Side Order of Ninjas

   Index  -  Reviews  -  Rants  -  Links
Latest Reviews

Top 5 Reviews

Big Trouble in Little China (1986)


Kurt "Snake Plissken" Russel is Jack Burton
Kim "Crow T. Robot's main squeeze" Cattrall is Gracie Law
Dennis Dun is Wang Chi
James Hong is David Lo Pan
Victor "Storeowner from Tremors" Wong is Egg Shen

What the box says:

Directed by the thrill master John Carpenter, this edge-of-your seat adventure stars Kurt Russell as Jack Burton, a tough-talking, wisecracking truck driver whoe hum-drum life on the road takes a sudden supernatural tailspin when his best friend's fiancee is kidnapped. Speeding to the rescue, Jack finds himself deep beneath San Francisco's Chinatown, in a murky, creature-filled world ruled by Lo Pan, a 2000-year-old magician who mercilessly presides over an empire of spirits. Dodging demons and facing baffling terrors, Jack battles his way through Lo Pan's dark domain in a full-throttle, action-packed ride to rescue the girl. Co-starring Kim Cattrall, this effects-filled sci-fi spectacle speeds to an incredible, twist-taking finish.


Egg Shen, a tour bus driver, is being questioned about Jack Burton by Deep Throat the attorney who is considering taking his case.

In the Pork Chop Express, Jack Burton extols his philosophy over the CB. He heads into San Francisco’s Chinatown. After some gambling, his friend Wang ends up owing him a couple thousand dollars.

They head to the airport. Wang is going to pick up his fiancée, Miao Yin. Jack Burton puts the moves on Kim Catrall, the squeeze of Crow T. Robot. The Lords of Death street gang arrives.

Wearing my glasses, I'm tough as Jet Li
Wearing my glasses, I'm tough as Jet Li
As Wang heads to greet Miao, the gang goes after another Chinese girl. However, the ever cocky, swaggering Jack Burton comes to her aid.

In the commotion, the gang takes off with Miao Yin. Wang and Jack Burton lose them and decide to go to the gang’s hideout.

Egg Shen is doing his touring spiel and almost gets run over by Jack’s truck. Jack and Wang head down an alley.

They see the Chang Sings have a funeral procession for their leader when the evil gang interrupts it. Let the gunfight ensue. The gunfight and Kung fu throw-down is imminent when the 3 Giant Hatted Guys materialize. These guys are bulletproof and can throw Force lightning at both gangs.

The Emperor can't compete with my mad lightning thrown skillz.
The Emperor can't compete with my mad lightning thrown skillz.

Jack Burton decides the discretion is the better part of valor by driving away. However, he runs over Lo Pan who shoots light of his mouth to blind Jack. Wang gets his buddy away almost into the arms of the Lords of Death before hiding.

Later, at Wang’s restaurant, Jack tries to call his insurance company about his missing truck. He learns that the Lords of death stole his truck. They also took Miao Yin instead of their real target. Kim Catrall shows up.

Apparently, she has learned the Lords of Death are going to sell Miao Yin to the White Tigers. Wang is going to need Jack Burton’s help.

The plan is for Jack Burton to be dressed up like a nerdy accountant and be a distraction in the house of ill repute. Suddenly, an earthquake rocks the area and the 3 Storms, hated guys fly in. Jack Burton can’t deliver his patent pending beat-down on any of them. Lightning takes Miao Yin away.

Back at Kim Catrall’s, Jack is pretty perturbed because everyone else knows a lot more about what is going on. Kim has Tara, the girl from the airport. Jack wants the truth. Apparently, no one of the others decide he can handle the truth. Wang is going to rescue Miao, and Jack will go with him.

Wang and Jack manage to sneak their way past the security guards in Lo Pan’s headquarters. They take an elevator into the sub-basement.

Meanwhile, Egg Shen, Eddie, and Kim Catrall must prepare. Magic is discussed and that Lo Pan is a monster is mentioned.

Wang and Jack escape the elevator and are caught by the 3 Storms. Let the torture ensue. They are tied to wheelchairs when the ancient Lo Pan wheels in. He wants Jack to get Wang to talk. Lo Pan needs a green eyed girl to regain his youth.

Margo, Eddie, and Kim Catrall try to get past the security guards. They are gassed and taken away by Lo Pan’s men.

Jack is able to free Wang and himself. Wang explains the ancient Lo Pan is the same man as the one Jack ran over and about Chinese magic. A goon brings Eddie in. They get the drop on the guy until he starts hulking up or bloating like a puffer fish. Our heroes head to free the girls. .

Lo Pan morphs into his powerful Chinese wizard form.

Rawrrrrrrrrrr, didn't mean to scare you that bad...
Rawrrrrrrrrrr, didn't mean to scare you that bad...

Let the Kung Fuin’ ensue. Jack, Eddie, and Wang go to rescue the girls and more Kung Fuin’ ensues. They free all the women. Leading them through a tunnel, they all have to swim to safety. After getting almost to safety, Kim Catrall is grabbed. Egg Shen is able to drive everyone to safety.

A monster carries Kim Catrall back to the lair. Ancient Lo Pan sees her green eyes and is very pleased.

