the size of the monster changes repeatedly, and there’s no attempt made to slow the motion down to make the beast look more massive.  As for comparing them to the 1933 original?  Well, the less we say about that the better.

Still, it’s entertaining in a dumb sort of way, and it’s hard to be too harsh on a movie where the Kong look-alike gives the Korean army the bird.

We haven’t seen that before.

(Those paying attention will note a neat little in-joke when, behind the scenes in the movie within a movie, the director, just by an amazing coincidence, has the name “Dino” (and is played by the movie’s real life director, Paul Leder)).

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