On July 2, 1986, the world was introduced to one of the most ludicrous movies of all time. Big Trouble In Little China was a movie that would become, perhaps in spite of itself, an action-fantasy-comedy classic.
Big Trouble In Little China is one of those movies that was a total product of its time, yet continues to transcend its generation after thirty years. Just as good now as when it came out, you’d be hard pressed to find an 80s action movie that hits every mark so perfectly: humor, action, great characters, plot-driven story, and fantastic visual effects.
The brains behind Big Trouble In Little China was legendary horror director, John Carpenter. Even with a built-in pedigree like that, a movie about warring wizards and mystical ninjas in the streets of 1980’s San Francisco’s China Town might seem like a stretch. But everything comes together so well it’s almost impossible to find anything wrong with the movie. For pure fun it can’t be beat.
Kurt Russell was given the lead role of Jack Burton, a lewd trucker just trying to make his way from one haul to the next. His fortunes take a turn for the worst as he finds himself in a life or death struggle with ancient Chinese wizards and demons.
Big Trouble In Little China was so good that it may have even inspired one of the most classic video game characters of the 80s and 90s: Raiden, from Mortal Kombat. One of the most iconic parts of this movie are the “Three Storms”. I’m still not sure if they’re mortal men granted supernatural power, or if they’re reincarnated ancient spirits. Either way they are seriously badass, and are the coolest part of this crazy movie.
Big Trouble In Little China might be the quintessential “cult film”. A lot of people haven’t seen it. A lot of people have. Either you think it’s idiotic, or you think it’s absolutely brilliant. I fall in the category of people who can’t imagine a world without this bonkers movie. Apparently a lot of other people feel the same way because in June the twenty-fifth, and final issue of the comic book series ended. You don’t put something like that together without knowing there’s serious interest in the source material. The comic picked up where the movie left off, literally, by taking this crazy film to newer, crazier heights.
I like to think the comic gave us what a true sequel to the film would have been. There are rumblings of a re-make starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, and while he’s great, I truly hope a re-make doesn’t come to pass. Some movies can be re-made, and done well, but with Big Trouble In Little China there’s no point. The original movie is perfect. Leave it alone. Make a sequel if you must, but lighting doesn’t strike twice… unless you’re a magical spirit demon with lighting powers!