Saturday, 18 March 2017

#25 & 28 KONG: SKULL ISLAND


Starring Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, Brie Larson, John Goodman, John C. Reily, Jing Tian, Toby Kebbell, John Ortiz, Corey Hawkins, Jason Mitchell, Shea Whigham, Thomas Mann and Terry Notary. Written by Dan Gilroy, Max Borenstein and Derek Connolly. Story by John Gatins and Dan Gilroy. Directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts. Budget $185 million. Running time 118 minutes. Certificate 12A.

It's 1973, the Vietnam War is over and the Monarch company, lead by William Randa (John Goodman), set up to investigate 'giant monsters' sets out to investigate a legendary island known as Skull Island, rumoured to be the home of some (to coin a phrase) bad hombres. Recruiting a ragbag team of ex-S.A.S-trackers (Tom Hiddleton), scientists, a photographer (Brie Larson) and a squadron of Army assault helicopters, lead by Samuel L. Jackson, they set off to pierce the storm cloud that endless circles Skull Island and kick ass! Unfortunately for them, but not us, there's somebody there who's more than capable of kicking back and that's the titular superstar of this movie, Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the 8th wonder of the world, KING, MOTHER-FUCKING, KONG!!! THE SECOND BEST MOVIE MONSTER, EE-VER!!!

Right, hands up, hand on heart, full disclosure and scout's honour. I'm a committed movie monster fan, I've got all the Japanese Godzilla films on disc, I've watched and rewatched all the Kong movies, except for the Peter Jackson version, endlessly. Christ, I've even watched King Kong Lives starring Linda Hamilton, Gorgo and Rodan. So, it's safe to say that I watched this without any form of critical facility and as a result, very much like going to the Panto eager to shout out, "he's behind you!", I fucking loved it. Oh god yes!!!!

Now I say I went in with no critical facility, that's not strictly true, if this had been a bad film I would have hated it with so much passion I probably would have suffered an embolism, but the truth is that this was an utterly glorious, utterly exhilerating, wonderful romp. This film doesn't waste time teasing us with its star, it's almost like the film makers went, "Fuck it, everyone knows what Kong looks like, let's just get to it." And get to it they do! After the quick set up, the multi character introductions and the pre-credit sequence set during the 2nd World War, we're into the action and its breath-taking. Kong is a staggering presence, his sense of scale is astonishing. From his first clash with Samuel Jackson's helicopter squadron to his multiple fights with a rising scale of fantastic monsters this is an absolute hoot of a film and i BLOODY LOVED IT!!

Like its stablemate, Godzilla, its not perfect but it just doesn't matter, there's too much good with this to worry about the loss of momentum in the second act, a failing of most modern action films, but it does have the following. Near-perfect CGI effects, a glorious brutal savagery and some excellent action sequences, plus a camera that doesn't spasm all over the place. This film is a sheer delight.

The cast, a surprisingly capable bunch of damn fine actors give it there all, treating it all with a degree of respect that it probably doesn't deserve and not mugging it up despite its star to whom they all play second fiddle to. By gathering a cast of very good actors to deliver the hookum lines, you end up buying the bunkum. Perhaps Hiddleston comes out the worst, since beyond pouting earnestly and flexing his chiseled muscles doesn't really have a great deal to do. On the opposite scale is John C. Reilly playing Hank Marlow, the eccentric, marooned WWII fighter pilot who's been surviving on on the island for 30 years. He brings a much needed humour and humanity to the proceedings and its him we stay with in the epilogue.

In a word, Kong rocks!

9/10

SECOND VIEWING
This was so much fun! Just gloriously good fun. Loved it again, just as satisfying. Well worth a second viewing.

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