Kong: Skull Island

Kong: Skull Island ★★

"Bitch, please."

76% of this movie is close-ups of Samuel L. Jackson staring emptily at explosions.

Kong: Skull Island doesn't tread on new ground or evoke any sort of emotions at all other than maybe disillusionment here and there. What it does do is make Thomas Mann kind of sexy, which surprised me.

The direction is ok. There's conflicts of interests throughout that I'm going to blame on studio interference. The director is probably in over his head with the special effects, and it shows in how a majority of the action scenes are handled. The editing is the true villain of the film, though. We're handed the most awful cold open of all time, followed by a choppy scramble to the island, and then an uneven set of sequences cultivating into a subpar finale. We get shots of the sun and then it's suddenly night, shots of open landscapes we just saw to be intimate and cluttered from the last shot, and plenty of weird cuts to cover up obvious ADR.

It's not the worst. The action is relatively comprehensible and surprisingly violent. The cheesier sequences with John C. Reilly and a sword are B-grade fun. There's a sequence with Tom Hiddleston and a gas mask that's a riot. Brie Larson trrrrrrrieeees kinnnnnndddaaaa, and John Goodman is always welcome (if very underused).

Skull Island isn't a massive stain on the Kong 'legacy'. But, it's got nothing on the original or even Peter Jackson's version. It's mercifully short, but pretty damn empty. The end credits tease is genuinely exciting though, and with Godzilla: King of the Monsters being helmed by Michael Dougherty, I'm still hopeful despite this dud. Stop monkeying around and give the next one some teeth.

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