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Big Trouble in Little China

Posted : 1 year, 5 months ago on 10 August 2017 03:34

I think if I had watched this from start to finish prior to the age of, I don’t know, about thirteen my opinion on it would be totally different. As it stands, I watched it as I slowly moved over the hump towards thirty. It’s probably one of the best bad movies I’ve ever watched, but that doesn’t mean it’s actually very good.


Nothing about it makes any sort of sense. I watched it but still struggle to explain what exactly Kim Cattrall is doing in the middle of all of this. I guess the plot required a second green-eyed woman, and they figured why not throw in a white leading lady for Kurt Russell to romance? Seems as flimsy and good enough a reason as anything else that happens in this overheated pulp-fest.


The best thing going for it is an insouciant sense of humor about it all. This is perfectly encapsulated in Kurt Russell’s blissfully unaware and braggadocio leading performance. Well, he’s billed and displayed as the lead, but he’s really the goofy sidekick in a pleasing bit of bait-and-switch of our expectations. Russell’s self-winking knowledge of this fact gives his blowhard a deeply likable streak, and it’s brilliantly showcased in a scene where he delivers a monologue to the villain while his mouth and teeth are covered in lipstick after having lip locked with Cattrall. He never entirely displays that his character knows he looks ridiculous, but Russell’s glint in his eye lets the audience know just how absurd all of this play-acting is.


Big Trouble in Little China could have used more of this satirical bent and less of the non-stop parade of special effects work that renders many of the actors are mere foreground adornments. And yes, there’s also the stereotypical portrayal of Asian culture as some of the exotic, mystical netherworld where everyone knows martial arts. It’s a cult film through-and-through in every sense of the term, so you gotta take the good with the bad and the ugly.      

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An average movie

Posted : 2 years, 4 months ago on 20 September 2016 11:26

To be honest, it has been years since I have seen this movie and maybe I should probably give it a 2nd chance at some point, especially since it actually has a really solid reputation. Indeed, even though it was a box-office flop when it was released, it quickly became a cult-classic. Well, to be honest, from all the classics directed by John Carpenter, it is the only one for which I really didn’t care much. Basically, it is a really silly movie and, if you love its silliness then you will have a blast watching the damned thing but, in my case, I thought it was usually more cringe-inducing than actually entertaining. I don’t know, the fans might argue that it was incredibly fun and entertaining but I was rather bored by this feature and it felt rather like watching a cheap rip-off of ‘Indiana Jones’. Still, as I mentioned before, I saw it a while back so I should probably re-watch it at some point but I have my doubts (the fact that Roger Ebert didn’t like it at all when it was released makes me think I was probably right the first time around). Anyway, to conclude, even though it seemed to a decent flick, I didn’t like it much and I don’t think it is really worth, except if you really love the genre. 

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"Big Trouble in Little China" (1986)

Posted : 4 years, 3 months ago on 8 October 2014 01:40


I decided to watch the movie itself before Spoony's review of the Commodore 64 game, and he's praised it so often he got me interested anyway. And… I don't get it. I'm sorry.
What I read afterwards confirmed what I'd suspected while watching it: it's an homage film, a tribute to kung fu B-movies. Maybe it'll make more sense to people who've actually watched those movies, and I'll admit the plot does make a lot more sense on reflection, but while I was actually watching it, there were a number of detractors keeping me from going along with it. And that mainly stems from how the female characters are handled. I hate the damsel-in-distress cliché, and boy is it exploited to the nth degree here!
Also, there's a lot of expository dialogue that really piles on the Chinese lore, to the point where I had trouble keeping up.
But it was Kurt Russell's character that made the movie for me. He's basically the spokesman for the audience, the observer in all this crazy shit he suddenly finds himself in.
Also, that floating eyeball monster is a truly fantastic effect.
Overall, there's enough good plotting and entertainment value that I might see it again at some point, but for now, its anti-feminist streak and overwhelming exposition are really bugging me.

My rating: 55%

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Big Trouble in Little China (1986) review

Posted : 4 years, 8 months ago on 27 May 2014 06:42

When some wild-eyed, eight-foot-tall maniac grabs your neck, taps the back of your favorite head up against the barroom wall, and he looks you crooked in the eye and he asks you if ya paid your dues, you just stare that big sucker right back in the eye, and you remember what ol' Jack Burton always says at a time like that: "Have ya paid your dues, Jack?" "Yessir, the check is in the mail."

Big Trouble in Little China is one of my favorite 80's action flicks without a doubt. Of course this was one of the many action movies i loved growing up but the last time i watched it was back when it first came out on dvd, i just so happen to pick it up on Blu ray over the weekend and thought the movie was in definite need of a re-watch. With a great blend of action and comedy, an entertaining plot, and a lovable cast, Big Trouble in Little China is a must watch for any movie lover of 80's action films. This is the fourth film of John Carpenter staring Kurt Russell the other three being The Thing, Escape from New York, and Escape from L.A. i would have to say this is my second favorite behind The Thing of course.

The film follows Jack Burton (Kurt Russell) a witty, smart mouth truck driver and while in the back streets of San Francisco's China Town him and his friend Wang Chi (Dennis Dun) soon find themselves wrapped up in a ancient Chinese gang war dealing with the supernatural when Wang's soon-to-be wife is kidnapped by the evil gang. From here the story leads you on a action packed adventure, where see them fight everything from martial arts experts, to monsters, to ancient thunder wielding masters. The comedy i would say has to be about the best thing about the movie, if it was just a action movie i think it wouldn't have worked out. The fact that John Carpenter was able to pull off all three of the action, comedy, and sci-fi makes this film one of the best from its time and it also happens to be one of my favorite movie of all time.

