A crazy parody of martial arts flicks, supernatural/spirit movies, and old-fashioned westerns, Big Trouble in Little China gives us Kurt Russell as the inimitable Jack Burton, a good-natured truck driver unconsciously obsessed with John Wayne. On one of his trips to San Francisco, poor Jack gets swept up in a universe-bounding plot to kidnap a Chinese girl with green eyes, landing knee-deep amidst warring gangs that dwell in the Chinatown underground and an ancient spirit that emits blinding light from its mouth.
This is not your ordinary kung fu flick, to say the least. Even though Russell's Jack is not the real driver of the plot (he's just along for the ride, helping out his buddy Wang Chi (Dennis Dun) in his quest), he's truly the star of the show. But while Jack tries his hardest, he seems to knock himself out or lose his weapon every time a fight comes around... and ultimately he's almost more harm than good. Jack's one-liners, delivered with a naïve, hillbilly folksiness that Russell does a little too well, come at a blinding pace. After all... "You know what Jack Burton always says: What the hell?" The story's a bit of a throwaway, but hey, what the hell, it's a lot of fun.
Now released on a double-disc DVD edition, this new release of Big Trouble in Little China is a must-own disc for fans of Carpenter or this cult classic. On a full-length commentary track, Russell and Carpenter provide one of the best bantering sessions I've ever heard -- rarely talking about the movie, really, and with Russell in stitches virtually the entire time. One of the choicest bits in the commentary is Russell waxing about how the press kept hounding him about how it felt to star in what would undoubtedly be the biggest grossing movie of 1986. (The picture would eventually earn a paltry $11.1 million, probably because audiences didn't really get that it was a comedy at heart. With Carpenter and Russell involved, who could blame them?)
Needless to say, Big Trouble is a comedy and it's a fine one, as well. The additional extras (including about half an hour of priceless deleted and extended footage) are well worth your time, and as for the movie itself, well, every time you ride in an elevator you'll likely find yourself quoting Jack.
Run time: 99 mins
In Theaters: Wednesday 2nd July 1986
Box Office Worldwide: $11M
Distributed by: Twentieth Century Fox
Production compaines: TAFT Entertainment Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 83%
Fresh: 29 Rotten: 6
IMDB: 7.3 / 10
Director: John Carpenter
Producer: Larry J. Franco
Screenwriter: Gary Goldman, David Z. Weinstein, W.D. Richter
Starring: Kurt Russell as Jack Burton, Kim Cattrall as Gracie Law, Dennis Dun as Wang Chi, James Hong as David Lo Pan, Victor Wong as Egg Shen, Kate Burton as Margo, James Pax as Lightning, Peter Kwong as Rain, Carter Wong as Thunder, Rummel Mor as Joe Lucky, Donald Li as Eddie Lee, Suzee Pai as Miao Yin, Chao Li Chi as Uncle Chu, Jeff Imada as Needles, Craig Ng as One Ear, June Kyoto Lu as White Tiger
Also starring: Gary Goldman
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