Big Trouble in Little China (1986)

Posted in Reviews by - August 27, 2015
Big Trouble in Little China (1986)

Colourful cult excitement from fantasy maestro John Carpenter. Jack Burton (Russell) wants his truck back. It has been nabbed by a clan of creepy Chinese kung fu magicians deep in the heart of San Francisco’s Chinatown, which resembles a Narnia-esque underworld led by age-old mystic Lo Pan (Hong) whose 2,000 year search for a sacrificial bride with green eyes may soon be at an end. He kidnaps the girlfriend of Burton’s kung fu buddy and also sneaks off with his green-eyed girlfriend Kim Cattrall, which pisses Jack off, so he attempts to rescue her. But Lo Pan’s forces are formidable; tough adversaries include the Three Storms, who harness electrical powers and fly about the place in big straw hats.

The pace is maintained and the humour is just the right side of parody, with Russell’s antihero the butt of the majority of the gags. This is a homage, really, to Carpenter’s love of cult fantasy pictures and Chinese martial arts films, and the first major American attempt of its kind. This may explain an over-reliance on Asian stereotyping and stocky fight direction, which is in stark contrast to the type of action Hong Kong was producing at the same time. The film highlights how great Carpenter is at working in genre, and even if he does falter at times here, the Indiana Jones-like aplomb and great sense of fun makes it a breezy watch.

AKA: John Carpenter’s Big Trouble in Little China

This post was written by
Editor and creator of Kung Fu Movie Guide and the host of the Kung Fu Movie Guide Podcast. I live behind a laptop in London, UK.

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