Overall i give it a 8.0 Kurt Russell was awesome as always, Kim Cattrall was a babe, James Hong was great as the villain, and Victor Wong was great as the ancient master for the good side.

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Big Trouble in Little China (1986) review

Posted : 7 years, 9 months ago on 16 April 2011 05:23

One of my absolute favorites! great film1

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Ol' Jack Burton would say "See this movie!"

Posted : 9 years, 5 months ago on 4 August 2009 02:21

"Ol' Jack always says... what the hell?"

An outlandish, uncategorisable blend of John Ford (and, by extension, John Wayne) and cornball Chinese mysticism, John Carpenter's Big Trouble in Little China is a hokey martial arts adventure flick with limitless appeal. The characters are both endearing and witty, with the actors hamming it up to extremes. Meanwhile Carpenter provides directorial genius, suspenseful set-ups, edge-of-your-seat action and a signature musical score. Big Trouble in Little China is simply a delightfully absurd action movie that never takes itself too seriously, although it isn't for all tastes.

In his fourth collaboration with director Carpenter (after Elvis, Escape From New York and The Thing), Kurt Russell plays an imitable, good-natured truck driver named Jack Burton. During one of his trips to San Francisco, Jack's truck is hijacked and he's unwittingly swept up in a universe-bounding plot to kidnap the fiancée of his friend Wang (Dun). The whole situation concerns warring gangs that dwell in the Chinatown underground, and an ancient supernatural spirit named Lo Pan (Hong). But Jack couldn't care less about any of this...he just wants his truck back.

This is not your ordinary kung fu flick, to say the least. The slender plot is virtually indecipherable; merely providing a reason to showcase lots of things happening in colorful settings for no reason other than to have lots of things happening in colorful settings.

Alas, character development is slim and an audience isn't given much of a chance to become acquainted with the characters before they're sent into action. However the dialogue never fails to sparkle and the endearing characters will win you over anyway. Big Trouble in Little China mainly works so well due to Carpenter's stylised direction and the breathless pacing. We're taken from one chase to another; Carpenter continually removing his characters from the frying pan and throwing them into the fire. This ever-escalating chain of events always keeps things moving forward, and never allows the movie to bog down (even the few expository scenes necessary to fully outline Lo Pan's dastardly scheme are brilliantly terse). Carpenter's willingness to let ridiculous, unexplained things fly in out of left field is another masterstroke. The character of Margo (Burton) at one stage likens this peculiar adventure to Alice in Wonderland.

The subterranean lairs which accommodate most of the action are great - hokey enough to emphasise the film's camp appeal, but not so hokey that they look like sets. Big Trouble in Little China features plenty of special effects too - and the somewhat dated effects add to the enchanting flavour. Carpenter always respects his influences. He maintains the B-Grade spirit of Hong Kong cinema while also fusing it with his own style and satirising it with a unique campness. From the score's synthesis of Eastern music and Carpenter's trademark synth to the arcade-style battle between two characters and the villain being defeated with a simple bowie knife to the head instead of a grand duel, Carpenter nails the tongue-in-cheek kung fu comedy genre. One definitely needs to be in the right mindset for this movie.

Kurt Russell as Jack Burton is priceless - he's a witty, tough-talking everyman hero in the mould of John Wayne. Unlike John Wayne, however, Jack is not immune from screwing up. Jack has a knack for getting into extreme situations, he believes he has everything figured out, he constantly messes up, and he makes a lot of grand pronouncements and wisecracks (he even talks about himself in the third person a lot). Russell's Jack Burton will definitely win you over with his cheesy bravado. Interestingly, he ain't the real driver of the plot - he's Wan's sidekick and he's just there to find his truck. Jack is, however, the true star of the show

Just like John Carpenter's The Thing, Big Trouble in Little China performed poorly at the box office upon its initial release but has grown vindicated in the years to follow; earning a legion of fans who understand what Carpenter was trying to do. Ancient Chinese mysticism and kung fu is expertly blended with good old-fashioned American gunplay to produce this high-energy mélange of action sequences. You know what ol' Jack Burton would say at a time like this? Jack Burton would say "see this movie!"


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Big Trouble

Posted : 11 years, 3 months ago on 4 October 2007 11:11

Really silly but great action flick. Kurt Russell is hilarious as the misbegotten truck driver who seems fated to run into every Chinese bad guy in Little China. Great entertainment - a feel good flick.

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Big Trouble in Little China (1986) review

Posted : 11 years, 5 months ago on 20 August 2007 09:13

This film epitomises the 80's action genre. It is nothing short of a hilarious master-piece with some of the most memorable characters of my childhood. The plot follows the All American trucker, Jack Burton, through the streets of China town and eventually into the paranormal underworld, where he comes face to face with the evil sorcerror Lo-Pan.

With rib-tickling action sequences and an epic final battle between memorable henchmen, chinese rent-a-villains and scores of unexplained good guys, this is the kind of film you can't afford not to have in your DVD collection. Get some friends around, get some beers in, and take your serious hat off. Perfect.

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