Big Trouble in Little China

Big Trouble in Little China ★★★½

For whatever reason, Big Trouble in Little China was one John Carpenter film that I couldn't get into as much as his other works, but a rewatch has helped me to appreciate it a bit more. One thing I always admired about him was how many styles he played around with. This of course was his chance to finally make a martial-arts film, so he went completely all out, delivering an insane action-fantasy that's as close to a live-action cartoon as you can get.

Making is fourth collaboration with Carpenter, Kurt Russell stars here as trucker Jack Burton, who finds himself in big trouble upon arriving in San Francisco's Chinatown district. The green-eyed girlfriend of Jack's friend Wang is kidnapped by an evil sorcerer named Lo Pan, whom he intends to marry so he can get back his physical powers. Jack, Wang, and a whole bunch of others including a journalist named Gracie, her journalist friend, a badass elderly tour-bus guide and more team up to try and put a stop to Pan's evil plot.

You'd think a plot as daft as this wouldn't work, but thankfully enough, Carpenter makes it work quite well. The higher budget he has allows him to deliver all kinds of spectacles, like crazy kung-fu fight sequences, fast-paced gun-play and grotesque monster effects. Russell as Jack on the other hand is in full form here, as a tough wise-cracker who gets just as confused as the viewer does about the complete insanity unleashing before his eyes.

The music is the usual synth-y greatness that he and Alan Howarth are known for, with a much more upbeat rock and oriental-inspired vibe to it that fits the atmosphere and wacky nature very nicely. If that wasn't good enough though, he even performs the end theme with his band, and has a surprisingly good singing voice. Really, it's almost like there isn't anything he can't do well.

Again, it's hardly up there with my all-time favourites of John, but still good entertainment nevertheless. It's very clear that he and everyone else had a good time making it, and you'll likely have as much fun watching it. Sometimes I feel it gets a little too silly and over-the-top for it's own good. Still, an action-packed and darkly-humorous romp that's hilariously bonkers in every possible way.

But no, we don't need a remake of it. Jog on, seriously.


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