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Big Trouble In Little China (1986)

DVD Cover (Twentieth Century Fox)
Genres:
Action, Action Comedy, Fantasy, Fantasy Comedy, Martial Arts
Director:
John Carpenter John Carpenter
Starring:
Kurt Russell Kurt Russell
Kim Cattrall Kim Cattrall
Dennis Dun Dennis Dun
James Hong James Hong
Victor Wong Victor Wong

7.2 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by Chad
Added: June 01, 2007
It's sort of ironic that, as influential as he may be, John Carpenter is pretty low on the list of directors that I truly enjoy. It's even more ironic when you factor in that he's responsible for one of my personal favorite sci-fi movies, one of the greatest horror movies ever made, and of course, a handful of other classics (I'm a sucker for Roddy Piper in They Live, but I can't label that as "my favorite" or "the greatest" in any particular category). Now, don't get me wrong; I know the man is talented and has contributed a lot to the world of film, but as far as personal preferences go? Yeah, pretty low on the list. However, I have to give the man his due: when he makes a good movie, he really makes a damned good movie, and Big Trouble in Little China is one such film.

In this action / comedy / sci-fi / fantasy / martial arts film (nice combination of genres), we find Jack Burton (Kurt Russell) and Wang Chi (Dennis Dun) attempting to rescue their green-eyed lady friends (Kim Cattrall and Suzee Pai) from an ancient Chinese sorcerer (James Hong). Lo Pan, the sorcerer in question, has kidnapped these ladies so that he can marry and then sacrifice them in order to regain his mortal status. Now, Jack and Wang must fight their way through countless spin-kicking kung fu masters and a trio of seemingly-invincible cronies in order to save the day. There you have it: the entire plot for Big Trouble in Little China.

What makes this such an enjoyable film is not the ingenious script nor the many twists and turns in the plot. No, the selling point of the film is the huge amount of action coupled with the always delightful Kurt Russell doing what he does best: kick ass and chew scenery while he's at it. However, what sets this apart from the millions of other action films which feature one guy going up against an army of baddies is the way that the story is presented and the various sci-fi elements that are thrown in to spice things up. There's the obvious sorcery aspect of the film (and there's more than just one magic user to be found), there's monsters, and there's even a guy who served as the inspiration for Raiden from the Mortal Kombat games. All of this is served to us alongside a backdrop of scenery and styles which are reminiscent of Asian kung fu movies, and let me tell you: it turns out to be one hell of a ride, as this is one film that definitely deserves its "classic" status.

With all of these genres blending together, one would think that the end result would be one big clusterfuck that doesn't quite know what it wants to be. That couldn't be further from the truth. Carpenter managed to blend these wildly different methods of storytelling into one grand offering that is, quite simply, fun as hell to watch. How many other films can you think of that will allow you to watch a man fighting an entire group of ninjas while a monster lurks about and a floating head reports the madness back to an immortal sorcerer who wants to sacrifice two hot ladies... all because they have green eyes? It's over the top, it's ludicrous, and on paper, it may not sound like it would work - but the execution of it all makes this a keeper.

One thing that I particularly enjoyed about the film was Kurt Russell's portrayal of this trucker who has his heart in the right place, but who can't quite manage to actually save the day. Sure, he gets involved in all the fights and even gets the upper hand a couple of times, but an impervious, invincible one-man army he isn't - and that character "flaw" makes him all the more lovable.

This is one of those films that I'm sure everyone has seen at least once, but if you're the odd person out who hasn't, go ahead and exit this page and pick yourself up a copy - it's well worth it. 9/10.
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bluemeanie #1: bluemeanie - added 06/03/2007, 02:28 AM
One of Carpenter's best. You don't have much more fun watching a movie than with "Big Trouble In Little China". Kurt Russell is the perfect blend of action hero and smart ass and this is one of his best efforts with both. 8/10.
Tristan #2: Tristan - added 06/03/2007, 11:07 AM
I like the Mortal Kombat reference in your screen caps. This was one of the funniest movies I've seen Kurt Russell do, and he mixes the action/comedy perfectly. 9/10
grain of sand #3: grain of sand - added 06/03/2007, 03:48 PM
man I love this movie
Ginose #4: Ginose - added 06/03/2007, 09:26 PM
"China is here, Mr. Burton"
This is, without a doubt, one of Carpenter's greatest acheivments. The film stays a schlocky B action film and yet has a really top-mark feel to it. That's the magic of film I guess... not to mention David Lo Pan is one of the coolest movie villans ever. I mean, c'mon, look at him. 9.1/10 for a job well-done.
Lucid Dreams #5: Lucid Dreams - added 05/17/2010, 11:24 AM
One of Kurt Russellís best movies and fucking Raiden is in it. 9/10
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