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The Mighty Peking Man (1977)

The Mighty Peking Man (1977)

Here's the legendary Shaw Brothers take on Godzilla and Tarzan all in one! Only it's a female Tarzan (more like Jane), and Godzilla's Chinese: The Peking Man, they call him. He's a mastodon beast who towers over civilization where other men cower in fear, brought to the city via a brave expedition into the wild wides of (it looks like) India. But alas, his fate seems sealed in stone, no matter how they switch up the circumstance...

It's not a great movie by any means, but it's entertaining. Samantha (the female Tarzan) looks good, the props are elaborate - although not that authentic, and the wild animals really are WILD. It's a savage expedition done like they only did in the old days, when it seems they could treat animals and beasts just a little bit however they wanted. For good or bad.

It feels like moving away from the martial arts realm might've been the final turn for the Shaw Brothers, but unlike their more masterful martial art movies this one's definitely a whole other scale of elaborate. Could it be their most high-budget film? Maybe it was their gamble on expansion that didn't manage to go all the way, but I like what this could have been.

It stands its own ground, and for what it's worth: it's a work of art. From a generation of monster and destruction films unfortunately long forgotten. Just a shame that the quality, and story, isn't consistent... or just doesn't match the genre. It comes across more as a parody than the theatrical masterpiece it could have been.

 rated 3/5: not bad


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