Big Trouble in Little China fits the definition of a cult film. Not popular on its initial release - being blocked by other summer films of 1986 such as ALIENS - it has since developed a following which it most certainly deserves. John Carpenter purposely made this a B-movie and I commend him for that, because it certainly is a blast and the chemistry between characters with Kurt Russell at the center is mostly entertaining.
The plot revolves around an ancient feud between two separate Chinese groups that has come all the way from its homeland to San Francisco which witless, wisecracking trucker Jack Burton (the always amusing Kurt Russell) suddenly finds himself right in the middle of. With his friend Wang Chi - a skilled Chinese martial artist who owns a restraint in Little China - he is pulled into a fight between good and evil and to save his truck! An ancient sorcerer - Lo Pan - needs to marry a girl with green eyes and then sacrifice her to lift a curse and retain his young form, or else be a frail old man for centuries to come; only being able to take his true form for brief periods of time. When Wang Chi's fiancée is abducted by Lo Pan's Three Storms - warriors possessing the powers of a storm - it is up to Jack and Wang to save her and end the centuries old conflict.
As I previously mentioned this film was intentionally made a B-movie and the cast obviously had a lot of fun making it, with lots of tongue in cheek dialogue and intentional mistakes. It all adds to the campy fun that is Big Trouble in little China Town. The best part about it comes from the chemistry between Jack Burton and Wang Chi. You'd think Russell's character would be on top of things being the muscled American toting the gun, but Chi is the real hero with all his martial arts and fighting skills, but Burton never seems to get that constantly puffing his chest believing he is in fact the hero and Chi is the sidekick. This is the main humor that comes from this film, and I found that aspect incredibly creative considering it was a very unique idea that many people didn't get at the time but I believe the idea has begun to catch on and people can now appreciate that humor aspect of Big Trouble in Little China.
The film is great entertainment and will have you smiling at its foolishness throughout and it comes highly recommended by me if you're someone who can just sit back and enjoy this masterpiece in camp. It can be found in five dollar bargain bins across the United States so just pick it up if you get the chance. Get the popcorn out, turn off the lights and enjoy.
Pros: A load of fun to watch - they just don't make 'em like this anymore. Cons: Nyah-ha! Nothing if you don't want there to be. The Bottom Line: It's all in the reflexes. Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie''s plot. I was upstairs at the time, earlier today, when I heard a loud honking on the TV downstairs. Admittedly, Im a movie freak, and that specific horn sounded familiar. I listened for … more
I remember having watched this film several times on cable when I was a kid. I couldn't remember much about the plot, but I did remember it had some of the best movie martial arts fight scenes I had ever seen. There were a couple of occassions when some of the neighborhood gang attempted to repeat the stunts we had seen. I mention this little ancedote because it pretty much sums up BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA. The film itself doesn't make much sense (unless you know a lot about Chineese mysticism) … more
Once you settle into the realization that this 1986 John Carpenter (Halloween) film is not going to be one of the director's more masterful works,Big Trouble in Little China just becomes a full-tilt comic blast. Kurt Russell is hilarious as a drawling, would-be John Wayne hero who steps into the middle of a supernatural war in the heart of Chinatown. While kung fu warriors and otherworldly spirits battle over the fate of two women (Kim Cattrall and Suzee Pai), Russell's swaggering idiot manages to knock himself out or underestimate the forces he's dealing with. The whole thing is dopey, but it's supposed to be dopey and Russell's game performance brings an ironic edge. Carpenter directs some nifty spook effects (the sudden arrival of three martial arts demigods from out of nowhere is worth applause), and he also wrote the music.--Tom Keogh