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Ever since King Kong has be shot down from the World Trade Center, he was kept alive in a coma for about 10 years at the Atlantic Institute, under the care of a surgeon, called 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, Kong has lost so much blood that a transfusion is badly needed.
Enter adventurer Hank Mitchell (Brian Kerwin), who captures a giant female gorilla 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 that way her blood can be used for Kong's operation. The transfusion and the heart transplant were a success, but Kong escapes along with the female, who is referred to as "Lady Kong." Archie Nevitt (John Ashton), an insane army 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 try and rescue his mate. But as Franklin and Mitchell soon discover, Kong's artificial heart is beginning to give out. Kong then is successful in saving his mate. After being followed, attacked, and is shot by the military, Kong kills the military colonel and he dies slowly at a military base. After this event, Lady Kong is back in Borneo, with their happy, newborn child called son.
Staff role on the left, staff member's name on the right.
- Directed by John Guillermin
- Written by Ronald Shusett, Steven Pressfield
- Produced by Martha Schumacher
- Music by John Scott
- Cinematography by Alec Mills
- Edited by Malcom Cooke
- Production Design by Peter Murton
- Assistant Directing by Matt Earl Beesley, Brian W. Cook, Bruce Moriarty, Bud Davis
- Special Effects by Carlo Rambaldi
Actor's name on the left, character played on the right.
- Brian Kerwin as Hank Mitchell
- Linda Hamilton as Dr. Amy Franklin
- Peter Elliott as King Kong
- John Ashton as Lt.Col. Archie Nevitt
- George Antoni (as George Yiasomi) 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 Chigger
- Dean Whitworth as Scruffy
- Jonathan Canfield as Jump Ranger #1
- Jack Wheeler as Officer #1
- Joe Wheeler as Officer #2
- David Hartzell as Sergeant #1
- Patrick Webb as Infantryman
- Greg Hendrixson as Jump Ranger #2
- Jim Grimshaw as Sergeant
- Robin Cahall as Mazlansky
- Matt Totty as Sgt. Tucker
- Jeff Bridges as Jack Prescott (Stock footage, uncredited)
- Jessica Lange as Dwan (Stock footage, uncredited)
- George Whiteman as Helicopter pilot (Stock footage, uncredited)
- Rick Baker as King Kong (Stock footage, uncredited)
- Peter Cullen as King Kong (Voice, stock vocalizations, uncredited)
Ever since King Kong earned $80 million at the box office, Dino De Laurentiis considered producing a sequel. Various projects were considered, ranging from King Kong in Africa and King Kong in Moscow to loose remakes of Son of Kong. Ultimately, King Kong Lives was released on December 19, 1986, almost exactly ten years after the release of King Kong. Despite its reduced budget compared to its predecessor, King Kong Lives was heavily marketed around the world, usually under the title King Kong 2, even receiving two tie-in games in Japan.
- The Japanese poster for this film was drawn by Noriyoshi Ohrai, who is known for illustrating posters for most of the Godzilla films since The Return of Godzilla.