action, adventure, comedy, fantasy, martial arts, movie, movie review

Flashback Review: April 24th, 2014 Movie – Big Trouble In Little China

big trouble in little china

Ok. I have been a fan of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson for a long time, both as a wrestler and as an actor. That being said, I will never forgive him if his plans of remaking this movie ever come to fruition. I wish Hollywood would stop with the whole remaking everything possible instead of trying to come up with more original ideas. When it comes to this movie, this is one of those movies that I have always loved watching because it is so ridiculous. Ever since I first saw the trailer, where Kurt Russell’s character knocked himself out, I decided that this was a movie I had to see. I managed to watch it on HBO years ago and every time it came on TV, I would watch it. So of course I had to pick up a copy on DVD so I could watch Big Trouble In Little China whenever I wanted.

The plot: Egg Shen is talking with his lawyer, who asks him if he knows the whereabouts of Jack Burton, but Egg tells him to leave Jack alone, as they were in his debt. The lawyer persists in finding out what happened, as Egg is being blamed for the destruction of a city block in a ball of green flame, and Egg says it was magic, revealing himself to be a sorcerer himself, and starts telling the lawyer what all happened. Some time earlier, Jack Burton is driving his truck, The Pork Chop Express, outside of San Francisco to make a delivery and as it is being unloaded, he gambles outside of the warehouses with his friend Wang Chi and several other people. Jack ends up winning $1148 over the course of the night and as morning breaks, everyone else leaves to start work but Wang convinces Jack to stay for one more bet, offering double or nothing. Wang proposes to cut a bottle in half with a large knife and Jack takes the bet but when Wang goes to cut the bottle, the bottle ends up flying towards Jack, who quickly catches it, citing his reflexes. Jack asks Wang to pay up but Wang says he doesn’t have the money on him and asks Jack to stop by his restaurant later, as he has to go to the airport first, but Jack says he will give Wang a lift, as he wants to ensure he gets paid. At the airport, Wang is there to pick up his childhood sweetheart Miao Yin, who he intends to marry, but as they are waiting for her, Jack notices a woman, Gracie Law, and heads over to talk with her. As they are talking, members of a Chinese street gang called the Lords of Death push by them and Gracie gets nervous about why they are there. Gracie moves away from Jack and spots her friend, another Chinese girl, and calls out to her but the Lords of Death move to grab her. When Jack tries to intervene, one of them pulls out a knife and baton and moves to attack him, allowing a second member to sweep Jack’s legs out from under him. Miao Yin shows up but ends up being grabbed by the Lords of Death, who escape from the airport. A pissed off Jack decides to go after them and Wang tells him that they have a club in Chinatown. After following Wang’s directions through some alleys, they find their path blocked by a funeral procession of the Chang Sing. Jack starts to back up when he notices some other figures approaching and Wang says they are the Wing Kong, the rivals of the Chang Sing. A massive fight breaks out between the two gangs when suddenly, a burst of green fire erupts from the ground and the Three Storms (Thunder, Lightning, and Rain) appear and kill three members of the Chang Sing, before moving forward to continue fighting. Wang tells Jack to get out of there and as Jack drives forward, the Three Storms move out of the way but Jack ends up running over David Lo Pan. Stopping his truck to inspect the body, Jack discovers that Lo Pan is still alive and hsi eyes and mouth suddenly start glowing, temporarily blinding Jack. Wang helps him get away and splashes water on Jack’s eyes to restore his vision when they find themselves approached by the Lords of Death and are forced to run, only to discover that Jack’s truck has been stolen while the Three storms are slaughtering the Chang Sing. Making their way back to Wang’s restaurant, Jack is on the phone with his insurance company about his truck when Wang’s friend Eddie Lee shows up and tells him that the Lords of Death stole his truck. Gracie shows up, saying she feels bad as the reason Miao Yin was taken was because of her and tells them that She was taken to the White Tiger, an illegal brothel the the Lords of Death run. Jack, Wang, Gracie, and Eddie head over to the White Tiger and Jack heads inside on his own, leaving the others waiting outside. As they are waiting, Gracie sees another car pull up and heads over to it, as it is her reporter friend Margo, and she tells her what is going on. Inside, Jack tries to find out if Miao Yin is there when suddenly, the building starts shaking while outside, Wang and Eddie see a giant green cloud over the building. Suddenly, the Three Storms appear, blowing a hole through the roof and they grab Miao Yin, who was being held in a secret room, and fly off with her. Realizing that Miao Yin must have been taken to Lo Pan’s place, Jack and Wang head in there disguised as telephone repair men and attempt to locate her only to be captured by the Rain. Rain tortures them briefly before tying them up and taking them to see Lo Pan, who appears as a decrepit old man. Lo Pan asks Wang about Miao Yin, and Wang realizes that Lo Pan intends to marry Miao Yin in order to appease the God of the East, then sacrifice her in order to remove the curse that he was inflicted with. Suddenly, Lo Pan sees Gracie, Eddie, and Margo on the monitors and he has Jack and Wang taken away, while Thunder ends up capturing the others. Jack and Wang are taken to a cell but Jack manages to free himself and Wang, then quickly pretend to be tied up again when Thunder enters with Eddie. Jack jumps onto Thunder, holding his knife to his throat, while Wang helps Eddie down and they go to leave when Thunder suddenly starts expanding, sending Jack flying off of him and into one of the wheelchairs he and Wang were tied to. Jack goes rolling backwards down the hall, knocking out some Wing Kong fighters that were coming to deal with them, and Wang and Eddie quickly lock Thunder in the room and head out after Jack before Thunder gets free. The three go looking for Gracie and Margo and find them locked in cages along with several other girls and as Wang and Eddie deal with the guards, Jack frees all of the women. When Thunder arrives with more Wing Kong warriors, they all make a run for it, diving into a pool of water and making their way through the sewers. After climbing back up to the warehouse that Jack and Wang first entered, they go to leave only to find their way blocked by more Wing Kong warriors but Jack and Wang manage to deal with them. Jack and Wang create a distraction so they cna lead everyone past the front guards but Gracie ends up being captured by a strange, orange furred monster. Outside, Jack and the others find Egg and Wang’s uncle Chu waiting for them in Egg’s tour bus and the manage to get away but realize that Gracie is missing. Gracie is taken to the room where Miao Yen is being held and Lo Pan approaches her and uses his powers to mesmerize her, just as Miao Yin is, as Gracie has green colored eyes like Miao Yin. Back at Wang’s restaurant, Egg shows up with the surviving members of the Chang Sing and they head out with Jack and Wang to stop Lo Pan, making their way through the underground sections of the city and deep under the earth towards Lo Pan’s temple. Meanwhile, Lo Pan has the Three Storms initiate the test for Miao Yin and Gracie, both of him pass, and he has them prepared to be married to him to appease the God of the East, then will sacrifice Gracie and keep Miao Yin for himself. Jack and the others reach Lo Pan’s temple and encounter a beholder, which Lo Pan uses to watch for intruders. Seeing what the beholder sees, Lo Pan taunts Egg Shen until Jack shoots at the beholder, driving it away. Jack and the others reach Lo Pan’s office, wondering where everyone is, and after finding the secret elevator, Egg gives everyone a magic potion to help them in the upcoming battle. They take the elevator down and see Lo Pan in the midst of the wedding ceremony and Egg tells them all to wait until the wedding is completed, as Lo Pan would be mortal and able to be killed. When they spot the wounded beholder nearby, Wang stabs it with his sword but Lo Pan sees them and has the Wing Kong attack them. Wang and the others rush to meet them while Jack ends up knocking himself out briefly before joining the fight. As Wang fights with Rain, Egg uses his magic to save Jack from Thunder, then begins battling Lo Pan. Their battle ends in a stalemate and Egg leaves with Miao Yin and Thunder, while Lightning attempts to seal the door behind them, then leaves himself. Wang manages to kill Rain then chases after Miao Yin, while Gracie, having snapped out of the trance, gets Jack and the go after him, dealing with the orange furred creature in the process. Taking the elevator back to Lo Pan’s office, Jack and Gracie end up kissing before the doors open, and they go looking for Miao Yin. They find Lo Pan talking with her and Thunder and Jack approaches them, joined by Wang. Jack and Wang attack Thunder and Thunder ends up chasing after Wang, leaving Jack to deal with Lo pan. Jack throws his boot knife at Lo Pan but misses and Lo Pan lets go of Miao Yin and picks up the knife. Complimenting Jack on the knife, Lo Pan throws it at him but Jack manages to catch it and throw it straight back, embedding the blade in Lo Pan’s head and killing him. Jack then goes to help Wang, who returns to the room with Thunder in tow and when Thunder sees Lo Pan’s body, he begins swelling up and ends up exploding. Thunder appears and Jack and the others run away, getting help from Egg to escape while Egg ends up killing Lightning by dropping a statue on him. Making their way through Lo Pan’s building, they find Jack’s truck and get in, driving through the warehouse doors and getting away, as Miao Yin and Wang kiss. Back at Wang’s restaurant, Jack, Wang, Gracie, Miao Yin, Egg, Eddie, Margo, and Chu are celebrating their success and Egg leaves, telling Jack he had promised himself a vacation when he finally defeated Lo Pan. Wang hands Jack a check for triple the money he owed him, saying he earned it and Jack approaches Gracie and talks to her about selling his truck and settling down. She offers an alternative of his getting a bigger truck with a sleeper compartment big enough for two and he says he will think about it, then leaves. As Jack heads down the road, he is talking on his CB about his experiences, unaware that the orange furred creature had stowed away underneath his truck.

Big Trouble In Little China met with mixed reviews from the critics on it’s release but has since received more positive results, holding an 82% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Brimming with energy and packed with humor, Big Trouble in Little China distills kung fu B-movies as affectionately as it subverts them.” 20th Century Fox hired James Carpenter to direct the movie and rushed it into production, as they wanted to release it before a similarly themed movie, The Golden Child, came out. This fulfilled Carpenter’s wish to direct a martial arts movie but the mixed reviews from the critics left Carpenter disillusioned with Hollywood and influenced his decision to return to independent film making. The movie was a box office bomb, only earning $11.1 million off of a reported $25 million but has since become a cult classic.

This movie is so fantastically ridiculous to watch and so much fun as a result. Kurt Russell was great as Jack Burton, while Kim Cattrall (Gracie), Dennis Dun (Wang), and Victor Wong (Egg) were also good. The story was interesting, trying to mix a martial arts movie with a fantasy/sorcery movie and it made for an interesting blend of styles. I also loved how Jack was trying to make sense of everything that was going on before finally just accepting it, while Wang was struggling with the fact that all of the stories and fairy tales he was told as a kid were coming true. The special effects were pretty cheesy at times but a lot of the fight scenes were decent and helped make them enjoyable. This really is a fun movie and one that is worth watching if you are in the mood for some not so serious entertainment.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Standard

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s