Kong: Skull Island- 8/10
Pretty good take on the King Kong story, although they somewhat use the subtle "beauty and the beast" factor with Brie Larson it isnt overdone or follow the same format as the actual King Kong movies. For those in the know KSI is a part of the Kong/Godzilla universe where during the end of the Vietnam War Samuel L Jackson and his troops who are about to go home get a call for one more deployment. Their job is to escort a handful of people including John Goodman's character who represents MONARCH, a tracker played by Tom Hiddleston (Loki in the Marvel series), and Larson a photographer. MONARCH has discovered an island surrounded by a stormy mist of clouds (sound familiar?) that MONARCH believes is inhabited by large monsters that had once dominated the planet. Unknown to the soldiers while they are using bombs on the island they anger the king, Kong himself who begins to destroy a hefty portion of their platoon of helicopters and men. For the few that survive including Jackson they are spread out amongst the island and must reach a rendezvous and extraction point. But, Jackson who really never wanted to end the Vietnam War now focuses his anger on Kong who he wants to kill because of the loss of his other platoons.
Eventually one of the groups lead by Larson and Hiddleston encounters a native tribe on the island that at first are not very friendly until its discovered than an old WWII vet (John C. Reily) is among them who crash landed on the island years before. Over time he was able to communicate with them and allows the tension to die down between the group and the natives. Reily begins to explain that Kong is actually the protector of the tribe of people who worship him from a particular creature known by Reilly as "Skull Crushers" much like the rivalry between Godzilla and the Mutos. Obviously, the rest of the movie plays out as much as you would expect with Jackson trying to be the giant killer and a select few who manage to get off the island. The ending has an easter egg but i doubt its much of a spoiler at this point as most people before the movie even got released were informed about the connection to the Godzilla franchise. The survivors (who i wont name here) are interrogated and then informed that Kong was/is not the only "King" on the planet. They then begin to show native wall art that depicts other monsters from the G universe that certainly opens the door to the next Godzilla movie and eventual clash between Kong and Godzilla.
The only interesting thing about the Kong vs Godzilla movie to come in the future is both Godzilla and Kong seem to be the planets protectors of sorts. But in KSI, it is eluded that maybe the monsters are wanting to take the planet back from the humans so i dont know how the scripts will unfold going forward. In the new Godzilla movie he was basically the savior (which i love) of the human race. So i guess my curiosity will be will Godzilla and Kong really end up fighting each because of dominance or will they somehow become allies? In the original Kong vs G the match ended up in what was basically a tie with no apparent winner. Will it play out the same way? Only time will tell but if you ask this very rabid Godzilla fan i think there can only be one true KING, and he aint no dirty ape.
I was surprised by how bad this was rated on RT before seeing it last night at the drive in. So while i wouldnt rate it the best thing ever i did find it pretty funny and the story was adequate and not stupid. The story is about a FBI agent (played by Michael Pena) who goes uncover in the California patrol to weed out what the FBI believes has some corrupt cops who have been robbing armored cars. Dax Shepard plays John Baker who has a long history of surgeries on his knees and body but is trying desperately to save his marriage to his wife who just so happens to be his real life wife Kristen Bell so he enlists into the California Patrol as well but because of his issues is on a probationary period. He is teamed up with Pena who goes by the name Poncherello (Ponch for short) but is initially unaware of Poncho's true intent. The pair at first have some issues with one another with some great comical banter going back and forth with each other. Vincent D' Onofrio is great as the lead bad guy, i can say im never really disappointed with Vincent's roles big or small as he is a great actor. As i said, the movie isnt mind bending but i feel that so far the reviews have been a tad bit to harsh in my opinion so if you want some good laughs definitely check it out. Also look out for the Erik Estranda cameo as he played the original Ponch in the tv series.