Reviews & Previews - King of Kong

Posted on Monday, April 14, 2008 at 06:00 PM

King Of Kong

By: S. Tran

Starring: Steve Wiebe, Billy Mitchell
Directed by: Seth Gordon
Running time: 79 min
Rated: PG-13

Barrels of Fun

We have given up hope of seeing any new movies for a while due to "the boy". So we decided to try Netflix and so far I am digging it as it lets me see movies I wouldn't normally check out or pay $5 to rent at the store. One of the films I saw was King of Kong, a documentary about two guys, Wiebe and Mitchell who are involved in a  goofy story involving the high score for Donkey Kong.

Probably one of the funniest movies I have seen all year, King of Kong brings together some of the most bizarre characters you can imagine. If I didn't know it was a documentary I would swear these guys were acting. And yet looking back on it, the collection of nerds, dweebs and outcasts is pretty much what I would expect from a group of guys dedicated to gaming records for 20+ year old video games.

Trying to break into this group, for no discernible reason except that he wants to be the best at something, is Steve Wiebe. Compared to the peanut gallery he encounters, Steve is actually a pretty normal guy, except that he plays Donkey Kong for hours at a time to try and get the record from Billy Mitchell, the reigning champion and "legend" in the classic gaming world. I say legend loosely because I am sure no one except the people in the movie know who he is.

The story develops as we see Steve trying to get his high score validated while Billy and his minions seem to be on a mission to prevent this. Steve is forced to travel to the gaming record headquarters to play Donkey Kong live because his video tape of his record breaking game is suspect. Then he finds himself upstaged by Mitchell who sends in his own taped game which is accepted. This sets in motion the story of Steve trying to find recognition from people most of us wouldn't care about. In that quest for recognition though Steve's desperation for acceptance begins to border on sad rather than amusing.

The fact that a story developed at all is icing on the cake because even if there was no drama involved with the high score just watching the people they managed to find is in itself very entertaining. The group includes one guy who somehow retired at 30 and now spends all his time trying to break classic video game records. There is something sad and funny about watching a guy like this walking around the arcade for hours and doing nothing but playing and watching others play. And of course there is Billy who at one point compares himself to the abortion issue in terms of how he divides people's opinions of himself.

There is enough humour, weirdness and drama in this documentary to make it worth your time. Definitely a film you will want to watch if you are looking for something a little different.

IMPORTANT MESSAGE***     Before we end this week, I would like to take some time for a serious message about my niece who was born with an incurable liver disease. She is a really cute 9 month old girl with beautiful smile and we're trying to raise funds for the more research into liver diseases. So if you have some time please go to the link below and donate. If the link doesn't work just cut and paste into your browser, make sure you get the entire address ending in 414366. Thanks.


3.5 out of 5 stars.


NOTE: The showtimes listed on come directly from the theatres' announced schedules, which are distributed to us on a weekly basis. All showtimes are subject to change without notice or recourse to