10:00 - 2nd January 2014, by Calum Waddell

Big Trouble in Little China

A flop upon its initial release in 1986, but later attracting a mob of dedicated followers, Big Trouble in Little China is, perhaps, the last great movie to come from director John Carpenter (of Halloween and The Fog fame). Starring the ever charismatic Kurt Russell as trucker Jack Burton, Big Trouble in Little China pays homage to Chinese fantasy films, Shaw Brothers chopsocky and even the Japanese Baby Cart series with admirable aplomb.

The plot features Burton being caught up in a mysterious plan to sacrifice a beautiful green eyed girl (namely the stunning Kim Catrall) to a 2000 year-old sorcerer called Lo Pan (excellently essayed by James Hong). The consistent joke, however, is that Burton is way out of his league and unable to do anything of value - kind of like the anti-Indiana Jones. Indeed, the film's real hero is kung-fu expert Wang, played by Dennis Dun, who takes a back seat to Burton's consistently useless leading man.

Whether or not this gag has been exhausted by the end of Big Trouble in Little China is debateable - but the fact that so many critics, back in the '80s, failed to even catch on (some going so far as to criticise Russell as unlikeable!) indicates that Carpenter played this with more subtlety than he could have. The end result provides plenty of chuckles, and also exhibits some stunning special effects that, surprisingly, look as if they have barely aged a day, never mind a decade or three!

Almost three decades later and Big Trouble in Little China remains a fabulous mixture of comedy and carnage - highly recommended.
SCORE: 5/5
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