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Big Trouble In Little ChinaUSA 1986
Directed by John Carpenter
Running time 99 minutes
Synopsis: Jack Burton (Kurt Russell) is a big talking truck driver drawn into a mystical, centuries old war underneath San Francisco’s Chinatown after he agrees to help his best friend Wang Chi (Dennis Dun) rescue his fiancée from the clutches of a cursed evil sorcerer named Lo Pan (James Hong). Along the way Burton and Wang must battle against supernatural warriors and demons, with help from motor mouth lawyer Gracie Law (Kim Catrrall) and sorcerer, Egg Shen (Victor Wong).
Horror maestro John Carpenter lightens up somewhat with Big Trouble In Little China, a bizarre, fun, action-packed thrill ride, filled with wild characters and an adventurous, imaginative and campy spirit. Carpenter’s skill at creating tension and atmosphere is used to great effect here, and he also establishes himself as a credible and innovative action director, who, along with martial arts choreographer, James Lew, has structured some cracking action scenes. The thrilling battle sequence set in the streets of Chinatown is a clear highlight.
Long time Carpenter cohort, Kurt Russell is a hoot as the John Wayne-esque, mullet-sporting, trash-talking hero who is constantly bested by his enemies and put to shame by his much smaller, yet much deadlier sidekick, played well by Dennis Dun. Great fun is also had with James Hong and Victor Wong as duelling sorcerers.
The film features some great visual effects and creature creations which still hold up in our CGI times and John J. Lloyd’s production design of underground catacombs and ancient Chinese architecture clashing with the neon look of the 1980’s works a treat, as does April Ferry’s vibrant costume design.
The result is a vastly entertaining, thrilling, and criminally-underrated B-grade action movie.