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by Bill Ward on January 18, 2010

in Movies of a Misspent Youth


  • Title: Big Trouble in Little China

  • Year: 1986

  • Rating: PG-13

  • Director: John Carpenter

  • Cast: Discount Stromectol, Kurt Russell, Dennis Dun, Kim Cattrall, James Hong, Victor Wong

Cocky trucker Jack Burton takes on the forces of Chinese Black Magic in the form of a 2,000 year old malignant spirit and his demonic servants. Gang fights, kidnapping, and dueling sorcerers are just a taste of what lies in store in the underworld beneath San Francisco's Chinatown.

Rewind . Stromectol paypal, . .

. . , Discount Stromectol. to a time when cable TV consisted of a handful of channels showing a handful of movies. Big Trouble in Little China was one of those movies, 500mg Stromectol, seemingly on every weekend and generally stumbled upon while aimlessly flipping channels in an era long before DVRs, On Demand, and even the TV Guide Channel. Stromectol overseas, It's the kind of movie I probably watched 30 times before ever seeing it once all the way through. I watched it heavily edited for commercials on Saturday afternoon and for fifteen minutes while waiting for the call to dinner, in bits and pieces to fill an idle hour and as background noise when I was doing something else. Discount Stromectol, I see now that it's the sort of movie that completely works when broken into pieces -- hell, you could scramble it around and it would still be entertaining -- because taken on a scene-by-scene basis there is always something going on, always a reason to watch.

And watch I did, to the point of memorizing most of it, Stromectol coupon. Here was something that combined the goofy fun of b-movies, the action and special-effects of Hollywood blockbusters, and the exotic appeal of Hong Kong martial arts flicks. Stromectol ebay, In a time before Neo and everybody else was 'Kung-Fu Fighting,' Big Trouble gave you a taste of it with some wire work thrown in for good measure. While slower and cruder by today's standards, it also avoided the constant nausea-inducing quick-cuts that have become the standard of today's fight scenes.

big trouble chine lo panOne scene in particular always stuck with me -- one I would never fail to watch if I came upon it by chance, Discount Stromectol. Around fifteen minutes into the film, Stromectol mexico, as Jack and Wang Chi -- in Jack's big rig, The Pork Chop Express -- chase a car full of kidnappers down an alley in Chinatown, they come upon a funeral procession. Stromectol japan, It's a gang with yellow headbands, carrying a coffin. Then a rival gang shows up, trimmed in red. The guns come out, Stromectol india, the coffin is dropped -- it's full of hardware, and the poles used to carry it themselves are weapons -- and the whole scene erupts in automatic fire and swinging blades. Discount Stromectol, Then the Storms show up.

Boom; one, Stromectol usa, two, three, they descend from the skies as everybody crowds back. Each Storm -- in an enormous straw hat -- does his own little badass kung-fu showoff move . , 1000mg Stromectol. . the last of which, Lightning (clear antecedent to Mortal Kombat's Raiden), is accompanied by curling electrical energy, Discount Stromectol. Jack, clutching uselessly at his bootknife, 150mg Stromectol, floors it, and each Storm gets out of the way at the last minute. Then we see their master, Lo Pan, tall and striking in mandarin robes, 40mg Stromectol, light pouring from his eyes and mouth, and we know things have just taken a hard right turn into the weird.

Fast Forward . 50mg Stromectol, . .

Discount Stromectol, . . . to a time where cynicism and CGI march lockstep at the box office, and where 'auteur' is the ultimate dirty word in Hollywood, Stromectol canada. John Carpenter is the John Ford of b-movie cinema, with a brisk and unadorned style that sits back and lets the story take over. But Big Trouble in Little China was no b-movie, in fact it was Carpenter's biggest film to date in a career that had steadily been gaining mainstream following since the success of The Thing, Escape From New York, and Christine, Discount Stromectol. Sadly, 250mg Stromectol, Big Trouble was a commercial failure when it came out -- which possibly explains why it ended up on cable every weekend for the next six years.

But it has a giddy, impetuous, rough-around-the-edges b-movie feel that makes you forget the big expensive sets and somewhat-impressive-by-1986-standards special effects. Some of that may be because it was rushed into production in an attempt to get it out before another fantasy-comedy with Asian mystical elements due out the same year, 200mg Stromectol, The Golden Child, but I suspect mostly it is the result of Carpenter's directorial sensibilities. The movie has a tongue-in-check satirical edge that still manages to be reverential of the pulp material it lampoons, Stromectol australia, and a colorful, imaginative aesthetic that doesn't root it as firmly in the era of the 19080s as its contemporaries.

