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  Yongary, Monster from the Deep I Could Murder A Tank Of Gasoline
Year: 1967
Director: Kim Ki-duk
Stars: Oh Yeong-il, Nam Jeong-im, Lee Sun-jae, Moon Kwang, Kwang Ho Lee, Kyoung-min Cho
Genre: Action, Science FictionBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 3 votes)
Review: Iloo is a South Korean scientist who has just attended a wedding, and the father-in-law wonders when he will be getting hitched himself, but the girl who would be his most promising prospect writes him off as she says it would be like being married to a computer. As he drives off, going back to work, he notices the bride and groom have stopped up ahead and he gets out to see what the matter is. This turns out to be down to the tricks played by little Icho, who has been misusing a heat ray developed at the lab; once that's sorted out, Iloo can get back to work, and the space capsule he's sending up...

Yongary, Monster from the Deep was a rare South Korean entry from the sixties into the giant monster movie propogated by their neighbours across the sea, Japan, and indeed they had some Japanese assistance in bringing what was essentially Godzilla from Seoul to the screen. Although you had to wait a while for their big green guy to appear, if you've seen enough of their inspiration his debut on the scene would not come as much of a surprise given we had already caught an abundance of miniature sets that the space rocket takes off from: precisely the kind of surroundings that a huge, rampaging dinosaur would be right at home in.

Reputedly the original version of this is long lost, so all we have left to remember this by is the American dub, which is lacking much in the way of credits, and runs about twenty minutes shorter than its source, but it's better than nothing. Or was it? Ask some monster movie fans and they would tell you that this was one of the worst of its type ever made, and not only because of a rather infamous part late on that attempts to humanise the creature. The trouble was that these filmmakers were caught between emulating the bad Godzilla of old and the new, child friendly Godzilla that he had become by 1967.

Hence the heavy involvement of the brat we see trying to ruin the wedding day near the beginning; he invites himself to practically every major engagement with the beast, and ends up having a hand in saving the day to boot. At first the authorities think they are dealing with a chain reaction of earthquakes heading Korea's way, but those disruptions awaken Yongary, who climbs out of a fissure and into our hearts, er, sort of. Decked out with a horn that shoots a laser beam, the resemblance to Godzilla is rather marked, even down to the glowing eyes and fiery breath, which we can see emerging from a nozzle in the throat of the suit, somewhat destroying the illusion.

Talking of destruction, it's the main reason for watching this, as there's plenty of it even if it's not up to the Toho standards. Others would tell you that the other reason would be to laugh at how cheesy this was, which brings us to the scene that has received most of the attention, where Yongary, in a quiet moment between smashing up buildings, hears a surf rock track drifting over the ether and proceeds to strut his funky stuff. Not anything that unusual in Japanese sci-fi efforts of the day, but if you're unprepared for the bad guys in such things acting in such a goofy manner then it's the kind of thing that could be a deal breaker for those whose patience has been tried by all they've seen leading up to it. Really, Yongary is fairly harmless in spite of its thirst to see things go boom, best to be chalked up to a nice try rather than shot down in flames - or sprinkled with ammonia. Music by Jeon Jeong-geun.

Aka: Taekoesu Yonggary
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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