The Cult-Classic Easter Egg You May Have Missed In Kong: Skull Island

In "Kong: Skull Island," seeing John C. Reilly in a bomber jacket with the word's "Good for Your Health" emblazoned across the back may have made some fans think of another Reilly character, Steve Brule, whose catchphrase was indeed "For your health." As it turns out, however, this is only one layer of the Easter egg that director Jordan Vogt-Roberts included.

"Kong: Skull Island" sees Reilly playing the bearded Hank Marlow, an American fighter pilot who has been stranded on the titular island with its giant gorilla and monster overlords since World War II. The actor had a different appearance in "Check It Out! with Dr. Steve Brule," though his character was also stranded in a way — on a 1980s public-access-style TV show. Brule is the clean-shaven, bespectacled, poofy-haired face of a sketch-comedy series (a spin-off of "Tim & Eric: Awesome Show, Great Job!") that aired in the early-to-mid 2010s on the Cartoon Network during its nighttime Adult Swim block.

In an interview with Moviefone, Vogt-Roberts explained that the bomber jacket reference went deeper than Brule:

"Ironically, it is a Steve Brule Easter egg, but it was originally designed as a reference to 'Akira' and the jacket they wear in 'Akira.' It just happened to brilliantly coincide with the 'For Your Health' Steve Brule reference. I remember when I showed the jacket to John he said, 'You know that's a Steve Brule thing, too?' And I said, 'Yeah and it's also an "Akira" thing.' So he said, 'All right, well people are going to go nutty for this.' I said, 'All right.' In a normal world, my instinct would have been, 'Ah, that's too close.' But I thought, 'No, this is perfect.' The fact that the original 'Akira' reference lines up with this thing in John C. Reilly's life is too good to pass up."

From Steve Brule to Akira

The "Akira" that Vogt-Roberts is referring to is the classic manga, which creator Katsuhiro Otomo adapted into an equally classic 1988 anime film. "Akira" was in the news again in 2020 and 2021 thanks to the Tokyo Summer Olympics, which the movie foresaw, right on down to the mostly empty stands of the stadium where its opening and closing ceremony were held.

In the manga, the biker gang leader, Kaneda, wore a red jacket with a pill on back of it and the words, "Good for health, bad for education." This pill was symbolic of his gang, and interestingly, it is half-blue and half-red. "Akira" would later influence "The Matrix," which famously offered its hero, Neo (Keanu Reeves), a blue pill or a red pill to either stay in the simulated dream world of the Matrix or wake up to reality.

"Kong: Skull Island" joined the phrase, "Good for health," from Kaneda's jacket with the catchphrase, "For your health," from this other cult-favorite Reilly character to arrive at an Easter egg that is half-"Akira," half-Steve Brule. It's not the only time Vogt-Roberts borrowed from Japanese sources. In the same Moviefone interview, he explained that the Hayao Miyazaki film, "Princess Mononoke," influenced the design of the giant ox and other creatures on Skull Island. The director felt that dinosaurs had already been done before in the original 1933 "King Kong" and Peter Jackson's 2005 remake, so he looked to anime for inspiration.

Steve Brule always liked to "check out" different aspects of life, and one thing is clear: there are enough Easter eggs in "Kong: Skull Island" to keep even him busy checking the movie out indefinitely.