Eppler: "Kong" quick to deliver for audiences

Eppler: "Kong" quick to deliver for audiences

"Kong: Skull Island" deserves to stand with some of the best creature features we've seen in the last ten years or so - way better than "Jurassic World" and somewhere between "Pacific Rim" and 'District 9."

The last time we saw Kong was in Peter Jackson's beautiful and ambitious, if overlong, 2005 movie that was a remake of the 1933 original. I'm sure it's worth watching again, but who has more than three hours for that? While Jackson's film felt epic, this new "Kong" plays like a high-end B-movie with A-list actors designed to give the audience what it wants right away. That's a good thing.

When a group of researchers with military escorts go to explore a mysterious island, dropping explosives to help survey the land, they're greeted by our guy in one of the movie's many impressive action scenes - swatting choppers out of the air like house flies.

The cast goes all in on the nonsense with Samuel L. Jackson as a military commander questioning what John Goodman's researcher has gotten his men into. Tom Hiddleston is a mercenary hired for the gig, and Brie Larson is a photographer who wins the beast's heart. The best performance, and the heart of the movie, is John C. Reilly as a World War II pilot who's been stranded on the island since he crashed there. He's hilarious and often says what the audience is thinking.

The movie is set in 1973 at the end of the Vietnam War and not just for an excuse for a great rock music soundtrack. Monster movies like King Kong and Godzilla have always been rooted in political themes from racism to nuclear proliferation. Giving this Kong movie an "Apocalypse Now" vibe plays into a strong anti-war message. For such a dumb movie, it has plenty on its mind.

The special effects are magnificent and Kong himself has never looked better. Director Jordan Vogt-Roberts crafts gorgeous shots that look instantly iconic, and the picture moves so fast you can barely catch your breath. It's a must see on the big screen.

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