King Kong Lives

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King Kong Lives
Directed by John Guillermin
Produced by Martha Schumacher
Written by Ronald Shusett
Steven Pressfield
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) (Australia)
  • December 13, 1986 (1986-12-13) (Canada)
  • November 21, 1986 (1986-11-21) (United States/Poland)
Running time
104 minutes
Country Australia
United States
Language English
Budget $19 million[1]
Box office $4,711,220

King Kong Lives, also known as King Kong: Part II, is a 1986 Australian/Canadian/Polish/American fantasy comedy monster film produced by De Laurentiis Entertainment Group. Directed by John Guillermin and featuring special effects by Carlo Rambaldi, the film starred Linda Hamilton and Brian Kerwin. The film was a sequel to the 1976 remake of 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, and to complicate matters, Franklin says there no species of ape or other animal whose blood type matches Kong's. 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 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. The jailbreak is successful thanks to Kong, who survived his fall and breaks his mate out. After being followed, attacked, and shot by the military, Kong kills Lt. Col Nevitt and dies slowly near a military base on a farm where Lady Kong gives birth to a healthy baby boy. Kong reaches out to touch his son just before dying. Returned to Borneo, Lady Kong is now living peacefully with her son in the jungle.


In prologue (footage from King Kong (1976 film))

  • Jeff Bridges as Jack Prescott (uncredited)
  • Jessica Lange as Dwan (uncredited)
  • George Whiteman as helicopter pilot (uncredited)


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. Actor Peter Goetz received a residual check of 12 cents from the film and decided to frame it as a tribute, never cashing it.

The film is listed in Golden Raspberry Award founder John Wilson's book The Official Razzie Movie Guide as one of 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. ^ Friendly, David T. "De Laurentiis rejoins the ranks" Los Angeles Times (November 16, 1985)
  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". 1986-12-22. 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]