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Review: Big Trouble in Little China

April 20, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 162

John Carpenter is known for being an innovator and pioneer in the horror film universe. His most notable and most popular film is Halloween and it's been credited with starting many of the trends in horror films that we still see today. Despite being known primarily for scary movies, he's also done projects in other genres as well. One of those projects is called Big Trouble in Little China.

In this movie, Kurt Russell stars as the macho Jack Burton. After a night of gambling, Burton goes to the airport to pick up his friend Wang Chi's (Dennis Dunn) fiancée (Suzee Pai) from the airport. While awaiting her arrival, a bunch gang members from San Fransisco's Chinatown pop up out of nowhere and kidnap the girl. Jack and Wang Chi chase after them in hopes of rescuing her and stopping whatever evil deeds the gang has planned. While on the chase, they soon find out that they may have run into something that's more dangerous than the already dangerous rescue mission that they were on when they meet the mysterious Lo Pan (James Hong).

In the action genre of film, there are many styles for fans to choose from and enjoy. Big Trouble in Little China can be classified as a martial arts style action/adventure that's done in sort of a campy kind of fashion. Along with the movie and it's style, it has your All-American macho (sometimes goofy) tough guy, the damsel in distress and loads of other characters that look like they've come right out of comic books and video games.

At the beginning, we see some seemingly normal people doing normal things. They're working, gambling, drinking and just living life the way they know how. Soon after that we're introduced to the more animated people (think Mortal Kombat) and that's when things become surreal and take a turn for the worse for our heroes. Once this happens we start to discover the unknown at about the same time as the preoccupied and reluctant Jack Burton does.

One of the parts that helps Big Trouble in Little China is that Carpenter wants the viewer to search through this secret portion of land that very few would have known about (if this was real of course). From there we get to see many of the usual trappings that are common in stories about mysteries and conspiracies, but we also get a few unorthodox things to see as well. All of the action and even the characters benefit from the film looking at everything that's going on. There's magic, unearthly beings and even the environment itself plays an important role.

Those things add personality to a film that already has plenty of to begin with thanks to the characters. Whether they're good guys or bad guys, the characters in Big Trouble in Little China are all over the top in some way and they bring a high amount spirit and vigor with them in every scene. They bring much of the film's entertainment value to the table and could possibly carry the film by themselves, but luckily they didn't have to.

People who watch Big Trouble in Little China are probably watching in hopes of seeing action. If that's the case, then you're in luck. There's an abundance of it here and it's distributed in multiple ways. There's your gun fights, some hand to hand combat and a variety of other weapons that are put to good use with the various skill sets that certain people in the movie have at their disposal.

The action is done in a sensationalized manner and most of it is exaggerated for comedic purposes. In reality, just about everything in this underrated cult classic is done this way and that's what makes it comical and fun. It's an over the top mix of action, adventure, comedy and the usual romance that we see in movies, but this time it's created from the hands of Carpenter. It was made in the mid 80′s and it represents what some movies of that time were like. Big Trouble in Little China is a B-movie that doesn't take itself seriously and is relatively safe for people of all ages to watch.

Score: 3.5/5

Rating: PG-13

Director: John Carpenter

Cast: Kurt Russell Kim Cattrall Dennis Dun Victor Wong James Hong Kate Burton Suzee Pai Eddie Lee

Film Length: 99 minutes

Release Date: July 2, 1986

Distributor: 20th Century Fox

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