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Big Trouble in Little China (1986)



Average Rating: 6.8/10
Reviews Counted: 36
Fresh: 30 | Rotten: 6

Brimming with energy and packed with humor, Big Trouble in Little China distills kung fu B-movies as affectionately as it subverts them.

No Score Yet...

Average Rating: N/A
Critic Reviews: 2
Fresh: 1 | Rotten: 1

Brimming with energy and packed with humor, Big Trouble in Little China distills kung fu B-movies as affectionately as it subverts them.



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Average Rating: 3.4/5
User Ratings: 134,078

My Rating

Movie Info

Playing in a manner that can be conservatively described as larger than life, Kurt Russell plays a macho truck driver who agrees to go to the San Francisco airport and pick up his friend's (Dennis Dun) fiancee (Suzee Pai, freshly arrived from China. Suddenly, a gang of Chinatown toughs kidnap the girl right before Russell's eyes. After a wild chase sequence, Russell discovers that the girl has been abducted by a genuine, bonafide sorceror (James Hong), the ghost of a 3000 year old warlord. And

May 22, 2001

Twentieth Century Fox

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All Critics (40) | Top Critics (4) | Fresh (30) | Rotten (6) | DVD (35)

An upscale send-up.

May 21, 2003 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Special effects don't mean much unless we care about the characters who are surrounded by them, and in this movie the characters often seem to exist only to fill up the foregrounds.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times | Comments (12)
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Some of the acting is ropey and the effects are dated, but Big Trouble In Little China occasionally looks and feels like classic Carpenter, while Kurt Russell is on charismatic form as the frequently ineffective tough-guy hero.

September 11, 2013 Full Review Source: Flix Capacitor
Flix Capacitor

Works as a stand alone classic that features John Carpenter at his best.

June 13, 2013 Full Review Source: Cinema Crazed
Cinema Crazed

This is a bizarre, fun, action packed film, filled with wild characters and an adventurous, imaginative and campy spirit.

July 6, 2010 Full Review Source: Matt's Movie Reviews
Matt's Movie Reviews

Benefits from a rollicking wise-ass performance from Kurt Russell but otherwise falls limp courtesy of too many corny gags.

April 6, 2010 Full Review Source: Lessons of Darkness
Lessons of Darkness

A film to embody the Eighties, and justify them

November 15, 2009 Full Review Source: CinePassion

A 'B'-movie-style Western meets Eastern, a supernatural 'chopsocky' fantasy with leading man Kurt Russell doing a feature-length impression of a dead movie star. Put that in your pipe and smoke it. [Blu-ray]

August 12, 2009 Full Review Source: Groucho Reviews
Groucho Reviews

The high-octane action comedy takes all that was worthwhile from decades of B-flicks and distills it into a maximum-concentration explosion of cinematic TNT.

July 22, 2005 Full Review Source: Arizona Daily Star
Arizona Daily Star

Imperfect, yes...but still great cultish fun with Kurt Russell.

June 1, 2005

Russell and Carpenter make a great team.

April 15, 2005
Nolan's Pop Culture Review

A wholly enjoyable mixture of action, comedy, romance, and horror.

April 2, 2005

Big rave in little blurb!

March 17, 2004
New Times

I really hated this.

October 29, 2003 | Comments (8)
Juicy Cerebellum

Jack Burton is my guardo camino.

July 10, 2003

Loads of fun from the usually strained John Carpenter.

May 12, 2003
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

A misunderstood, underrated blast of a movie from genre king John Carpenter. As imaginitive and fun as anything he's done.

April 28, 2003
KFOR Channel 4 News

Kung fu, monsters, sorcery, 18-wheelers, swordfights and world-saving heroics against impossible odds: What more could you want?

November 7, 2002 Full Review Source: Netflix

Campy as heck but a lot of fun, too.

August 19, 2002
Reeling Reviews

A inspired and slightly unhinged homage to grindhouse B-moviemaking.

August 10, 2002
Flipside Movie Emporium

The film is probably best characterized by a comment from a review quoted in the DVD commentary by Kurt Russell: 'Absolutely fabulous and terminally hip.'

