Film Reviews, Short Review

Big Trouble in Little China (1986)

3/4

Big Trouble in Little China is quite easily John Carpenter’s most absurd film, and certainly one of his most beautiful too, a fine demonstration of Carpenter’s love for the visual compositions of Howard Hawks. Having clearly watched one too many Shaw Brothers productions he set out to make a preposterous martial arts film, in which our white hero (Kurt Russell, doing his best impression of John Wayne) is amusingly incompetent and his Chinese friends do most of the saving for him. One could quite easily level plentiful accusations of Orientalism at this film, and they’d probably be right, yet the overall mood is so goofy, entertaining, cheesy, and fun that it’s hard to complain. It might be one of Carpenter’s shallower films from his prime—and let’s not forget that he is one of the most deceptively clever directors out there—but the beautiful cinematography and sheer insanity more than make up for it.

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