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Film / The Mighty Peking Man

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Nope, he's not a King Kong-knockoff, because he's an orangutan.

The Mighty Peking Man, also known as Goliathon, is a 1977 Shaw Brothers monster movie directed by Ho Meng-hua (with special effects by Sadamasa Arikawa), starring Danny Lee (The Super Inframan) and Evelyn Kraft.

Released to capitalize on the craze of King Kong (1976) the previous year, the entire film is wedged somewhere between a Captain Ersatz and a complete knockoff of King Kong, Recycled in Hong Kong. The parallels are painfully obvious, with some minor changes being its setting (from an uninhabited island in the Indian Ocean to the Himalayas, and from New York to Hong Kong), but is an otherwise rather transparent imitation with some additional plot elements lifted from Tarzan. It is, however, notable for being Roger Ebert's favorite Hong Kong monster film - which, let's be honest here, isn't really saying much.

When giant footsteps belonging to what is supposedly a giant, ape-like cryptid named the "Mighty Peking Man" is spotted in the snowy mountains of the Himalayas, intending to have the cryptid captured for his own reasons, the Hong Kong tycoon Lu Tien, immediately organizes an expedition to locate the monster, one led by expert hunter Johnny (Danny Lee). But upon finding the beast, it turns out the monster, named "Utam" due to being a giant orangutan, has its own human companion, a Caucasian woman named Samantha, who lost her parents as an infant and was subsequently adopted by Utam and the Himalayan animals. But there's an expedition to complete, and Lu Tien is adamant to have Utam captured alive at all costs.

Contains Examples of:

  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Utam's rampage in the Himalayas, and later upon awakening in Hong Kong and going berserk again.
  • Berserk Button: Unlike its inspiration, in this knockoff Utam finally loses it when a stray bullet from one of the helicopters hits Samantha in her shoulder, resulting in his final rampage.
  • Climbing Climax: With Hong Kong's Jardine House substituting for the Empire State Building.
  • Death by Adaptation: If this counts as an adaptation of King Kong, then Lu Tien and Samnantha, the counterparts of Carl Denham and Ann Darrow, both die at the end of Utam's rampage.
  • Downer Ending: The film's ending is much, much bleaker than either official adaptation of King Kong; Samantha is implied to have died together with Utam at the film's conclusion.
  • Egomaniac Hunter: Johnny is hired to lead the expedition to capture Utam from the Himalayas to Hong Kong. Subverted in that he ends up being nicer than other examples of this trope: He actually hesitates to partake in capturing Utam when Jenny pleads him not to.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Samantha, due to growing up in the wild, and having learnt to communicate with the wildlife.
  • Fur Bikini: Samantha's standard outfit, befitting her nature of being raised in the wilderness.
  • Giant Footprint Reveal: The discovery of Utam's footprint in the hills of Himalayas is what kicks off the expedition for the giant orangutan, and subsequently the entire plot of the film.
  • Interspecies Adoption: Utam, a giant orangutan, raises Samantha, a human.
  • Jungle Princess: Samantha lives in the wild, is friends with all animals, and wears nothing but a Fur Bikini.
  • Kaiju: Not as large as its inspiration, but still fits the bill.
  • Killer Gorilla: A variation; Utam is a kaiju-sized killer orangutan.
  • King Kong Copy: Utam is pretty much Shaw Brothers' take on King Kong, although true to his namesake, he's an orangutan.
  • A Lizard Named "Liz": Utam is a giant orangutan.
  • Misplaced Wildlife: Erm, what is a Malaysian tiger doing in the Himalayas, as one of Utam's companions?
  • The Mockbuster: Besides the obvious parallels to King Kong (1933), the film is also notable for being released a year after the 1976 remake.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Samantha, who spends plenty of screentime in her Fur Bikini.
  • Nubile Savage: Samantha, being played by the shapely Evelyn Kraft.
  • People in Rubber Suits: How Utam is portrayed onscreen.
  • Raised by Wolves: Samantha is raised by a kaiju-sized orangutan.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: After Utam swats a helicopter out of the air, the helicopter then crashes... into an oil tanker in the middle of the streets. The result is as explosive as it sounds.
  • Suck Out the Poison: Johnny have to do this to Samantha when she gets bitten by a venomous snake. She ends up drifting into unconsciousness, allowing Johnny's gang to attack and capture Utam without her interference.
  • Vine Swing: How Samantha travels around in the jungles.
  • Yeti: The film, due to being set in the Himalayas, identifies Utam as a Yeti of sorts, although he's more of an Informed Species.