FiLM REViEW: Big Trouble in Little China

Wow! Utterly bonkers!!

Apparently this was a financial flop when it came out, and a major reason Carpenter turned his back on Hollywood, to go back to a more ‘indie’ style approach. Despite this it’s gone on to acquire minor cult status.

It is very mixed bag, by turns both terrific fun and utterly stupid. Some of the effects are terrific, others risible. The characters are B-movie pulp fare, and the scenario even more wildly erratic, mixing Kung-Fu with ‘Chinese myth’ and boneheaded USofA pecs, guns n rock’n’roll.

Mad wicker headgear!

It’s all over the map! Up and down quality wise like an amphetamine yo-yo. Kurt Russell is fun as meat-headed meatball physique’d truck-drivin’ tough guy Jack Burton, drivin’ his big-rig, the Pork Chop Express.

An airport pick up with a Chinese pal, after a porcine delivery, and some all night gambling, goes very weird, when Wang’s fiancé is abducted by a Chinese gang. Jack and Wang give chase, and wind up embroiled in a gang fight that takes a bizarre supernatural turn.

Magical stuff…
Weird monsters….

And before we know it, Jack falls for Gracie Law (Kim Cattrall), who also ends up kidnapped, both ladies having been Shanghaied, it transpires, by the mad, bad n’ evil Lo Pan, an accursed sorcerer. Turns out he needs a green-eyed gal, and Miao and Gracie both happen to fit the bill.

After all this chaotic preamble, the main meat of the film becomes the crazy rescue mission, which involves a descent into a subterranean Chinese underworld, with lots of close call scrapes, martial arts madness, a smattering of monsters, sorcery type shenanigans, and a lot of dumb fun/laughs.

This guy takes stress to new levels.

I can’t honestly say it’s a great film. In many ways it’s pretty bad. But it does end up managing to be silly enough and funny enough that, on balance, I enjoyed it.

Sorcerers battle by astral projection… nuts! Quite visually effective.

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