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Film / King Kong Lives

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A sequel to the 1976 remake of King Kong, released in 1986. As with its predecessor, it was directed by John Guillermin and produced by Dino De Laurentiis.

Despite being riddled with bullets and falling over 1,000 feet from the World Trade Center, Kong survived his New York City rampage, but ten years later resides in a coma at a Georgia university. Thanks to the efforts of Dr. Franklin (Linda Hamilton), he is restored with an artificial heart and a blood transfusion from a female Kong, recently discovered by adventurer Hank Mitchell (Brian Kerwin) in the wilds of Borneo.

Kong and the female Kong are immediately drawn to each other when the former wakes up, and break away from their keepers to the wild. The U.S. Army, led by Lt. Col. R.T. Nevitt (John Ashton), is then sent to capture them. Dr. Franklin and Mitchell are on the side of the apes and strive to find a safe place for them to live, but as more and more humans pursue them, how long can the apes hold out — especially when one of them has an artificial heart?

There were also two Japan-only licensed games based on it, both released by Konami.

This film has the examples of:

  • Animal Reaction Shot: As Kong breaks the spine of an alligator, the camera cuts to a frog who croaks, apparently in terror.
  • Anti-Villain: Even more than usual for a King Kong movie, Kong is portrayed as this. Dr. Franklin and Mitchell are, and the audience is supposed to be, pulling for his and Lady Kong's survival and happiness all along no matter how much damage they do as a result, and virtually all of the other human characters are portrayed as greedy at best and sadistic at worst. The Tagline, in fact, was "America's biggest hero is back...and he is not happy."
  • Beast and Beauty: Averted. Since Lady Kong is around, there is no love story between Kong and Amy, and throughout the film she is never held or manhandled by Kong.
    • Also inverted, as Lady Kong initially has her eyes set on the dashing blonde Hank.
  • Bittersweet Ending: On the one hand, Kong meets his final demise as he protects Lady Kong, who's gone into labor with their baby. On the other, he gets to see his child before he expires, and mother and baby live out their days in peace at a wildlife preserve.
  • Blood Is Squicker in Water: Kong is thought to be dead when he disappears under the river, and some of his blood spurts to the surface.
  • Bullying a Dragon: After a group of hunters manages to trap Kong, they immediately begin to mock and taunt him with torches. This ends about as well as can be expected when Kong breaks free.
  • Defiant to the End: Gotta give it to Nevitt: even when he's reduced to only his Colt .45 sidearm and it's pretty obvious Kong is gonna smear him all over the ground with his fist (which he does), he doesn't stop shooting and calling him every insult he can think of. This guy could easily trade and compare notes with Lt. Col. Packard.
  • Every Car Is a Pinto: Tanks and cars catch on fire by getting flipped over and thrown around. Oddly subverted when an actual Ford Pinto appears in an early scene and crashes, only to simply roll to a stop with no explosion to be seen.
  • Eye Awaken: Used when Kong awakens from his coma.
  • Fire-Breathing Weapon: Some of Nevitt's men are armed with flamethrowers.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: Kong grabs one of the good ol' boy hunters and rips him in half.
  • Heroic RRoD: Kong's artificial heart becomes increasingly unstable as the movie goes on, and it finally gets fatally overstrained (as well as Kong gets hit with hundreds of bullets) on the final battle, killing Kong.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: ...and eats another one of the ol' boy hunters.
  • Man on Fire: One soldier is shown running around on fire during Kong's last fight against Nevitt's men.
  • Misplaced Wildlife: In the ending scene we see macaws (which are from South America) on Borneo (which is all the way over in Asia).
  • Multiple Gunshot Death: Even if it takes him a while to finally bleed out (and destroys everything that gets in the way), Kong finally dies when the Army unloads everything it has on him.
  • Never Smile at a Crocodile: Kong captures a bunch of alligators for dinner while he wades through a swamp. One of them menacingly hisses at Kong, but the ape simply breaks its spine.
  • Never Trust a Title: Kong does not survive the film.
  • Numbered Sequel: The film was released as King Kong 2 in some countries.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Kong's eyes on the poster above. In the film itself, they are brown.
  • Rule of Symbolism: When Nevitt undergoes his Defiant to the End Villainous Breakdown and tries to shoot Kong dead with his sidearm, he has coincidentally stumbled out of his Jeep and into the little family cemetery of the farm the Kong couple is nesting in. Appropriate location for Kong squashing him flat.
  • Self-Destructive Charge: Kong kills all of the army men that were gonna kill his mate and their child in the final battle, but unfortunately he had to wade through a massive torrent of gunfire to get to them, and they kept shooting to the last.
  • Sequel Escalation: Now there are two giant apes to deal with.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: The music cue when Kong eats one of the hunters is...oddly heroic-sounding.
  • Stock Footage: The film opens with highlights of the climax and denouement of the 1976 King Kong, followed by a Time Skip to 1986 and the university Kong now "resides" in. With that, the opening credits roll.
  • Time Skip: Besides the 10-year jump in the opening, there's also a skip halfway through the movie of many months, to allow for the gestation of Baby Kong.
  • Yawn and Reach: Done by Kong to Lady Kong!