Big Trouble in Little China

Truck driver Jack Burton (Kurt Russell) and his friend Wang Chi (Dennis Dun) drive to the airport to pick up Wang’s fiancée Miao Yin (Suzee Pai), only to see her kidnapped by a Chinese street gang known as The Lords of Death. Together, Jack and Wang must rescue Miao Yin by infiltrating a brothel, defeating the sorcerer Lo Pan (James Hong) and doing battle with the black magic forces lurking deep within Chinatown. Are you still following?

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Although totally (prawn) crackers from start to finish, this 1986 action-comedy remains entertaining. With a script co-written by W.D. Richter, the plot is as baffling as you’d expect from the director of Buckaroo Banzai. We’re not expected to keep up with the lightning pace, but to revel in the film’s incongruous mash-up of kung-fu, fantasy and parody, all impressively (and barely) held together John Carpenter’s colourful direction. As usual, Carpenter also provides the score, which seamlessly combines Chinese elements with his signature synths.

We’re (mis)guided through this jumbled journey by a number of funny and likeable characters, most notably Kurt Russell in one of his finest (spring) roles. Essentially Evil Dead‘s Bruce Campbell with a mullet, he breezes his way through Chinatown and the weird and wonderful delights it throws up. With great creature effects, wirework and action, Big Trouble in Little China is (n)oodles of fun.

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