Review of 'Kong: Skull Island'

kong_skull_island.jpg Monster chaser Bill Randa (John Goodman) convinces the government to allow him to piggy-back on a “scientific” mission to a mysterious South Pacific island. Accompanied by an army squadron headed by the gung-ho Colonel Preston Packard (Samuel L. Jackson) the mission soon runs into difficulty with the Skull Island fauna which includes a rather large ape that quickly takes out their helicopters. The survivors meet a group of indigenous people which Marlow (John C. Reilly), a fighter pilot that crashed here along with his Japanese foe in the second world war, has befriended. Now adapted to life on the island Marlow reluctantly agrees to help the group into travelling across the island to meet the rescue team. It will not be an easy journey as there are these rather nasty, fast, massive iguana creatures (“Skull Crawlers”) in their way…

Surprisingly, in what you might consider a lower budget rip off of the successful 2005 King Kong from Peter Jackson, “Skull Island” is quite well done though more than a bit predictable: Maniacal army guy (played largely to type by the perpetually angry Samuel L. Jackson), big creature battles, bad stuff always happening, etc though it is missing only the “woman in distress” bit, thankfully. The film is largely an excuse for big action sequences as the adventurers travel across the island but these sequences are very well executed and look great though there are bits that jar such as unconvincing satellite shots of the islands (pleeeassee, an island shaped like a skull?). The acting talent is reasonable but, of course, this is simple character acting with cheesy dialogue throughout. The sole female representative photographer Mason Weaver (Brie Larson) is largely restricted to snapping pictures and simply fading into the background but at least she is not playing the maiden in distress…

At just under two hours the film does feel a bit over-long though moves swiftly though huge action sequences as they cross the island. It does seem that they do the same thing over and over again: Yet another fight between Kong and something else really big; The army commander making another stupid decision; The characters failing to spot the obvious. This is all so cliched it is not funny however, it is mindless and often incredibly violent entertainment that is sure to amuse action flick fans. A post-credits sequence hints at sequels and it looks like this might be true with “Gozilla vs Kong” to be released in 2021.

Rating: “Really good but I have some issues”

Review Date: 2020-12-31

Directed by: Jordan Vogt-Roberts

Studio: Warner Bros.

Year: 2017

Length: 118 minutes

Genre: Action/Adventure