June 27, 2001 Full Review Source: PopMatters

Audience Reviews for Big Trouble in Little China

John Carpenter's Big Trouble in Little China is a top notch action comedy with some intense action, great performances, a fun and entertaining story and effective direction. Kurt Russell delivers yet another great performance here. The film has a highly entertaining premise, one that delivers for midnight movie fans. If you enjoy Carpenter's work, Big Trouble in Little China is a no brainer. The mix of action and comedy is well done, and John Carpenter manages to make yet another strong picture. This is a well made film, one that is sure to delight action fans looking for that pure 1980's flavor that period films had. In terms of story, the film has a well thought out script, and this is among one of Carpenter's finer films outside the horror genre. Upon its initial release, the film had a hard time finding an audience, and I think that's a great shame because, for me, John Carpenter is among my favorite directors, and with Big Trouble in Little China, he made an ambitious picture, on e that definitely captured key genre elements into one film to create an engrossing film, one that deserves much more praise. Than what it first garnered. Big Trouble in Little China may not be Carpenter's strongest directorial effort, but it's far from the worst. I really loved the film, and if you enjoy a fun, thrilling action packed film that is cheesy as much as it is eccentric, then this film is a must watch. Big Trouble in Little China is a film that is ambitious in scope, and it's one of Carpenter's most exhilarating works in the action genre. However, I still believe that Assault on Precinct 13 and Escape from New York are his finest action films. Still, for an effective popcorn thrill ride, Big Trouble in Little China delivers.
February 6, 2014
Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

January 29, 2014
Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

A highly entertaining B movie from the 1980's. Not the greatest film John Carpenter has ever done, but it's still pretty fun. This movie has everything: sci-fi, kung-fu, fantasy, action, romance, comedy, and of course, Kurt Russell. This is a great flick to watch while chowing down on some popcorn and drinking a beer.

The plot is wacky and all over the place, and trying to describe it would make it sound dumb, but I think that's part of the charm. It's is goofy, but in the best way possible, The film is purposefully larger than life, and isn't mean to be taken too seriously.

If you want to have a good time, then look this one up.
June 27, 2013
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

Big Trouble in Little China is focused on a colorful cast of characters. Where else can you go toe to toe with a villain that will blind you by staring into his glowing eyes or the energy blasts from his mouth? Those powers are embodied in evil sorcerer Lo Pan memorably played by James Hong. He's flanked by The Three Storms (Rain, Thunder and Lightning) lesser sorcerers who look like they're wearing huge lamp shades on their heads. Their first appearance is a wonderful showdown that combines two warring gangs: the Wing Kong, commanded by Lo Pan and the Chang Sings (the "good" guys). I've never seen or heard so many thunderclaps and animated lightning bolts discharging from people's hands. And I would be remiss if I didn't mention those bizarre creatures. Words cannot accurately describe one I'll simply call the Floating Eyeball Monster. It must be seen to be truly appreciated. At times the narrative is a bit disjointed and difficult to follow. But in the end, none of that really matters because this is a picture that aims to simply entertain and largely succeeds. The tone is goofily tongue in cheek with many laughs sprinkled throughout sensational action sequences. I think the film's purpose is best encapsulated in this exchange:
December 28, 2012

Super Reviewer

    1. Jack Burton: When some wild-eyed, eight-foot-tall maniac grabs your neck, taps the back of your favorite head up against the barroom wall, looks you crooked in the eye, and asks you if you paid your dues; you just stare that big sucker right back in the eye, and you remember what ol' Jack Burton always says at a time like that: 'Have you paid your dues, Jack? Yes sir, the check is in the mail.'
    – Submitted by Alex W (22 months ago)
    1. Jack Burton: You just listen to the old Pork Chop Express here now and take his advice on a dark and stormy night when the lightning's crashin' and the thunder's rollin' and the rain's coming down in sheets thick as lead. Just remember what old Jack Burton does when the earth quakes, and the poison arrows fall from the sky, and the pillars of Heaven shake. Yeah, Jack Burton just looks that big old storm right square in the eye and he says, 'Give me your best shot, pal. I can take it.'
    – Submitted by Dann M (23 months ago)
    1. Egg Shen: Only a dream can kill a dream.
    – Submitted by Dann M (23 months ago)
    1. Jack Burton: Well, you see I'm not saying that I've been everywhere and I done everything. But I do know it's a pretty amazing planet we live on here, and a man would have to be some kind of fool to think we're all alone in this universe.
    – Submitted by Dann M (23 months ago)
    1. Lo Pan: SHUT UP, Mr Burton!
    – Submitted by Zach W (24 months ago)
    1. Jack Burton: It's all in the reflexes.
    – Submitted by Josh B (2 years ago)
View all quotes (15)

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