Monday, July 13, 2009

Big Trouble In Little China

I was quite pleased to hear that The Cineastes would be reviewing Big Trouble In Little China this month. Not because I had seen it before, because I hadn't. The movie had been on my queue for a while, though. I was happy to review the film because I knew I would like it. I'm a sucker for cheesey, dumb, corny 80's flicks, and this one seemed to have it all.

Kurt Russell stars as Jack Burton, a truck driver caught in the middle of 2,000-year old Chinese black-magic sorcerer's plan to kidnap and marry a girl with green eyes so he can become young again. That girl just so happens to be Jack's buddy's fiancee. So Jack and his friend, along with the lovely Kim Cattrall as lawyer Gracie Law (because why wouldn't that be her name) set out to rescue her.

This leads them to an underground world of ancient Chinese mysticism and monsters. They fight street gangs, wizards, demonic creatures, etc. The point of the film is fun, and Big Trouble succeeds. From the corny dialogue to the B-movie set pieces to the cheesey plot and characters, everything about the film is a barrel of monkeys.Kurt Russell is perfectly over-the-top as Jack Burton. Almost every line he utters is eminently quotable in its cheesiness.

Unfortunatly, though, the film is sometimes too dumb. Unlike some of director John Carpenter's other movies, Big Trouble In Little China doesn't really have any social value. They Live was about the economy at that time. Halloween was about young sexuality. Big Trouble is about...ancient Chinese secrets. The film exists for the purpose of having a good time at the theater.

And there's nothing wrong with that. You just probably won't remember much about it in a few weeks. But that's ok. Enjoy it while it lasts.


This month's CINEASTES review has been hosted by Crap Monster at YGG'noise (


  1. ahah i love how you mention law's name. i think it points to a larger absurd element of the dialogue. if you notice, gracie and others talk with way too much exposition when introducing themselves.

    of course i simply have to disagree that the film holds no social value. the very reason i picked this film was to the contrary.

  2. I reject the very premise of your review, sir! This is one of the best movies of its day and has no rival in modern cinema. If you didn't like it, you didn't understand it. It is best viewed in the company of friends that have a good sense of humor and a healthy supply of your favorite controlled substance.