Egg brings the Ching Sins in for help. Jack heads off with them.

Kim Catrall is taken to a floating Miao Yin. Wizard Lo Pan pays a visit. He must marry a girl with green eyes: Miao or her.

The posse stops by Egg’s place and takes one of the secret tunnels under Chinatown.

Lo Pan has his goons performing katas before testing his potential brides. The girls are tested by grabbing a katata and flying to the ceiling of the room and grabbing a dagger that glows. Lo Pan is pleased when both pass. He’ll marry both of them.

In the tunnel, a giant bug eats one of the Ching Sins.

Back in their room, Kim Catrall can’t awaken Miao.

Egg Shen explains how Lo Pan must marry a green eyed girl to break his curse and kill her.

Lo Pan readies for the wedding as the girls are brought to him. He decides to kill Kim Catrall and marry Miao Yin.

The Posse is spotted by a flying head.

This year's fashionable floating head will require a massive eyeball motif..
This year's fashionable floating head will require a massive eyeball motif..
They keep going. Egg prepares a magic potion for them to drink. They reach the temple as the ceremony begins. Egg has them wait until Lo Pan is flesh.

Lo Pan starts turning back to flesh when the flying head spots the posse again.

Let the Kung Fuin’ ensues. Battle on with wire fu, sword fu and gymnastics.

Lo Pan still is performing the ceremony with Miao.

Egg Shen versus Lo Pan seeing who has the bigger Schwartz.

Lo Pan escapes with Miao. Jack and Kim Catrall chase after him. By the way, Kim Catrall can no longer resist the inherent damnmanliness of Jack Burton anymore.

Wang contends with Thunder.

Jack tries offing Lo Pan with his knife to no avail. Lo Pan tosses the knife back at Jack who catches it. This time tossing it directing into Lo Pan’s forehead is effective. The building begins shaking.

The head goon sees Lo Pan’s corpse and starts hulking up again.

One of the Garbage Pail Kids ideas that was scrapped.
One of the Garbage Pail Kids ideas that was scrapped.
Jack, Wang, Kim, and Miao get out of the area before the goon explodes.

Lightning is chasing them. They get Kim and Miao to safety. Egg Shen helps them get to the next story and drops a statue on Lightning’s head.

Our heroes find Jack’s truck and haul out of Dodge before the police and fire trucks respond to the destruction of the building.

Wang’s restaurant, Egg is going to take a long vacation. Jack is going to leave Kim Catrall…

Jack Burton is riding the Pork Chop Express on a dark and stormy night. He is on the CB extolling his philosophy. The monster is on the tail end of his truck.

What I say:

We have Big Trouble and a Little China. Big Trouble would be seem bigger if put in a smaller place such as a Little China. However, what could the Big Trouble be? A 1,000 yearold Chinese wizard wanting to break his curse and of course rule the world. Well, he does have a problem. Jack Burton, a man who oozes almost as much damnmanliness as Ash from Evil Dead 2, the mercenary "what's in it for me?" attitude of Han Solo, the inherent secular baddazzness of Father McGruder from Dead Alive, and with the cocky swagger of John Wayne. That my friend makes a man's man unlike William Regal. If only somehow, Chuck Norris could have been fused, the greatest hero this side.

John Carpenter has had quite a wide variety of movies from his slasher masterpiece Halloween to the Thing to greatest movie with a fight about wearing sunglasses, They Live to his Western in a urban background Assault on Precinct 13. Let us not think about Memoirs of an Invisible Man or John Carpenter's Ghosts of Mars. .

Pretty much everything Kurt Russell says could be quotable dialogue with his verbal swaggering reminiscient of John Wayne. I'm not sure if Kurt Russell is the personification of every 80s action hero or a parody of them. Well not quite. He isn't the lone cop who plays by his own rules after his partner dies just before retiring. Jack Burton is more like Indiana Jones without the education. He's got the necessary one liners.

Big Trouble in Little China pretty much bombed in the theater. In the mid 80s, it was the the only big budget movie that had such a focus on martial arts besides the Last Dragon. At the time it was released, it was considered pretty bad. It has gained a cult following after the way it was shown on cable channels so much over the past decade or so. Now, I've heard quite a bit about how it was considered some sort of precursor to the wire fu movies that came along later.

3 1/2 NINJAS

Quotable Dialogue

"Son of a Bitch must pay..."
"She can't get enough of me."
"His flesh and bones are atomized."
"I must be monumentally naive."
"I was born ready."
"I just feel...I feel kind of invincible..."

Morals of the Story

Knives can cut bottles in half.
All Semi truck need the Mudflap girl logo on the front grill.
Most funerals break into massive martial arts brawls.
Battle axes are routinely carried about on the streets.
Running over sorcerors make them slightly peturbed.
Backward wheelchair rides are exhilirating.
Green-eyed girls sleep floating in mid-air.
Katanas can cause levitation.
Chinese myths require lots of neon lights.
Escelators are commonplace in Chinese temples.
Kurt Russell can almost make lipstick look manly...Almost...
Knives easy to catch when thrown.

 -  Index  -  Reviews  -  Rants  -  Links