You probably know by now that Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson might be fronting the Big Trouble in Little China remake, and whether you want it to happen or not (I fall within the latter group), there’s no doubting that the original film is a classic, not just for the ’80s and John Carpenter, but for all of cinema. This film was significant in my childhood, and it may have been for you, too. Here are the reasons why Big Trouble in Little China was such an awesome film.
Kurt Russell’s hair
The dirty blond sweeping curves of his massive hair helmet while Jack Burton throws knives, shoots guns, and applies punches is glorious. His hair in this film rivals his dirty, sweaty mane in the Escape series, but I think we can all agree that Russell’s hair in this film is majestic.
The ridiculous fight sequences
The alleyway fight sequence in the first act is a perfect appetizer for the film’s upcoming mayhem. Two street gangs battle each other, followed by the appearance of David Lo Pan’s three magical assassins, then Lo Pan himself blinds Burton with a light scream. The coup de grâce sequence at the end, with all parties involved, is thrilling in both the fight choreography (flying sword fight) and the magical explosions that happen all around; it’s one of Carpenter’s best finales.
The mythological creatures
Want a flying, multi-eyed monster that serves as a camera for the ultimate baddie? How about a sewer-dwelling creature that eats men? Need a hairy, fanged beast that abducts women? This film has it all, and the final scene where said fanged creature pops out of Jack’s truck gave me nightmares as a child.
Burton is one of the best characters that John Carpenter has ever created, and that’s saying a lot. From his truck monologues, to his one-liners (“Son of a bitch must pay.”), to his bravado in facing creatures that he never himself believed could exist, Burton is funny, cool, and one bad-ass trucker. Also, the way that he [SPOILER ALERT]… kills David Lo Pan is so friggin’ awesome that it deserves to be watched several times.
Carpenter is known for creating the scores to his films, but this one — with it’s synth-rock chords and strikes — is ’80s cheese at its best. Including this glorious video from Carpenter and The Coupe De Villes.
Kim Cattrall’s hotness
With her creamy green eyes and perfectly proportioned features, Kim Cattrall was one of the hottest items of the ’80s, and it shows in Big Trouble in Little China. The fact that Jack Burton wants desperately to get with Cattrall’s character shows that just about any man would have fallen for the striking beauty of the still-hot ’80s bombshell.
Ancient Chinese magic
Even for a film from 1986, the special effects in Big Trouble in Little China hold up well. There’s the flying sequences, the electric magic that encircles the one assassin, and the creature effects… it all plays well. Who wouldn’t want to drink a special Chinese courage potion?
Flying, exploding, electrifying bad guys
One of the best parts about this film is the antagonists. There’s the three amigos who each have a specialized power from blowing up to electricity. Then, there’s David Lo Pan, played expertly by James Hong. Lo Pan is such a good bad guy, you almost don’t want him to meet the same end that most bad guys do. Whether Lo Pan is in a wheelchair or floating around a room, there’s no question that he’s one of the best bad guys Carpenter has ever created.