The Mighty Peking Duck

OK, so we're a little off-topic here at G-Farce. Godzilla does not appear in the movie. But The Mighty Peking Duck definitely fits into the "lost" category, and if there's any justice in the world, it'll stay there.

The Mighty Peking Duck was made quickly and cheaply. It was rushed through production to get into theatres just ahead of a major Hollywood flick on the same general theme. Unfortunately, the "hit" movie MPD anticipated was George Lucas' Howard the Duck. Both movies tanked, and while Howard has earned a place for itself in the chronicles of Really Bad Cinema, the cheap imitation disappeared almost without trace.

The Mighty Peking Duck

The movie begins with the discovery of a colossal waterfowl. He emerges from a rockslide in the Himalayan foothills and goes on a rampage, squashing peasants beneath his huge webbed feet, swallowing houses in his immense beak, and drowning entire villages with his enormous droppings.

News of the Duck soon reaches the ears of Hong Kong entrepeneur Sheng Jing Bing. He immediately formulates a plan to catch the monster and force it to play ice hockey. Sheng goes off to a bar, where he meets Fang Cho Pi, a penniless former telemarketer who was fired for exposing himself in public, and who drinks heavily to dull the pain of his heroin withdrawal (as well as to subdue his violent sociopathic impulses). Ladies and gentlemen, this is our hero. Fang agrees to go with Sheng to find the Duck, in exchange for 30% of the gross and his pick from Sheng's collection of ultra-violent Japanese porn.

The pair stop off at a local pawn shop to pick up a bunch of native bearers -- spear carriers so generic they have bar codes tatooed on their chests -- and set off for the Himalayas. On the way, Sheng speculates about the origin of the Duck: how he may have been preserved underground in some thousand-year-old egg. "Himalayan eggs?" snarls Fang. "That's impossible!"

Along the way, the intrepid party runs into all sorts of perils. First they are ambushed by killer snails; many bearers are killed. Taking a wrong turn outside of Chandigarh, they wind up in Camden, NJ -- many bearers are killed. Then they are stampeded by stock footage of American buffalo -- many bearers are killed, but Sheng and Fang escape by pulling a string and dancing. Fang is attacked by elephants, and then by snakes; but Sheng gives him some more to drink and they disappear. Next, the party is attacked by robot Ninja howler monkeys with machine guns and laser beams that come out of their eyes. Many bearers are killed.

The party's mountain guide gets a paper cut from the map -- which neatly slices off his arm. As the guide lies bleeding and screaming, Sheng pulls his gun and shoots him. Fang is appalled: "How could you do that?" he says. "It would have been so much more entertaining to watch him bleed to death!"

(Remember: this is our hero.)

Moving on: half the remaining bearers die when they fall off the side of a mountain, and the rest die when the side of a mountain falls on them. Sheng buggers off under cover of darkness, leaving Fang alone to fend for himself. Fang, without food or water, is picking his way through the jungle -- when he suddenly comes face-to-face with 40 tons of downy yellow fury: the Mighty Peking Duck!

Things are looking bleak for our hero; this movie could be over in seconds. But don't get your hopes up. Out of the trees comes an unlikely savior: Amanda, the Wild Woman! Amanda, it turns out, was abandoned in the jungle when her parents' plane crashed. Alone and lost at the tender age of 13, she found herself without television, without radio, without peer groups, thousands of miles from the mall and low on makeup. With no way to determine what is currently trendy or cool, Amanda has gone nuts, wearing animal skins, swinging from tree to tree, and lapsing into a babble of her own creation. Amanda is drawn to Fang, because he reminds her of her late, alcoholic, abusive father. She intercedes with the Duck, who lets Fang go.

Amanda takes Fang to the site of the wrecked plane. Inside the wreckage, Fang finds a diary. The last entry reads something like this:

February 18: Took off in bad weather. Suddenly the engine caught fire! Oh no! We crashed and I was killed. My daughter crawled from the wreckage and was rescued by a gigantic bird-like thing. The next thing I knew, ten years had passed and this whole thing was being made fun of in a Bad Movie website...
Fang glances over this entry, then eats the diary.

So here we are, about six minutes into the movie. You can probably guess what happens next. Fang finds some unbroken bottles of booze in the wrecked plane, gets Amanda drunk, has his way with her and gets her to agree to bring the Duck back to civilization. Fang brings the Duck to Sheng; Fang forgives Sheng for abandoning him when Sheng promises to let him
a.) make fun of a little boy in a wheelchair, and
b.) kick a puppy down a flight of stairs.
Have I mentioned that Fang is our hero?

Anyway: when Fang gets back to Hong Kong, he is met by his ex-girlfriend, Sui Bian Shuo. She's missed him, and is determined to get him back. First she calls him by his little pet-name ("Hey, asshole!"); then she tells him she's thinking maybe she'll reconsider about the sheep and the turkey baster. Even though he's actually abandoning Amanda, Fang here begins to show his more sensitive side: he agrees to forego the ball-gag if Sui'll concede the sheep. Amanda walks in on their "reconciliation", and runs off, nauseated...

... only to run into Sheng. Sheng drags her off to see the Duck, who has been dressed in a huge sailor suit and is being repeatedly clobbered by anthropomorphic chipmunks. "No!" cries Amanda, "Don't torture the duckling!" Sheng is unmoved: "You lizard in a woman's skin," he snarls; "I'll get you, and your little duck too: one on top of another! And you will live in terror!"

Heh. I got your Duck Stamp, right here.

Naturally, the Duck is Mighty Peking Unhappy to see his pet blonde being molested. He breaks free and, at long last, begins his murderous rampage... while (incongruously) the Fanfare for the Common Man section of Aaron Copland's 3rd Symphony dominates the soundtrack. Being a duck, MPD pecks Amanda to death rather than have her soiled by a male competitor. Then, he suffocates Sheng under a particularly messy dropping.

Now the movie settles into a nice long orgy of wanton destruction. We're treated to a running gag in which panicked citizens shout, "Duck!" at the monster's approach -- so the bewildered people crouch down with their arms over their heads, and are promtly squished by MPD's enormous feet. Finally, the Army sets MPD aflame, whereupon hundreds of people waving little pancakes converge on MPD's smoking carcass and devour it. Fang inherits ALL of Sheng's porn collection. The End.

The Mighty Peking Duck was produced by a Hong Kong company that had previously specialized in martial arts flicks. You get the feeling that the whole crew was just itching to drop the dialog and start kicking some ass. Unfortunately, this doesn't happen. The characters go through their motions as stiffly as plastic action figures. It's a waste of a talented kung-fu movie director, a fine kung-fu cinematographer, a great kung-fu choreographer for the monster attack scenes... and even, dare we suggest, a kung-fu grip.

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