FILM REVIEW: KONG – SKULL ISLAND(12A)

While the King himself still packs a punch – this latest reboot of the giant gorilla legend is pretty basic fare.

In fact, it’s pretty darn disappointing after the excitement generated by the trailers – particularly as Kong is accompanied by an all-star cast.

Actors like Tom ‘Loki’ Hiddleston – fresh off his sensational turn in The Night Manager – Oscar-winner Brie Larson (Room), and the always reliable presence of Samuel L Jackson and John Goodman, seem to have more stress battling the terribly clunky and stereotypical by-the-numbers script, than the massive towering ape.


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On the massive plus side though, the special effects – headlined by tremendous monster-bashing battles – are simply breathtaking, and that – coupled with some fantastic death scenes – is generally the only real reason to see this (along with Reilly of course), but fortunately that is just about enough to keep your attention.

This fourth major incarnation of Kong – after the 1933, 1976 and 2005 versions – forgoes the famous love story/Empire State Building plotline, in favour of a 1973-set scenario which sees a bunch of explorers – Hiddleston’s mercenary Conrad and Larson’s photojournalist Weaver, scientists – Goodman’s expedition leader Randa and Hawkin’s right hand man Brooks – and soldiers, led by Samuel L Jackson’s battle-hungry Colonel Packard, venture to an uncharted island in the South Pacific.


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Despite the scripting not being up to scratch, and the excellent cast being nowhere near used to their potential, this still just about does enough to lay the foundations for a potentially exciting crossover with Godzilla – which started with the 2014 reboot – being earmarked for 2020, and there’s enough monster madness to pull it through.

Kong is by far the most impressive thing about it – being roughly three times bigger than Peter Jackson’s version with a size more akin to the classic original – and his presence is maybe all this new franchise needs to move forward.

But generally speaking there’s a distinct lack of ingenuity which makes you feel there was a missed opportunity here to make something really special – to really make Kong king again – and that’s a bit of a shame.

Gavin Miller

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Cast: Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L Jackson, John C Reilly, John Goodman, Brie Larson, Corey Hawkins, Toby Kebbell, John Ortiz, Shea Whigham, Jason Mitchell, Tian Jing, Marc Evan Jackson, Richard Jenkins & Terry Notary

Running Time: 1 Hr 58 Mins

Director: Jordan Vogt-Roberts

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