But mostly Big Trouble in Little China Discount Stromectol, is just pure fun. From the rogue's gallery of creatures and spirits, to the heroes themselves -- Gracie Law's aw-shucks earnestness, the impish Egg Shen, 10mg Stromectol, and the wise-ass posturing of Jack Burton. Indeed, Russell's Burton is an almost singular creation: a swaggering yet lovable tough guy that actually gets the short end of every fight in the movie -- save when it matters most. 30mg Stromectol, Either his friend Wang -- whose kidnapped green-eyed girlfriend is needed by the evil spirit Lo Pan to complete the ritual that will make him flesh -- takes out all the baddies before Jack is even ready, or Jack does something un-heroic like shoot the ceiling above his head and kick loose some stone that knocks him out. Jack, always game, full of bluster, 100mg Stromectol, is continually outclassed and out-of-his-depth, but always comes back for more. So out-of-step is this character with typical Hollywood action lead that the climatic scene between him and the main baddie is played with a ridiculous lipstick smear all over Burton's face -- the perfect touch to a film that elevates not taking itself seriously to a connoisseur's level of refinement, Discount Stromectol.

  • Nostalgia Rating: Ten Feet Tall

  • Rewatch Potential: Nearly Infinite

  • Wilhelm Scream?: No

  • Verdict: A cult classic that is ten times more fun and original than any big budget blockbuster to come out of the design-by-committee paint-by-numbers world of big Hollywood -- the perfect thing to watch on a "dark and stormy night."

bigtroublelittlechina castWhat I Learned: That "it's all in the reflexes, Stromectol us, " and that the Chinese have a lot of hells.

Top Marks: In a movie with seven-foot tall floating ghosts, a trio of flying killers in straw hats called Rain, Thunder, and Lightning, and a puffy-faced old sorcerer-slash-bus driver who comes equipped with crystal rocket launcher, Stromectol uk, pulley crossbow, magic potion, gemstone grenade, 750mg Stromectol, and .44 magnum ("Make you feel good, like Dirty Harry") it's awfully hard to single out one thing as most memorable. Which is why I think Kurt Russell himself earns the nod -- not only is he the everyman center around which all this craziness swirls, but he's also both the comic relief and the heroic lead. I can't think of any characters in film that combine these often antithetical traits so well in one package -- Jack Burton deserves to be as much of a legend as he thinks he is.

If (When) It's Remade: Burton will go from boob to psychotic wild man and beat up at least as many guys as Wang, 20mg Stromectol. Wang will be Jet Li. James Hong will again be cast as Lo Pan by unwitting studio bosses that didn't even know he was in the first film. Also, the world will be nudged into an erratic orbit that will result in it sliding too close to the sun and obliterating all life on Earth -- that is, Stromectol craiglist, if there is any justice.

Final Thoughts: I really wanted to see what was in the Six Demon Bag.

More Reviews of Big Trouble in Little China

This review is part of an ongoing series entitled Movies of a Misspent Youth, that looks at all the great fantasy, science fiction, and horror films available to the generation of kids growing up in the boom years of the 1980s. For more in this series, please visit my Film & TV page.


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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

hagelrat January 18, 2010 at 9:47 am

I love this movie, it’s a childhood fave of mine I used to watch with my brother. Cheesy, manic and delightful. Great review.

Lee January 18, 2010 at 10:19 am

Great film. Great review. I still think the “Have ya paid your dues, Jack?” monlogue is one one of the best.

Christopher Heath January 18, 2010 at 12:07 pm

This is an old favorite of mine as well. I remember one weekend when I was in my early twenties I saw it was getting ready to come on, so I ran out and bought some Chinese take out for lunch, came back and watched it while eating sweet and sour chicken and egg rolls. Perfect rainy Saturday and I still remember it after all these years. Tried to get my 9 year old son to like this movie–didn’t take.

Rabid January 18, 2010 at 1:38 pm

Oh my god. I loved this movie when I first saw in about ten years ago. Just looking around the shelves at Blockbuster one night with friends, trying to pick out some cheese and happened upon this. I was already a fan of Kurt Russell, but this cemented his god-like status. :)

Bill Ward January 18, 2010 at 2:18 pm

If alien conquerors appeared suddenly in low Earth orbit and demanded we justify our civilization I’d send them Big Trouble in Little China — and challenge them to top it.

Mike January 20, 2010 at 5:24 pm

“If alien conquerors appeared suddenly in low Earth orbit and demanded we justify our civilization Iā€™d send them Big Trouble in Little China ā€” and challenge them to top it.”

I’m totally saving this quote. This and They Live were high points for a bit of a downhill turn for Carpenter’s career: Ghosts of Mars, Escape from L. A., and (God help us all) Vampires were all made after this film. What the hell happened? I don’t think any Carpenter film I’ve seen made after 1988 exhibits even half the creativity and fun exemplified here.

Larry June 4, 2010 at 12:45 pm

Gotta agree, awesome movie with an oddball humour and the background moral of “You may not be superman, but never give up, never say die, believe in yourself or die trying!”. It’s not the typical packaged Hollywood vision so I guess that’s why people (and the studio) didn’t ‘get it’.

Bill Ward June 4, 2010 at 1:22 pm

Well said.

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