King Kong Lives

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King Kong Lives
Directed by John Guillermin
Produced by Dino De Laurentiis (executive)
Ronald Shusett (executive)
Martha Schumacher
Written by Ronald Shusett
Steven Pressfield
Starring Linda Hamilton
Brian Kerwin
Peter Elliott
Music by John Scott
Cinematography Alec Mills
Edited by Malcolm Cooke
Distributed by De Laurentiis Entertainment Group
Release dates
  • December 19, 1986 (1986-12-19)
Running time
105 minutes
Language English
Budget $18 million[1]
Box office $4,711,220

King Kong Lives, also known as King Kong II, is a 1986 American monster film produced by DEG Studios. Directed by John Guillermin and featuring special effects by Carlo Rambaldi, the film starred Linda Hamilton and Brian Kerwin. The film was a belated sequel to King Kong.[2][3]


King Kong, after being shot down from the World Trade Center, is kept alive in a coma for about 10 years at the Atlanta Institute, under the care of surgeon Dr. Amy Franklin (Linda Hamilton). In order to save Kong's life, Dr. Franklin must perform a heart transplant and give Kong a computer-monitored artificial heart. However, he lost so much blood that a transfusion is badly needed. Enter adventurer Hank "Mitch" Mitchell (Brian Kerwin), who captures a giant female gorilla, who is dubbed "Lady Kong"; in Borneo (Mitchell theorizes that Borneo and the island from the first movie were once part of the same landmass), bringing her to the Institute so her blood can be used for Kong's operation. The transfusion and the heart transplant are a success, but Kong escapes along with the female. Archie Nevitt (John Ashton), an insane army lieutenant colonel, is called in with his men to hunt down and kill the two apes. Lady Kong is captured alive by Nevitt's troops and imprisoned; Kong falls from a cliff and is presumed dead, but soon returns to rescue his mate. But as Franklin and Mitchell soon discover, Kong's artificial heart is beginning to give out, forcing them to try a jailbreak only to discover that Lady Kong is pregnant with Kong's offspring. Kong then is successful in saving his mate. After being followed, attacked, and shot by the military, Kong kills the military colonel and dies slowly near a military base on a farm where Lady Kong gives birth to a healthy baby boy. After this event, Lady Kong is back on Borneo's jungle, with her happy, newborn son whom King Kong was able to see and touch before his death.



King Kong Lives received negative reviews.[4][5][6] Rotten Tomatoes rated a 0% based on 9 reviews. Roger Ebert gave the film only one out of four stars and stated, "The problem with everyone in King Kong Lives is that they're in a boring movie, and they know they're in a boring movie, and they just can't stir themselves to make an effort." [7]

Despite its marketing campaign, King Kong Lives was a box office flop,[8] grossing $4.7 million during its theatrical run.[9] The film was nominated for one Razzie Award, Worst Visual Effects.

The film is listed in Golden Raspberry Award founder John Wilson's book The Official Razzie Movie Guide as one of the The 100 Most Enjoyably Bad Movies Ever Made.[10]

Video games[edit]

Two official video games based on the movie were developed and released only in Japan by Konami and titled King Kong 2: Ikari no Megaton Punch for the Famicom, and King Kong 2: Yomigaeru Densetsu for the MSX. The Famicom game totally discarded the human aspect of the story and players played as King Kong who has to travel around the globe fighting giant robots and certain military forces in order to save the female Kong. The game was designed as an action adventure game with some science fiction concepts. The MSX version, on the other hand, plays from the perspective of Mitchell. This version is a role-playing game.


  1. ^ DE LAURENTIIS REJOINS THE RANKS--AT EMBASSY: DE LAURENTIIS: EMBASSY Friendly, David T. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 16 Nov 1985: e1.
  2. ^ Beale, Lewis (1986-06-01). "The Kong Isn't Dead; Long Live The King". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-06-10. 
  3. ^ Oates, Marylouise (1986-06-15). "Finally, A Steady Job For King Kong". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-06-10. 
  4. ^ Goldstein, Patrick (1986-12-22). "Movie Review : King Kong Goes Ape One More Time". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-06-10. 
  5. ^ Maslin, Janet (1986-12-20). "Screen: the return of king kong". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-06-10. 
  6. ^ "King Kong Lives". Variety. 1985-12-31. Retrieved 2012-06-10. 
  7. ^ "King Kong Lives :: :: Reviews". Retrieved 2012-06-17. 
  8. ^ Mathews, Jack (1986-12-24). "'Kong Lives' Dies At Box Office". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-06-10. 
  9. ^ "King Kong Lives (1986)". Box Office Mojo. 1988-07-05. Retrieved 2012-06-17. 
  10. ^ Wilson, John (2005). The Official Razzie Movie Guide: Enjoying the Best of Hollywood's Worst. Grand Central Publishing. ISBN 0-446-69334-0. 

External links[edit]