1967 | Color | 79min
Starring: Yeong-Il Oh, Jeong-Im Nam, Sun-Jae Lee, Moon Kang, and Kwang Ho Lee.
Directed By: Kim Ki-Duk
Being a giant monster must really suck sometimes. Just think about it. One day you are buried miles beneath the earth’s surface sleeping comfortably, just minding your own business, when somebody goes and moves some ancient stone idol. Of course you really couldn’t care less about some stupid statue, but because of some goofy tribal ritual that was performed hundreds of years ago, you are now contractually obligated to rain death and destruction upon the fine citizens of Tokyo. It happens all of the time.
And it doesn’t end there, no sir! A newly-awakened monster doesn’t exactly have a lot of options when it comes to how he will spend his day. You’re pretty much stuck with wandering aimlessly about Monster Island, occasionally fighting with the other kaiju inhabitants. The monotony must be unbearable. Then when you do finally decide to escape to the city for a little fun, the entire Japanese Self Defense Force swarms on you and you are forced to vaporize everyone in sight with your atomic breath. This happens at least once a year, by my count.
It’s hard enough for the heavy hitters like Godzilla and Gamera, but what about those lesser known monsters. Monsters like Zarkorr, Gorgo, and Yongary. These guys have it really rough. Take Yongary for example. After a nuclear test wakes him from his thousand-year slumber, Yongary decides to go out and explore the city of Seoul. You know, see the sights, meet the locals, maybe go out for a little dancing. Of course, as soon as he shows up in Seoul, he has a small misunderstanding with the South Korean military and ends up being offed by an obnoxious short-shorts-wearing kid armed with a giant bottle of Mr. Clean. I mean seriously, c’mon!
As if it wasn’t bad enough that Yongary is little more than a blatant rip-off of big brothers Gamera and Godzilla. Or that the special effects in his film are terrible even by 1950’s standards, let alone 1967. Or the fact that the atrocious English dub fails to even name several of the main characters. Or Yongary’s very embarrassing dance number with the film’s obligatory brat (see video clip below). Nope, even after all of that, poor Yongary ends up dead in a river, twitching like Gary Busey, and hemorrhaging from his rectum. Talk about piling on.
Like I said, it’s rough being a kaiju. Especially if you are a third-rate, Korean kaiju.
Reviewed by Derek Miller
Posted March 20, 2008
Here we see Yongary shaking his “groove thang” with his obnoxious friend Icho. Say what you will about Godzilla and Gamera, but they never sunk to this level of absurdity.
Oh who am I kidding, yes they did.
- Posted under: kaiju
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