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Wick's Review

Created Sep 27, 2014 05:47PM PST • Edited Jun 06, 2021 06:58AM PST

  1. Quality
  2. Good 3.0

    Classic Kurt Russell can’t fully rescue an otherwise charmless martial arts fantasy. That spells moderate trouble for John Carpenter’s Big Trouble In Little China, which lost a ton of money upon its premiere and lives on to this day mostly out of the affection that we Kurt Russell fans have for our favorite leading-man.

    A pastiche of hit movie tropes, Big Trouble In Little China never coheres. Taking San Francisco’s Chinatown for all it’s worth, W. D. Richter & Carpenter’s screenplay is a bonfire of Chinese stereotypes. Does that make it culturally insensitive or culturally celebratory? I’m Occidental, so can’t say, but wonder how it played in Hong Kong.

    Not surprisingly, when Carpenter’s camera gets away from Kurt Russell, his movie loses its appeal. Fortunately, that’s not often.

  3. Very Good 3.5

    Kurt Russell sounds like a John Wayne imitator as truck-driver Jack Burton, perhaps to be expected coming seven years after he’d essayed an icon for John Carpenter in the TV biopic Elvis. Then he starred in The Thing for Carpenter, with Big Trouble In Little China coming four years later. Jack Burton remains a favorite with fellow Russell fans like Viewguides Modern Marvel & MJ5K. “Everybody relax, I’m here.”

    • Kim Cattrall as a hottie lawyer named Gracie Law – young Kim Cattrall
    • Dennis Dun underwhelms as Jack’s confrere
    • Suzee Pai smolders as his green-eyed girlfriend. Five years earlier she was a Penthouse Pet.
    • James Hong as a 2,000 year old man
    • Victor Wong as a San Francisco Chinatown tour bus driver with deep underground connections
    • Kate Burton as a Berkeley liberal
    • Donald Li as a Chinatown crime lord
  4. Male Stars Really Great 4.5
  5. Female Stars Very Good 3.5
  6. Female Costars OK 2.5
  7. Male Costars Very Good 3.5
  8. Good 3.0

    Big Trouble In Little China is a goofy action movie made by a horror director. Hence the Horror scene under water, with submerged corposes. Mild Jonesian hyper-reality is overused however. What’s that? See my reality commentary on Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

    The damsels in distress arrive 12 minutes in, showing Carpenter followed a hit movie playbook very closely, notwithstanding the wacky fantasy he included.

  9. Direction Very Good 3.5
  10. Play OK 2.5

    Frequently funny when Jack Burton speaks, otherwise silly or manipulative.

    Sorry, sorry just thrilled to be alive.

    Even Wang Chi gets in on the action.

    Chi: Here’s to the Army and Navy and the battles they have won; here’s to America’s colors, the colors that never run.
    Burton: May the wings of liberty never lose a feather.

  11. Music Barely OK 2.0

    The title song by the Coupe de Villes is awful. Apparently that’s John Carpenter himself singing lead, though it sounds like Kurt Russell. Source The 11 most awful songs from geek movie soundtracks

  12. Visuals Very Good 3.5

    Jack Burton’s 18-wheeler – with its Haulin’ Ass insignia – is almost perfect. If it had been a Peterbilt, it would have been perfect.

    35 stuntmen are a lot.

  13. Content
  14. Risqué 2.2
  15. Sex Titillating 1.6
  16. Violence Fierce 2.5
  17. Rudeness Salty 2.5
  18. Fantasy 4.1

    Big Trouble In Little China looks real, especially given the All American trucker at the center, but it’s actually a nose into fantasy, especially biologically.

  19. Circumstantial Supernatural 3.9
  20. Biological Fantasy 4.3
  21. Physical Supernatural 4.0


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Mar 27, 2014 5:00PM

Regarding modern marvel’s Review
“It has Kurt Russell in his scruffy, rugged, wisecracking 80’s action comedy finest.” What more do you need.

Jan 11, 2010 9:23PM

Regarding MetalJunky5000’s Review
Good one MJ. I remember seeing and liking this movie back in the day. Of course, I’ve always been a Kurt Russell fan.