The Mighty Peking Man (1977)

The Mighty Peking Man is a 1977 monster film whose Mandarin title, Xingxing Wang, translates as “Gorilla King” in English (let’s forget the dopey U.S. title of Goliathon). Yep, you guessed it: made to cash in on the 1976 King Kong remake. While Quentin Tarantino’s Rolling Thunder imprint reissued the film in 1998, MPM initially rolled out as a second-biller on the U.S. Drive-In circuit in 1980. It’s the same old story—only told with tongue firmly planted in cheek—featuring greedy explorers who exploit a very large Himalayan Yeti—with a twist: Peking Man raised a beautiful, Tarzaneque woman orphaned in a plane crash who pals around the jungle with a pet leopard. The climax: The Peking Man takes a header off Hong Kong’s Jardine Tower in a hail of helicopter gunfire and jet bombers.

And that Roger Ebert “Thumbs Up!” on the VHS sleeve ain’t no scam: it’s the real deal, as he sites MPM as his “favorite Hong Kong monster film.” And mine too, Rog. Mine, too, as it’s a very well made film. And it should be, as The Mighty Peking Man had a budget of six million Hong Kong dollars under the Shaw Bros. studio (Corpse Mania). The film took over a year to complete—and that time and care shows, in spades—and it was shot in Mysore, India.

While I love it equally, the Shaw Bros. didn’t fair as well with their Hammer Studios co-production of their martial arts vamps going against Peter Cushing’s vamp hunter in The Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires. Their other co-production—the lesser known Shatter—was intended as a weekly TV series, but ended up being a theatrical film dovetailed into the U.S. martial arts drive-in craze of the mid-70s. Oh, and Roger Ebert enjoyed The Mighty Peking Man so much that he re-watched—22 years later and upped on his two and a half star review, for—the Shaw’s 1975 release, Infra-Man. That’s the power of the Q: you gotta love it. And when it comes to Hong Kong cinema, none meets the power of the Shaw Bros.: you gotta love it. As you will this film. Pure awesome.

In a production twist only a B&S Movies reader can love: Koichi Kawaktia, MPM’s assistant director, later worked on Yonggary, the 1999 South Korean remake by Hyung-rae Shims of Yongary, Monster from the Deep (1967). Yonggary ’99’s co-scripter is Marty Poole, who wrote the 1997 Richard Lynch-fronted Rollerball homage, Ground Rules (oh, you gotta watch that film!!).

There’s a lot of online opportunities to watch The Mighty Peking Man, but you know us: we always try to find you the freebie. So watch it on You Tube. It’s campy, it’s whacked, it’s funny and entertaining. Strap on the popcorn bucket and snap the caps off the Dr. Pepper sixer and roll it. It’s the perfect “must watch” of this week’s “Hong Kong Week” tribute of reviews to pencil into your schedule.

Don’t forget that you can learn more about the Q’s Rolling Thunder imprint with our “Exploring: The 8 Films of Quentin Tarantino’s Rolling Thunder Pictures” featurette.

Reissue Update: Here we go with another Delirium, UFO: Target Earth, and Calamity of Snakes surprise, again! In this case we were simple scratching a movie off of our above noted Quentin feature . . . or was it our “Planet of the Apes” tribute week . . . no, wait, it was for our “Kaiju Day Marathon” . . . and months later, a DVD restore was announced for release in December 2021. (Duh, it was for our “Hong Kong Week” of films. Hey, gotta work in the links.)

Yes! A reissue of The Might Peking Man is now available as part of Arrow Video’s “Shaw Scope” box set, in this case, Volume One. You don’t want the box set and you’d rather stream it? No worries. It’s also available on the Arrow Player service.

This new Arrow version of The Mighty Peking Man features the film in both uncompressed Mandarin and English original-mono audio, as well as newly translated English subtitles for the Mandarin audio, plus English hard-of-hearing subtitles for the English dub.

The new features also include: A new commentary track by Travis Crawford, a new interview with suit designer Keizo Murase, a 2003 iInterview with director Ho Meng-hua, a 2004 interview with star Ku Feng, a behind-the-scenes vignette of Super 8 footage from the archives of Keizo Murase, an un-restored standard-definition version of the film, alternate opening credits from the U.S.-version of The Mighty Peking Man, known as Goliathon, trailers from the Hong Kong and U.S., German and Dutch versions, as well as the U.S. TV commercial (Oh, boy, I remember seeing that on TV!), and a stills-image gallery.

You can purchase the Shaw sets from MVD.

Streaming online: You can also stream The Might Peking Man by visiting ARROW to start your 30-day free trial. Subscriptions are available for $4.99 monthly or $49.99 yearly. The ARROW Player is available in the U.S. and Canada, the U.K. and Ireland on the following Apps/devices: Roku (all Roku sticks, boxes, devices, etc.), Apple TV and iOS devices, Android TV and mobile devices, Fire TV (all Amazon Fire TV Sticks, boxes, etc.), and on all web browsers at at Arrow

About the Author: You can read the music and film reviews of R.D Francis on Medium and learn more about his work on Facebook. He also writes for B&S Movies.