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King Kong, after being shot down from the World Trade Center, is kept alive in a coma for about 10 years at the Atlantic 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 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 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, who is dubbed "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 shot by the military, Kong kills the military colonel and dies slowly at a military base. After this event, Lady Kong is back in Borneo, with their happy, newborn son.
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.