Mighty Peking Man

Director: Ho Meng-Hua
Screenwriters: I. Kuang

Institute History

  • 1999 Sundance Film Festival


“It's the sensation of the century,” screams a greedy showman when he hears that a ten-story-tall ape has been unearthed in the aftermath of a violent earthquake in the Himalayas. Johnnie Fang (The Killer’s Danny Lee, aka Li Hsiu-Hsien), a heartbroken explorer, is enlisted to help capture the ape, nicknamed Peking Man.
So it’s off to India to capture the beast, but poor Johnnie starts thinking about his ex-girlfriend and gets lost in the jungle, only to be plucked from his romantic haze by a giant hairy palm. He escapes death and is rescued by Ah Wei (Evelyne Kraft), a blonde jungle goddess, always on the verge of losing her top. Orphaned in a plane crash, she was adopted by the ape, who taught her the laws of the jungle. After swingin’ through the trees, Johnnie and his new girlfriend take Peking back to Hong Kong, where the poor creature is tormented, breaks free, and stomps through the panic-stricken colony.
There’s no 1997 takeover subtext in this Eastern treat; just a shameless cash-in on Dino De Laurentiis’s 1976 King Kong. Mighty Peking Man cost six million dollars and was over a year in the making, with locations in Mysore, India and a special-effects team from Japan. It’s a high camp orgy that uses almost every exploitation cinema cliché, from side-splitting dubbing to mondo animal battles (python versus tiger), out-of-place melodrama, disco numbers, quicksand, elephants demolishing a village, fleeing natives, a jungle babe, and fleets of toy cars kicked in the air by the ape’s hairy feet. Mighty Peking Man is a blueprint for shameless midnight enjoyment, with “Made in Hong Kong” stamped on the back.

Ho Meng-Hua, Director
Ho Meng-Hua was born in 1923 in
Guangdong, China. He attended the Shanghai Drama Institute and started work as a cinematographer in 1955. He joined the Shaw Brothers in 1960, first directing melodramas, then later sword-play adventures. In 1980 he began work in film and television in Taiwan. Among his many works are Killer Darts, Vengeance Is a Golden Blade, Lady of Steel, Black Magic, The Oily Maniac, The Vengeful Beauty, and Shaolin Hand Lock.

— Colin Geddes, Toronto Film Festival

Screening Details

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