Big Trouble in Little China

Big Trouble In Little Chine:  “This is Jack Burton in the Pork Chop Express, and I'm talkin' to whoever's listenin' out there.”

The early drafts of the movie had the setting of a western with Chinese mysticism as the backdrop. In a rare example of a studio not fucking things up and doing their job, they asked for rewrites, and more rewrites. The original writers got the ax and it was up to W. D. Ritcher who previously directed Buckaroo Banzai to unfuck the script. Clint Eastwood and Jack Nicholas were considered as leads, but as a light descended from heaven, Kurt Russell appeared and turned what would have been just a good movie at best into one of the most endearing movies from the 80's. The film is one of the best Carpenter movies and probably the only movie where Kim Katrell is tolerable. Big Trouble stands as one of the best action films ever made.


"Like I told my last wife, I says, "Honey, I never drive faster than I can see. Besides that, it's all in the reflexes.""

Loud mouth Jack Burton and his friend Wang Chi spend a night drinking and gambling. Wang loses big to Jack keeping them together until Wang can payout. Wang needs to pick up his fiance from the airport first, but is helpless when the gang, the Lords of Death kidnap her. This leads to the revelation that she will be soon used in a ceremony to bring a two thousand year old sorcerer, Lo Pan to life. Jack and Wang soon find themselves on the wrong side of street gangs, ancient Chinese sorcery, and a guy that can explode on command.

Have you ever been so mad that........?

Here's why Jack needs a seat at the big boy table of action movies. If you take away the one-liners and all the hot air he's blowing, he's kind of a screwup. He acts first and thinks later, constantly picking fights with the wrong people, bumbles through the action, and is utterly clueless in the world he just stepped in. Compared to Wang, the “sidekick”, Jack is a complete fuck up with a mouth that writes checks that he can't cash….but he keeps going. His arrogance drives him through the guns, swords, and sorcery that Little China throws at him. A few lucky breaks and Jack comes out on top with his truck back, a little richer, and earning the happy ending. Burton is the ultimate example of “faking it till you make it” proving that you can surmount any obstacle with a mouth, magic potions, and really good reflexes.


You know how many kids put laundry baskets on their head and pretended to have magic powers after seeing this movie? All of them. Seriously. You had an evil sorcerer, magic henchman that shot lightening from their fingers (Lightening was the inspiration for Raiden in Mortal Kombat), huge chinese gang wars, midair sword fights, and Kurt Russel playing the most obnoxiously awesome guy in an action film. It was also funny, which is hard for an action film to pull off. Everything seems to come together perfectly even with the knowledge that Jack was probably not the true hero of the film as a wink from the director. I guess that's why he became one of the greats. Indeeeeed.