On this day in 1986, John Carpenter’s Big Trouble In Little China was released in cinemas to mostly baffled audiences. The goofy-fun-silly-awesome cocktail of Chinese black magic, wuxia, neon, and the World Class American Bullshit Artist that is Kurt Russell’s rig-drivin’ lead character, Jack Burton was quickly relegated to cult status. As The Monster Squad was the cult sweetheart to the more popular The Goonies, so was Big Trouble in Little China the cult answer to mega-hit Ghostbusters.
This movie remains a litmus test to a certain type of film sensibility. If you don’t like this movie, it’s going to be hard for us to have any serious conversations about film, be it Kubrick, Fellini, Hitchcock or Bay’ be it gothic romance, Fordian westerns, The French New Wave or the Dogme95 movement. Because if you don’t like Big Trouble In Little China, you don’t like filmmaking.
Just remember what ol’ 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 ol’ storm right square in the eye and he says, “Give me your best shot, pal. I can take it.”