50/50 Review #10: Big Trouble In Little China.

How have I never seen this movie before now? Jack Burton (Kurt Russell) is a truck driver who, after going to the airport with his friend Wang (Dennis Dun), ends up in a war with Lo Pan (James Hong)--and immortal sorcerer who must marry a green-eyed woman in order to regain his youth and strength. So along with lawyer Gracie Law (Kim Cattrall) and peasant magician Egg Shen (Victor Wong), Jack must do what it takes to survive... and get his truck back.

There is almost no point to making a criticism about this movie. It's so insane and bad and brilliant and awesome that you'll either love it or hate it. The best comparison I can actually make is that it reminded me a lot of Army of Darkness. Now, before you raise your eyebrows at me, let me explain. The acting is anywhere between silly to over-the-top. The visuals are bizarre and cheesy (but simultaneously brilliant). You can never tell what's going to happen in the next scene, action or otherwise. You have a lead character who is an average guy, yet a total wisecracking badass who gets sucked into a world even he thinks is freakin' ridiculous, but he never lets it get to him; instead, he rolls with it and does things his own way. If magic won't open a door... forget it--just shoot or stab the thing down. He'll kiss a girl then toss her aside, because that's how he rolls, baby.

The tone is a strange one. It's like the movie is simultaneously taking itself seriously yet acting like a parody. It knows exactly what it is, and knows you know, so it goes the opposite direction just to keep you on your toes. Point is, there seemed to be scenes that knew the film was just out of its mind, but then it would give you another scene that pulled it back just a little. I don't know how to explain it. And this isn't a negative--just an observation. Again, it's like going back to the Army of Darkness comparison. You have all of these actors being overly dramatic and serious, but in the most ridiculous of situations.

The only negative I actually have is the journalist character. She was awfully pointless in the grand scheme of things. Her character did absolutely nothing or add anything. Maybe a joke here or there, but she was such a late addition to the story and almost a non-presence that it just felt like she was forced into the story after production of the film had already begun.

Anyway, while it did take me a while to get a handle on what I was experiencing, I eventually gave in to the craziness of it all. This is a film I would have loved as a child, and it's a bit bittersweet that I'm only now seeing it for the first time. Bitter in that I haven't gotten to see it more, but sweet in that I can now appreciate it in ways I might not have with the nostalgic attachment I would have otherwise had. If you haven't seen this movie, and you like crazy, over-the-top action/adventure/fantasy flicks with cool, fun characters and great lines... this is one you need to check out.

Rating System.
Royale With Cheese


  1. This is such an awesome film. I love how Burton thinks he's the hero of the movie, but really his sidekick is the one who usually saves the day. Kurt Russell is just perfect for this role. Glad you enjoyed it.

  2. This was one of my favorite 80's movies of all time! I loved the characters and the concept, if you can call it that.

  3. Glad you liked it. It may be just as well that you didn't see it as a kid -- I grew six new chest hairs upon my first viewing.

    Here's something that's been perpetually debated among my friends: Russell's Jack Burton is the sidekick. Discuss.

  4. Oh, I can totally agree with that, Nolahn.

  5. Haha - I love your reaction to this. I didn't see it for the first time until a couple years ago, so I can relate, though it's definitely just more up your alley than mine to begin with (not that it's not mine, it's just MORE yours). Anyway, I too wish I'd seen it as a kid, as I would have likely eaten it up quite a bit.

    James Hong rules in everything. Discuss.


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