Review of 'Big Trouble in Little China'

big_trouble_in_little_china.jpg Jack Burton (Kurt Russell) is a fast talking trucker who finds himself in the middle of a battle between good and evil in San Francisco's Chinatown. When picking up Miao Yin (Suzee Pai) the girlfriend of Chinese friend Wang Chi (Dennis Dun) at the airport she is abducted by the “Lords oF Death”. Racing back to Chinatown they find themselves caught in the middle of fight between the Wing Kong and Chang Sing gangs which is interrupted by the arrival of “The Three Storms” - Figures with mysterious powers in league with the Wing Kong. When attempting to escape an even more mysterious ethereal figure appears in front of Jack's truck “Lo Pan” (James Hong), a sorcerer with amazing powers. They learn Lo Pan plans on marrying Miao because of her green eyes that will allow him to retrieve his physical body and when he kidnaps Jack's love interest, loud mouthed, street-wise Gracie Law (Kim Cattrall) a group headed by Jack, Wang Chi and tour guide/practitioner of the magical arts Egg Shen (Victor Wong) descend into the underworld to rescue them both…

I saw this originally in the cinema and found it very funny and still do – Russel plays the hapless Jack Burton who sees himself as macho but in reality is a complete oaf, in way over his head as he bungles his way through the story, unable to find the safety catch on his gun, shooting at the ceiling causing unconsciousness due to falling stones, making unsuccessful pass after pass at Gracie…It is all in good fun which is what this film does best. Lots of amazing, if frankly, ludicrous, stunts and sets complete with fantastic demons (at the time state of the art animation, now quite dated) and a silly story. The effects are generally quite dated but still hold up reasonably well. The acting is all extremely OTT but that is all part of it's charm. The writing is amusing and full of great lines like:

Like I told my last wife, I says, "Honey, I never drive faster than I can see. Besides that, it's all in the reflexes."


Would you stop rubbing your body up against mine, because I can't concentrate when you do that.


I was born ready.

Yeah, it is crazy. A great slice of the 1980s in a film that never takes itself too seriously, “Big Trouble in Little China” is most definitely not a classic but it will always be one of my favourite films. Sit back, turn OFF your brain, and enjoy the ride.

Rating: “Nearly perfect, but not quite”

Review Date: 2019-11-01

Directed by: John Carpenter

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox

Year: 1986

Length: 99 minutes

Genre: Fantasy

Other reviewed films by John Carpenter: