Big Trouble in Little China (1986)

You know what ol’ Jack Burton always says at a time like this? Well honestly, it probably wouldn’t be anything very poignant, so let’s just forget it.

Big Trouble really is one of those rare movies that seems to have infinite re-watching value. It actually seems to get funnier with each new time you see it, and part of that charm certainly is in the comedic streak and the way it handles itself by not taking anything that seriously. Some times I wonder how good the movie would have been, had they actually done the movie as a  western like they had initially planned. It might have been interesting on some level, but I don’t think the crazier parts would have clicked the same way when the familiar contemporary elements wouldn’t  have been there to ground it. It easily could have been a bit too goofy if you had cowboys fighting an ancient Chinese sorcerer and demons because you would automatically try to see it as more of a period piece. Jack himself at least wouldn’t work as well as a character, because the key to his charm is that he really is your average period appropriate 80s macho guy filled with a lot of hot hair and a hint of delusional self image which makes him think he’s a competent action hero, despite repeatedly getting his ass handed to him. Kurt Russell really gets that,  and that’s why he’s so phenomenal in the role.  I just don’t see Clint Eastwood and Jack Nicholson (both of whom were considered at one point for the role, but proved to be too busy) being able to play Jack the right way, they don’t seem the type to have the right type of faux machismo in them what is pivotal to the character.

It’s a bit shame they never did a proper sequel even though they do end it in a cliffhanger, it could have been very interesting to see where Carpenter would have taken Jack Burton next. Hell, just imagine if it had become a real B-list movie franchise, how mad would that be? At least we did finally get a relatively funny comic book sequel this year that does  seem to keep most of the tone and humor, so there is that.


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