Big Trouble in Little China (1986)

TOMATOMETER

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AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: 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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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 that's just for starters. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
Rating:
PG-13 (adult situations/language, violence)
Genre:
Action & Adventure , Science Fiction & Fantasy
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 wide
On DVD:
Runtime:
Studio:
Twentieth Century Fox

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Cast

Kurt Russell
as Jack Burton
Kim Cattrall
as Gracie Law
James Hong
as Lo Pan
Al Leong
as Wing Kong Hatchet Man
Kate Burton
as Margo
June Kim
as White Tiger
Victor Wong
as Egg Shen
Carter Wong
as Thunder
Stuart Quan
as Chang Sing
James Lew
as Chang Sing
Jerry Hardin
as Pinstripe Lawyer
Gerald Okamura
as Wing Kong Hatchet Man
Chao Li Chi
as Uncle Chu
Dennis Dun
as Wang Chi
Daniel May Wong
as Wing Kong Security Guard
James Pax
as Lightning
Eric Lee
as Wing Kong Hatchet Man
Dan Inosanto
as Wing Kong Hatchet Man
Min Luong
as Tara
Jim Lau
as Chang Sing
George Kee Cheung
as Chang Sing
Jeff Imada
as Needles
Donald Li
as Eddie
Craig Noble
as Sewer Monster
Jade Go
as Chinese Girl in White Tiger
Lia Chang
as Female Wing Kong Guard
Kenny Endoso
as Chang Sing
Brian Imada
as Wing Kong Hatchet Man
Paul L.Q. Lee
as Chinese Gambler
Suzee Pai
as Miao Yin
Nathan Jung
as Wing Kong Hatchet Man
Rummel Mor
as Joe Lucky
Craig Ng
as One Ear
Bill M. Ryusaki
as Wing Kong Hatchet Man
Noel Toy
as Mrs. O'Toole
Shinko isobe
as Female Wing Kong Guard
Jimmy Jue
as Wounded Chang Sing
Danny Kwan
as Chinese Guard
Donna L. Noguschi
as Female Wing Kong Guard
Dian Tanaka
as Female Wing Kong Guard
Gary Toy
as Chang Sing
Willie Wong
as Wing Kong Hatchet Man
Danny Wong
as Wing Kong Security Guard
Vernon Rieta
as Wing Kong Hatchet Man
Yukio G. Collins
as Wing Kong Hatchet Man
Daniel Eric Lee
as Wing Kong Security Guard
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Critic Reviews for Big Trouble in Little China

All Critics (38) | Top Critics (2)

An upscale send-up.

Full Review… | May 21, 2003
New York Times
Top 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.

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Violent 1980s martial-arts movie is a campy guilty pleasure.

Full Review… | August 9, 2016
Common Sense Media

Contains the single drop-dead funniest moment in all of Carpenter's filmography.

Full Review… | May 2, 2016
eFilmCritic.com

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

Full Review… | June 13, 2013
Cinema Crazed

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

Full Review… | July 6, 2010
Matt's Movie Reviews

Audience Reviews for Big Trouble in Little China

Big Trouble In Little China is a film where our perceived hero Jack Burton (Kurt Russell) isn't really heroic at all. He's actually a buffoon that's pulled into an extraordinary situation with Wang Chi (Dennis Dun) being the true hero of the film. Jack acts like he knows what he's doing, but he's as clueless as anyone thrown into this situation, making a refreshing look from this fantasy/karate hybrid. The film opens with Jack accompanying his friend Wang to the airport to pick up Wang's love of his life. In the hectic arrival of a loaded airplane, she is kidnapped and after running into Gracie (Kim Catrall), who has some kind of involvement in the situation, Jack and Wang travel to Chinatown in an attempt to save his love, but stumble onto an otherworldly fight by Lao Pan (James Hong) to use the green eyed girl to restore his flesh. A mishmash of kung fu and fantasy follows as they attempt to stop Lao Pan's misuse of Wang's lady. Big Trouble is a fun movie to watch. The film has a great flow to it, even though when examining just the plot itself leaves a kind of clunky feel as you run it through your head. John Carpenter smooths over the rough edges by giving us great visuals (even by today's standards) and very nice acting work, particularly from Russell. As I said before, Jack Burton is not the hero of this film. He's more of a loud mouth that is lost in this underworld of Chinatown and it's a wonderful look at how the presumed hero may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer. It really is a great performance from Russell, cementing his trilogy of John Carpenter films. After revisiting this film a thought occurred to me. With all of the movies that are making a return after being defunct for 30+ years Big Trouble in Little China is a film that I see that could succeed by doing something like this. After 30 years I was still left wanting more from this story and these characters. This is one of these films that makes its own kind of definition and really makes a good impression on a viewer. A fine '80's ditty.

Chris Garman
Chris Garman

Super Reviewer

Tonally different from anything John Carpenter has ever done, "Big Trouble in Little China" follows Dennis (Kurt Russell) on a wild goose chase to find a friends fiancee after she's been kidnapped. Once realizing that the kidnapper's have more to them than meets the eye, this picture becomes bizarrely original. The main plot may have been a little tired to begin with, but once everything kicks into high gear, it is a genuine blast. Kurt Russell and Kim Cattrall are the two standouts here as they drive this film into another level of fun. With a sweet undertone and some downright creepy and awesome sequences, this is not a film to miss. In the end, there are some slow moments that I felt could have been trimmed down, but aside from that, it is a great film. "Big Trouble in Little China" is a rare treat.

KJ Proulx
KJ Proulx

Super Reviewer

½

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.

Alex roy
Alex roy

Super Reviewer

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