Big Trouble In Little China: Kurt Russell Takes On Asian Stereotypes

2.5/5      

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Kurt Russell fights Chinese demons and some of the worst special effects of his career.

I know this film is a beloved classic to some, and I wanted to like it to, but I just didn’t really gel with it.

The satire becomes so try hardy and desperate as the film progresses that it almost feels like it is reaching out and tapping the audiences saying, ‘remember this trope from action movies, we are twisting it aren’t we clever’, constantly looking for validation. I didn’t find it particularly funny either.

The special effects are dicey at best, why Carpenter thought using so many of them especially when they look so bad was a good idea is beyond me. Moreover, a lot of the depictions of magical Chinese or Asian people in this film feels like it was out of date at the time, which is what I suppose the film is mocking, but still it feels troubling to watch.

In addition, I didn’t find Kurt Russell particularly likeable here, I understand what the filmmakers were going for with his character but more often than not he just comes across as kind of an arse and it makes him hard to root for. James Hong on the other hand is great here, he is clearly having a lot of fun and when the film lets him go fully wild he embraces it to the Nth degree.

Overall, a flawed Carpenter film that doesn’t live up to his other greats.

Pros.

Hong

It is unintentionally funny quite a lot

It is watchable

Cons.

Russell

The racial undertones

The special effects   

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