It would seem that the Eight Wonder of the World isn't just popular in America. After clashing with his biggest rival Godzilla, the big ape made another appearance in Toho Co.'s long line of kaiju films. Originally, King Kong was supposed to star in a film where he does battle with the sea monster Ebirah, but was ultimately replaced by Godzilla and the resulting film was "Godzilla vs the Sea Monster". However, at the time there was a Kong TV series, so Toho decided to loosely adapt that into film instead. The result was a fun kaiju thrill ride that is known to this day as "King Kong Escapes".
Plot: Somewhere in the North Pole lies a secret base, where lurks the nefarious criminal mastermind Doctor Hu (spelled Who in America, not to be confused with the TV show of the same name). Under the employment of the mysterious Madame X aka Madame Piranha, he builds a robotic version of King Kong to harvest a highly radioactive material called Element X. When Mechani-Kong proves less than reliable, Doctor Hu goes to the prehistoric jungles of Mondo Island to kidnap the real Kong to harvest the Element X. However, the great ape escapes (get it?) and with the help of his newfound human companions who discovered him on the island, King Kong does battle with his robot double in a giant-sized fight to the death in the heart of Tokyo.
This movie is cheesy and the acting is on par with the Adam West "Batman" series, but that's why I like it. The human characters stand out at least and have distinct personalities, from the level-headed Commander Carl Nelson, his trusted companion Jiro, and the beautiful Susan (Kong's love interest). Doctor Hu is a fun villain, over-the-top and being delightfully despicable (even if he has some ugliest bottom teeth in history). The effects are the standard guys-in-suits and miniature sets that are to be expected by Toho and, for the most part, they look good. The music by Akira Ifukube is also nice, great to hear and adding to the thrills and great action scenes throughout the film.
Now for the monster roll call! Kong looks kinda silly, looking a little more like Donkey Kong without the bow tie, but he definitely looks better than his appearance in "King Kong vs Godzilla". The filmmakers at least got his gorilla proportions right and he can still show emotion and character. He has the same roar as before too, which itself is cool. Now, a robot version of the ape might sound ridiculous (and it is), but Mechani-Kong is a good nemesis for his flesh-and-blood counterpart. If it weren't for Mechani-Kong, there wouldn't be a Mechagodzilla, so props to this movie. The mighty dinosaur Gorosaurus makes his first appearance in this film, putting up a good fight against King Kong, a homage to the original 1933 version. Gorosaurus would later have a role as Godzilla's ally in the hit kaiju classic "Destroy All Monsters" and gain a small bit of fame. I guess prehistoric reptiles gotta stick together, especially with those dang dirty apes around!
King Kong Escapes is an unforgettable kaiju film that definitely surpasses the dreadful "King Kong Lives" any day by a mile. It's full of nice characters, cool monster battles, fun cheesy effects, a memorable score, and a silly story too good to resist. Even if you're not a kaiju fan or a Kong fan for that matter, definitely check this one out for at least a few good laughs and thrills.
Review by kevinxirau from the Internet Movie Database.