Dec 9, 2008

Big Trouble in Little China


Big Trouble in Little China is a title that is fresh in most of your minds. For me, It's a new experience. I've meant to view this Russel/Carpenter film since I've heard of how odd-ball it is. Now that I've seen it, I'm not sure I have the same view on this film as others who viewed this film in their childhood. This is yet another attempt to assimilate Asian culture perfectly within Western audiences. What better way than to allow the action to take place in Chinatown.


Jack Burton, at first glance, is the ideal American hero - Wife beater tee, American blue jeans, grizzled facial hair, and a fierce extensive firing arm. All this is intimidating, but during a closer look, Burton is no more a caricature of American heroes than the rest of them. His many adventures have him hiding out from harms way during "comedic" scenes. The rebuttal is swift as the cowards love interest is taken by the evil immortal sorcerer. He then relies heavily on his Kung-fu friend to rescue both damsel's in distress.


Big Trouble in Little China is one of the fortunate films to not be influenced by CGI or anything other than practical effects. An iconic "Storm" dons an ancient Chinese gi-of sorts. His powers revolve around electricity allowing for maximum killing efficiency. It would be safe to say that Midway stole the idea for Raiden in hit arcade game Mortal Kombat. Metal Gear Solid at least took the initiative to credit Snake Plissken for his influence, whereas Midway felt it better to hide their scandal under chart-topping records.


As the film progressed, I found myself overwhelmed and underwhelmed. I could have went into shock as quickly as the cornball humor came and went. The ending came swiftly with no remorse and like any John Carpenter ending, left me speechless and stunned. His generic remark to any ending with closure must be less than satisfactory. The only trait that Carpenter has distilled upon this 80s humor fest is his usual casting of Kurt Russel (Elvis, The Thing, and Escape from New York) and his merciless endings.


The action/adventure genre is scrapped for a pliable adventure film. The action scenes are few and are salvaged in an effort to bring more laughs in the film. One could get enjoyment from the incredibly over-the-top scenes, but I found myself asking myself "Did they really need to go that far?". Carpenter's effort at forging an 80s cheese ball fantasy film works incredibly within its own limitations, but I discovered that there was something missing indeed. Big Trouble in Little China is sadly a film that I needed to see while young to retain most of the mind-blowing nostalgia that many to this day still reminisce upon.



-mAQ

4 comments:

iMike said...

This is Jack Burton from the Pork-Chop-Express and I'm talking to anyones whos listening...

I've always dug this movie! Good review though

thebonebreaker said...

I saw this film when it 1st came out, and again and again, years later ~ I absolutely loved it!!
However it has since been many years since my last viewing. . .

Juanita's Journal said...

I've been a big fan of "BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA" since it was first released in 1986. It's so deliciously cheesy and over-the-top, yet very witty at the same time.

august schellenberg IV said...

still one of the single most entertaining films ever made, it almost defines the word "UNPRETENTIOUS".