Big Trouble in Little China

Adventure doesn't come any bigger!

Action Adventure Comedy
99 min     7.2     1986     USA


When trucker Jack Burton agreed to take his friend, Wang Chi, to pick up his fiancee at the airport, he never expected to get involved in a supernatural battle between good and evil. Wang's fiancee has emerald green eyes, which make her a perfect target for immortal sorcerer Lo Pan and his three invincible cronies. Lo Pan must marry a girl with green eyes so he can regain his physical form.


Per Gunnar Jonsson wrote:
I think this movie was marketed as an adventure movie when it came out. I can imagine that some people were disappointed if they were indeed expecting a real adventure movie. I remember being one of those people when I first saw this movie. However, if you approach it seeing what it is, that is a comedy or at least an action-comedy, then it is actually a quite enjoyable movie. The entire movie is utterly ridiculous. The screaming, posturing Asian martial art champion parodies especially so. Everything in this movie makes you laugh as long as you do not try to take the movie seriously. The action scenes are often absolutely hilarious. They are also quite well done and choreographed actually. The special effects are of course utterly outdated but they are good enough for this movie. There is a story as well but it doesn’t really matter much. It is just there to tie the funny scenes together, especially the action scenes. Acting? Well, let’s just say that it matches the comic nature of the movie. I actually just picked this movie as a trial experience in using Netflix (which finally came to France last Monday) on my PS3 for the first time and I did not want to start something were I would be pissed off if it turned out that it stopped working halfway through. I have to say that I had much more fun watching this movie this time than the first time I was watching it…and Netflix worked perfectly on my PS3.
Gimly wrote:
_Big Trouble in Little China_ is not the movie it is marketed to be. But it is good. You wait the ten minutes it takes for the absurdity to kick in and then you ride the ridiculous ride until the closing credits. _Final rating:★★★ - I liked it. Would personally recommend you give it a go._
John Chard wrote:
Ol' Jack always says... what the hell? Out of 20th Century Fox, Big Trouble in Little China is directed by John Carpenter and stars Kurt Russell, Kim Catrall, Dennis Dun, James Hong & Victor Wong. The adaptation is by W.D. Richter with the screenplay from Gary Goldman & David Z. Weinstein. Dean Cundey photographs and Alan Howarth doubles up with Carpenter for the musical score. Truck driver Jack Burton (Russell) agrees to take his friend Wang Chi (Dun) to pick up his fiancée at the airport. Little does he know that he is about to get involved in a supernatural battle between good and evil beneath San Francisco's Chinatown district. A box office failure upon its release, and known to be the moment when John Carpenter gave up on Hollywood, Big Trouble in Little China has gathered "cult" momentum over the years and shows up rather well these days. Blending Chinese mysticism with chop-schlocky adventure, Carpenter's movie is at once daft but also a ball of energetic fun - propelled by a handsome, but inept action hero. Carpenter had always wanted to tackle a martial arts movie, and here he gets to do it whilst laying on the comedy and playing with effects work as his movie mostly comes alive in a magical underworld of monsters, magicians and sexy green eyed women. It's evident now that the film was ahead of its time, not from a technical viewpoint, but from the point it tried to Americanise chopsocky. This is some time before Chinese style wire-work and mythology became common to Hollywood, one has to believe that Tarantino was nodding approvingly around about this time. It's also worth noting that although this "American" movie has an American beefcake as its main protagonist, it's the Asian Americans who actually are the heroes of the piece, with Dun's sidekick the stand out hero as Russell's Burton bumbles his way from one sequence to the next. It was a bold move by Carpenter to structure the narrative this way, something that annoyed the executives at Fox and kept the paying public bemused. It's easy to see why the film failed, contrast it with the similarly themed Eddie Murphy movie, The Golden Child, from the same year, which was a box office success. There the public got what they wanted (or what they were used too), the standard American hero fluff where Murphy saves the day and gets the girl. Carpenter dared to be different and clearly had a lot of fun along the way, as evidently did his cast. It may have taken a decade of VHS and DVD releases to prove he was right, but right he was, Big Trouble in Little China is a damn fine popcorn movie. Russell plays it meat head style, with swagger in tow and tongue stuck in cheek, nicely toned physique for the girls to enjoy, and making vest wearing cool two years before Willis did in Die Hard. Cattrall is wonderfully alluring, red lips and green eyes shimmering bright in a world of colour; and boys do look out for her wet scene, it's wolf whistle time! Dun is likable and athletic, while Hong as Lo Pan gives the action/adventure genre a truly memorable villain. The film is briskly paced and not found wanting in the set piece department either. Not all the effects are high grade stuff, but in a film with such zestful comic book traditions at heart, it hardly matters one jot. With a great home format package doing it justice, Carpenter's movie is now, at long last, getting the appreciative audience it fully deserves. Amen to that. 8/10
JPV852 wrote:
Enjoyable enough adventure flick with another charismatic performance from Kurt Russell. The plot certainly felt disjointed at times (and one sequence didn't really advance the plot all that much) but still had a lot of fun. Not one of Carpenter's best nor a standout amongst 1980s movies, however still liked it well enough. **3.5/5**