Thursday, November 29, 2012

Big Trouble in Little China (1986) Review:

It's really hard to comprehend how proficient talent goes to waste so easily. Big Trouble in Little China has a lot of good actors yet there's so much that doesn't work. Never have I witnessed such a catastrophe before in a movie screenplay. There was absolutely no continuity in the plot. And some viewers may feel totally lost half the time while watching this.

The talent of this film belongs to Kurt Russell, Kim Cattrall and Dennis Dun. All these actors do their job well but nothing is original nor is it entertaining. Kurt Russell plays Jack Burton, a selfish truck driver who has no intent on helping anyone else but himself. Cattrall plays Gracie Law, who seems to be Burton's ex-girlfriend even though they both end up together again anyway. But what really made it confusing was how on and off these two characters were. One scene they're up in each other’s faces, the next they're sharing hugs. Please make up your mind people!

Russell surrounded awkwardly
Dennis Dun plays Wang Chi, Burton's friend who has his girlfriend kidnapped and is to be sacrificed to an evil sorcerer named David Lo Pan, acted by James Hong. Now it's up to Burton and Chi to save his girl. Another thing that just didn't match here was that Kurt Russell is the star of this film, yet his character is given second place. The character of Jack Burton may be tough and snotty but he's always one step behind everyone else. Why is this? If he's the main character, he should be the one taking charge of rescuing Chi's girlfriend, not some other character. This principle applies for my review of Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls (1995) and Mr. Popper’s Penguins (2011).

A scene that just doesn't make any sense in continuity
Another thing that constantly screamed at me while I watched this film was the execution of action scenes. It takes a lot of effort to try and stick to what's going on in this film! There were multiple times where scenes abruptly ended and began something else in the same place. For example, Burton and Chi become stranded in an alley when out of nowhere two Asian groups clash with guns firing and knives throwing. And Burton and Chi are just watching this from the cabin of a truck and no one bothers to get out and do something? What's going on here? Will this affect the outcome of the movie - no; so why have it?

However I will give credit to director John Carpenter for having some unique set designs and special effects but that's all I'm giving him. There's no specific direction in the execution of the plot. The audience is just bombarded with random scenes that have Russell, Dun and Cattrall falling through trap doors and crawling into thin spaces trying to escape danger, until finally it reaches its finale. Not fun. I'm surprised that one of the writers, Gary Goldman was allowed to write for any films after this; especially Total Recall (1990), which was a good film! It's unfortunate because I really wanted to enjoy this movie but I couldn't.

Director John Carpenter has a knack for doing some amazing things in filmmaking but Big Trouble in Little China just doesn't give the same performance like the ones that came before it. The placement of characters don't make sense and the execution is poor.

Points Earned --> 4:10

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