And once again I watched a movie I was never, ever going to watch.
Let’s face it: I’ve seen Brett Kelly’s movies before. Well, to be precise, I’ve seen one of his movies, Raiders of the Lost Shark (2015), it just feels like I’ve seen a lot more of them because that one is so bad.
It’s like watching a Polonia Brothers film without the talent.
So all it took was one glance at Konga TNT and I knew I wouldn’t be watching that one.
But, I don’t know…these things just happen. I heard a few good things about it, and SRS Cinema released it to video along with the other cheap but interesting Kaiju Eiga films they’ve been churning out lately.
And it does help that it is up on Tubi for free.
To answer the question you are probably already asking, it isn’t as bad as Raiders of the Lost Shark. In fact, it is mildly amusing as Grade Z movies go. Although it does display a lot of the worst elements of Brett Kelly’s style — if that’s quite the right word for it.
Now if you’ve seen the original Sixties version of Konga with Michael Gough, then the basics of the plot should be familiar. Scientist experiments on Ape, it grows to King Kong size.
And that’s about it.
Yeah, one could go through and describe more of the plot but those are the basics. A flying saucer crashes, a low-rent Indiana Jones goes in search of the wreck and an Amazon tribe’s “Big Gazongas.” The scientist studies the relic retrieved by bargain basement Indie and discovers its effects on living things. One of his lab subjects, a stuffed toy chimp, escapes. It is adopted by two little boys who just happen to be played by actors with the last name “Kelly” (and whose first names just happen to be the name of the production company), who then run around carrying the ape doll ecstatically and making it their new best friend.
Okay, okay, when we get a closeup, someone works the toy’s mouth like a puppet. But most of the time it’s clearly just a toy the two are lugging around.
But the next thing you know their stuffed toy friend starts growing, and they can’t hide him from Mom anymore. It turns into a guy in an ape suit, and then proceeds to stomp on the city.
Okay, I’m mildly impressed by how well Kelly integrated the stock footage in a sequence where Konga trips and brings down a series of real buildings. But there isn’t as much giant monster mayhem as we’ve all been hoping for.
Instead, throughout the film we get these short little bits with various not-around-long-enough-to-call-a-character-s. It is one of Brett Kelly’s personal signatures, and I suspect some of these may be the people who put up the cash getting their moment in the sun.
But I think I speak for all of us when I say that it was a relief when Konga finally steps on and squishes the “Funky Monkey!” guy who is trying way too hard to be cool.
This makes the whole story very choppy, as we keep bouncing from one little crumb of story to another with very little connection between some of these bits. This isn’t just true of the monster attacks (where even the best Kaiju films will set up a minor character or two just so we might care at least a little bit when they get stomped on), but this is true of most of the story as well, as there are several minor subplots which don’t go very far.
And a lot of stock footage, although I have to give him credit for how well it does get reused and re-imagined.
And, as this is a very absurd film, a Kaiju parody rather than a proper Kaiju, it seems particularly fitting that it also has an absurd ending, when things go back to the way they were.
After, I’ll note, Konga did get a taste for on-the-scene reporters.
However, we do learn one useful thing from Konga TNT:
The best lure for a giant ape is…a giant hotdog.
Oh, well. I enjoyed this one more than it sounds.
But mocking it is as much fun as actually watching it.
However, Konga TNT is exactly what we expected from it from the start — and what we expect of any giant monster movie:
A goofy movie with enough monster mayhem to sweeten the pot…