Runtime: 1 Hour
and 39 Minutes
How can one resist a movie with a title like "Big Trouble in
Little China"? I don't really know. But I know that I can't.
From the moment that the title appears onscreen, a goofy grin alights
on my face. It can't be helped.
Plus, it's the sort of movie that just trips my trigger. It's got
a swaggering, smart-ass, one-liner-spewing hero (Kurt Russell). It's
got plenty of mysticism and a couple of demons. It has the end of
the world at stake if a demon marries a woman with green eyes. I am
hooked. I gotta tell ya, I love this stuff. They don't make enough
movies like this, for my taste. It's the reason I liked "Army
of Darkness" and "The Mummy" (1999) so much. I
love this kind of plot. I love it when a man or a group of men have
to pit their powers against an otherworldly foe and the fate of the
world is at stake. Witness my favorite movie (if you don't know it
by now, I'm not saying it again), for further proof.
Is this film really up to the caliber of those other films I mentioned?
No. I suppose not. Some of the special effects are rather iffy. Some
of the dialogue is immeasurably cheesy. Some of the situations are
sorta lame. But it has charm. It has its own sense of style. It's
got a wonderful B-movie with attitude tone going for it that I simply
must surrender myself to. And, most important of all, it has Kurt
Kurt Russell may not be the best actor in history, but there's just
something about the guy that I find appealing. It's as though he knows
that he isn't that awesome of an actor, so he just has fun with it.
I respect that. He makes whatever he does seem truly effortless. And
there is no better man to star in a John Carpenter film. I can tell
you that right now. He is a swaggering, macho, one-liner-tossing John
Wayne wannabe. He comes across as one of those guys you know who is
always trying a little too hard to be tough. And you know what? It
works magnificently. His performance here serves the tone immeasurably.
It is the bedrock on which the entire film is based, in fact. It is
the gel which holds it all together. When a Chinese mystic begins
to explain the reasons behind a Chinese ghost and starts going a little
long, Kurt rolls his eyes and counters by saying "Get to the
goddamn point, Egg!" and you laugh so hard because, in all these
movies, that's what you really want to say to the mystical know-it-all
anyway. It's a perfect moment, in its own bizarro way.
John Carpenter has always disappointed me a little. Yes, even with
this movie. It could have been another "Ghostbusters"
or "Army of Darkness" in
the right hands. But it never quite gets there. I love the idea of
the film and the I love humor and I love the tone. I love the lead
actor and I love it when a two-thousand-year-old Chinese demon (played
deliciously by James Hong) says "Now this really pisses me off
to no end", but it could have been something even better. I just
have never been entirely satisfied with this movie, and I don't know
exactly how to say why. But I have grown to love it, nonetheless.
I am charmed by it. I suppose I just like it when a movie has its
own distinctive personality. So many of them, after all, just seem
like cookie cutter, paint-by-numbers movies. Seen one and you've seen
Well, you've never seen anything like "Big Trouble in Little
China". No matter what else you say about it, you have to give