This film is nuts. At the time in the 80’s Big Trouble in Little China employed pretty much every Chinese/American actor alive at the time. Then they imported a few from Hong Kong and China! Kurt Russell is a trucker who winds up waist-deep in gang warfare, kung-fu, and dark Chinese sorcery. He drives his good buddy Wang Chi to the airport where he is to meet his beautiful, green eyed bride-to-be from China. Shortly thereafter, they have to rescue her from baddies. It’s aged a bit, but Big Trouble in Little China remains terrific fun.
They take the chase all the way back to Chinatown, where Kurt Russel’s character gets his first bitter taste of Chinese black magic in the form of three mystical Storm warriors. If you haven’t seen this film the action is very mid 80’s, and yet that’s one of the great things about it. It’s completely old-fashioned, while allowing ridiculous unexplained things to fly in out of left field, such as a giant monster that makes its entrance and exit in about 3 seconds flat and is never seen again.
Big Trouble in Little China was not an Oscar contender, despite the critically important events that it’s based on. It’s perhaps the mother of all B-movies and is only out to entertain, which it succeeds. There is no way any of it could happen in this world, and probably not in the next one, but it’s so much fun that we just suspend belief and go along for the ride. This movie has been a treasure to me since I first saw it as a kid.
As with every good fairy tale, things turn out well in the end. The whole gang triumphs over the age old forces of evil. The performances are uniformly strong while it’s clear that all the performers were having a blast making this film. The stunt work is well choregraphed and it’s no doubt that Director John Carpenter and his stunt coordinators were paying close attention to Chinese kung fu films long before anyone else was. The film is great entertainment and will have you smiling at its foolishness throughout and it comes highly recommended by me.