King Kong Lives, also known as King Kong II, is a 1986 American monster film produced by DEG Studios. Directed by John Guillermin and featuring special effects by Carlo Rambaldi, the film starred Linda Hamilton and Brian Kerwin. The film was a belated sequel to the 1976 version of King Kong.
King Kong, after being shot down from the World Trade Center, is kept alive in a coma for about 10 years at the Atlanta Institute, under the care of surgeon Dr. Amy Franklin (Linda Hamilton). In order to save Kong's life, Dr. Franklin must perform a heart transplant and give Kong a computer-monitored artificial heart. However, he lost so much blood that a transfusion is badly needed. Enter adventurer Hank "Mitch" Mitchell (Brian Kerwin), who captures a giant female gorilla, who is dubbed "Lady Kong"; in Borneo (Mitchell theorizes that Borneo and the island from the first movie were once part of the same landmass), bringing her to the Institute so her blood can be used for Kong's operation. The transfusion and the heart transplant are a success, but Kong escapes along with the female. Archie Nevitt (John Ashton), an insane army lieutenant colonel, is called in with his men to hunt down and kill the two apes. Lady Kong is captured alive by Nevitt's troops and imprisoned; Kong falls from a cliff and is presumed dead, but soon returns to rescue his mate. But as Franklin and Mitchell soon discover, Kong's artificial heart is beginning to give out, forcing them to try a jailbreak only to discover that Lady Kong is pregnant with Kong's offspring. Kong then is successful in saving his mate. After being followed, attacked, and shot by the military, Kong kills the military colonel and dies slowly near a military base on a farm where Lady Kong gives birth to a healthy baby boy. After this event, Lady Kong is back on Borneo's jungle, with her happy, newborn son whom King Kong was able to see and touch before his death.
- Brian Kerwin as Hank Mitchell
- Linda Hamilton as Dr. Amy Franklin
- Peter Elliott as King Kong
- John Ashton as Lt.Col. Archie Nevitt
- George Yiasoumi as Lady Kong
- Benjamin Kechley as Baby Kong
- Frank Maraden as Dr. Benson Hughes
- Peter Michael Goetz as Dr. Andrew Ingersoll
- Jimmie Ray Weeks as Major Peete
- Jimmy Wiggins as Boyfriend
- Mary Swafford as Girlfriend
- Michael Forest as Vance
- Leon Rippy as Will
- Herschel Sparber as Jay
- Wallace Merck as Hunter #3
- Dean Whitworth as Hunter #4
- Jonathan Canfield as Military Jump Ranger #1
- Jack Wheeler (twin) as Military Officer #1
- Joe Wheeler (twin) as Military Officer #2
- David Hartzell as Military Sergeant #1
- Patrick Webb as Infantry
- Greg Hendrixson as Jump Ranger #2
- Jeff Bridges as Jack Prescott (prologue archival footage from King Kong (1976) - Uncredited)
- Jessica Lange as Dwan (prologue archival footage from King Kong (1976) - Uncredited)
Despite its marketing campaign, King Kong Lives failed at the box office, grossing $4.7 million during its theatrical run.
The film was universally panned by critics. Rotten Tomatoes rated the film 0% based on 9 reviews. Roger Ebert gave the film only one out of four stars and stated, "The problem with everyone in King Kong Lives is that they're in a boring movie, and they know they're in a boring movie, and they just can't stir themselves to make an effort." The film was nominated for one Razzie Award, Worst Visual Effects.
The film is listed in Golden Raspberry Award founder John Wilson's book The Official Razzie Movie Guide as one of the The 100 Most Enjoyably Bad Movies Ever Made.