Sometimes you want to watch a movie as brainless as a big, giant, hairy ape. Kong: Skull Island is just the sort of movie, and it is literally a big, giant, hairy ape. Brainless, though? The film was, but Kong not so much.

Kong: Skull Island situates itself in the early 70s after the US withdraws from the debacle in Vietnam. Yet, not all are happy about it. Samuel L. Jackson's Lt. Col. Packard is disgusted with the ending of the only thing he knows to do -- fight an enemy. When he is given a chance of escorting a scientific mission with his air cavalry corps, he relishes the opportunity. He's not ready to go back to America where his sense of worth would be questioned and the duty and honor of being a military man is left in the rice paddies of Vietnam to die.

So, Monarch, a name familiar to latest US Godzilla fans, recruits Jackson and they fly off to a mist shrouded island in the middle of the pacific to conduct "scientific experiments" mapping the last unmappable place on the planet. They do so by dropping bombs which scare up all kinds of denizens of the island least of which is King Kong. Kong is not alone. There's a bunch of lizard-esque creatures. And like the latest Godzilla, Kong is force of nature meant to balance the evil of it all.

Yet, it is Jackson's crew that take a pounding. By scaring up Kong, he kicks their asses. And in losing, Jackson becomes Ahab and Kong Moby Dick. Jackson will suffer nothing to destroy the beast that destroyed his men even though said men just want to get home. "Dear Billy, we be battling' a tall ape!" Everyone wants home, but not Jackson.

In the end, it's man versus the beast versus the lizard-esque creatures versus nature. It is such a mess that you should go along for the ride. But realize, it's one hodgepodge of a film with many things going on. I didn't even get to Charles C. Reilly's cool stranded pilot or whatever it was Oscar winner, Brie Larson, was doing. Just behold Samuel L. Jackson chewing scenery.

3 of 5 stars.

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