To a certain extent, one could use the term fascinating
to describe the experience of watching The King of Kong: A
Fistful of Quarters. Indeed, its chronicle of arcade Donkey
Kong-gamer Steve Wiebe’s attempt to beat pompous and deluded
record-holder Billy Mitchell’s high score proves entirely
engrossing. Still, despite the film’s obvious
entertainment-value and insight into the eerie world of
competitive arcade-gaming, the whole thing never really amounts
to much. As much as I rooted for middle-aged middle-school
teacher Wiebe to beat the record held by conniving low-life
Mitchell, and as much as I was captured by the strange details
of the complex realm that the two inhabit in the film, I never
found myself moved or challenged by any of The King of Kong’s
contents. Instead of being the truly great documentary that it
could have been, the movie settles merely for being diverting.
Humorous and intense, The King of Kong offers a terrific
time spent at the movies, but not necessarily an entirely
8.26.2007 at the Landmark Ken in San Diego, CA.
The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters
is rated PG-13 and runs 84 minutes.
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