Big Trouble in Little China (1986) – Review

3 1/2 Stars

“You know what ol’ Jack Burton always says in a time like this?” Enjoy the camp. Kurt Russell is Jack Burton in John Carpenter’s Big Trouble in Little China. Jack Burton is a truck driver that stops in San Francisco’s Chinatown and hooks up with his friend Wang Chi (Dennis Dun). The two men head off to pick up Wang’s fiancée at the airport, but things go terribly wrong. A Chinatown gang led by an ancient supernatural being, David Lo Pan (James Hong), kidnaps Wang’s fiancée. Burton is dragged into a supernatural war between good and evil. However, Burton doesn’t go into the fight alone, he has Gracie Law (Kim Cattrall) providing moral support and good-guy magician Egg Shen (Victor Wong) as back-up.

This film is over-the-top in many ways. The special effects are overkill, the dialogue is cheesy, and the acting is oh-so-campy. It’s great fun. Russell shows off his skill at comedy in this role. Jack Burton is a hero without a clue. He charges into battle and knocks himself out, he spends precious moments trying to find his knife while everyone else defeats the bad guys, and his bravado throughout the film creates chuckles and laughter. This is a great action/comedy and one of John Carpenter’s best films. Sadly, they never made a sequel, it deserved it.

Director: John Carpenter
Stars: Kurt Russell, Kim Cattrall, Dennis Dun

Author Mike Chisholm is the founder and head writer for

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