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Big Trouble in Little China (1986)

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Big Trouble in Little China
Big Trouble in Little China1
Directed By John Carpenter
Written By W. D. Richter
Screenplay By Gary Goldman, David Z. Weinstein
Cast Kurt Russell, Kim Cattrall, Dennis Dun, James Hong
Produced By Larry J. Franco
Film Editing By Steve Mirkovich, Mark Warner, Edward A. Warschilka
Cinematography By Dean Cundey
Music By John Carpenter, Alan Howarth
Studio

SLM Production Group

Country

United States

Language

English

Release Date

July 2, 1986

Runtime

99 Minutes

Rating PG-13
Distributed By

20th Century Fox

Budget $20,000,000
Gross $11,100,000

Overview

Big Trouble in Little China was a 1986 American action comedy film directed by John Carpenter and starring Kurt Russell, Kim Cattrall, Dennis Dun, Victor Wong, and James Hong.

Plot

After a long freight haul, truck driver Jack Burton is blowing off some steam with some high stakes gambling in San Francisco's Chinatown. He beats his friend Wang Chi and winning a huge pot of money. However Wang sheepishly admits that he doesn't have the money on him to cover his losses and that he'll have to run to his restaurant and pick up some cash to pay Jack off. Burton cynically proffers Wang a ride, suspecting that Wang is trying to pull a fast one on him.

Wang accepts but on the condition that they run an errand to the airport so that they can pick up Wang's fiancee Miao Yin. While waiting for the passengers from China to deplane, Jack notices a lovely young woman, Gracie Law who is also waiting to pick up a passenger from China and unsuccessfully tries to flirt with her only to be summarily shot down.

Things become complicated when a local Chinese street gang, the Lords of Death attempt to grab a few newly arrived Chinese girls to sell them off as sex slaves. When one of them tries to grab the girl that Gracie was picking up, Jack tries to intervene to impress her and gets easily knocked down. His interference however enables Gracie's friend to escape but Miao Yin is kidnapped.

Jack and Wang immediately pursue them into Little China only to run into a funeral procession being run by the Chang Sing, an ancient Chinese society. Then, the funeral is attacked by their rivals, the Wing Kong. Jack and Wang find themselves hapless bystanders and witness the arrival of the "Three Storms", a trio of supernaturally empowered martial artists who proceed to slaughter the Chang Sing. Shortly afterwards, Lo Pan makes an appearance and Jack and Wang are forced to abandon Jack's truck and flee on foot.

Back at Wang's restaurant, the pair recuperate and Wang tries to explain just what they encountered to a disbelieving Jack. They are interrupted by Gracie Law who has been doing some investigating and has managed to learn that the Lords of Death have sold Miao Yin to a brothel. Wang promises to pay Jack later with interest and help find his missing truck, convincing the reluctant Jack to help by posing as a customer to infiltrate the brothel and find Maio Yin.

But before Jack can find her, the Three Storms invade the brothel, searching for Maio Yin and kidnap her for Lo Pan. Jack and Wang bluff their way into the Wing Kong Exchange, a front for Lo Pan and his Wing Kong Society only to promptly captured. Worried about the overdue pair, Gracie brings in a reporter friend of her's, Margo to claim that they are investigating the Wing Kong in an attempt to intimidate them. However, they badly underestimate the Wing Kong and are simply imprisoned. The captive Jack and Wang manage to temporarily overpower the Storm known as Thunder and escape their cell. Freed, they also free Gracie and Margo along with dozens of captured Chinese girls and escape. Gracie who is bringing up the rear however is recaptured by one of Lo Pan's servants.

Jack and a distraught Wang learn from Egg Shen, the local authority on Lo Pan that over 2,000 years ago; Lo Pan was a mortal who was a great warrior and powerful sorcerer who tried to conquer China only to be defeated by the First Emperor who cursed him and condemned Lo Pan to live in an ancient, crippled body although he can manifest himself briefly as a ghost with no flesh or bones. It was prophesied that Lo Pan could only break the curse by marrying a woman with green eyes and then sacrificing her; the many women being held by the Wing Kong Exchange was simply the result of his attempts to find such a girl whom he has found with Maio Yin.

Lo Pan meanwhile is struck by the coincidence that Gracie Law also possesses green eyes and decides that it is fate that he marry both women. Further, he will sacrifice Gracie, appeasing the curse and allowing him to live out his earthly lusts with Maio Yin and begins his wedding preparations. Jack, Wang, and Egg Shen break into the Wing Kong Exchange once more with the help of the surviving members of the Chang Sing and Egg gives them all a potion that enables them to "see things no one else can see and do thing no one else can do". Empowered, the ragtag group interrupts the ceremony and engage in a furious battle against the Wing Kong Society, the various monsters and servants creatures, and the Three Storms which culminates in Jack throwing and missing a knife throw at the now mortal Lo Pan. Contemptuously, Lo Pan picks up the knife, admires it for a moment and then throws it at Jack who miraculously manages to catch it and fling it back, impaling Lo Pan in the skull, killing him.

With the Wing Kong Exchange collapsing around them, the survivors discover Jack's stolen truck and escape. Afterwards, the group is celebrating and Jack decides to take off. Unknown to him however, one of Lo Pan's surviving monsters has stowed away on his truck...

Cast

  • Kurt Russell as Jack Burton
  • Kim Cattrall as Gracie Law
  • Dennis Dun as Wang Chi
  • James Hong as David Lo Pan
  • Victor Wong as Egg Shen
  • Kate Burton as Margo Litzenberger
  • Donald Li as Eddie Lee
  • Carter Wong as Thunder
  • Peter Kwong as Rain
  • James Pax as Lightning
  • Suzee Pai as Miao Yin
  • Chao-Li Chi as Uncle Chu

Production

Based on a screenplay submitted in 1982 to 20th Century Fox, it was written by Gary Goldman and David Weinstein who had originally set the film as a western combining Chinese fantasy element with the events taking place in 1880 with Jack Burton as a cowboy who rides into town. However, 20th Century Fox demanded certain changes including modernizing the film to the present day and ended up with W.D. Ritcher extensively rewriting the entire screenplay, keeping only the Lo Pan part of the storyline.

Reception

Opening up on July 2, 1986 in 1,053 theaters nationwide, Big Trouble in Little China was received with mixed reviews by the critics.  Nevertheless, it has become a cult classic to audiences and some critics have retroactively reverse their opinion regarding the film.  It's popularity however has prompted rumors of a sequel for years. 

In June 2015, actor Dwayne Johnson reported that he is a huge fan of the original film and would like to remake it for modern audiences and is hoping to convince John Carpenter and Kurt Russell to participate in the project.

External Links

IMDb

Trailer

Big Trouble In Little China02:38

Big Trouble In Little China

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