Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Movie Review: Big Trouble in Little China (1986)

Jack Burton wants his truck back.

To get it, he has to descend into several different hells, defeat slavers, rescue captive women from the clutches of the evil 2000 year-old magician Lo Pan and endure the company of lawyer Gracie Law.

In 1979, John Carpenter directed Kurt Russell in the TV movie Elvis, which is often regarded as Russell's break-out into adult roles after having grown up in the Disney stable.

Carpenter also directed Russell in what has probably become the most famous of the actor's roles: Snake in the movie Escape from N.Y.. Big Trouble is another Carpenter/Russell endeavor.

The best way I can think of to describe Jack Burton is to suggest that he's probably watched Escape from N.Y. a few too many times and he thinks that he's Snake. But he's way out of his depth when he finds himself confronted with a world shaped by magic and dark sorcery.

There's a fine cast of supporting characters: Kim Cattrall as "Gracie Law", Dennis Dun as Burton's friend "Wang Chi" and veteran actor James Hong as the evil "David Lo Pan". Victor Wong plays the magician/tour bus driver "Egg Shen" and Wang's kidnapped girlfriend "Miao Yin" is Suzee Pai.

It is also interesting to note that the truly ridiculous theme song over the closing credits was the work of John Carpenter, as well.

The whole thing is played for laughs and is very, very over-the-top.

This flick is one of my "guilty pleasures", so I heartily recommend it to anyone who has a fondness for memorable taglines and who likes their popcorn microwaved.

It really shakes the Pillars of Heaven. No horse shit.

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