FantasticFest is the largest genre film festival in the U.S., specializing in horror, fantasy, sci-fi, and action movies from all around the world. Here's a list of some of our favorite movies at FantasticFest.
When trucker Jack Burton agreed to take his friend Wang Chi to pick up his fiancee at the airport, he never expected to get involved in a supernatural battle between good and evil. Wang's fiancee has emerald green eyes, which make her a perfect target for an immortal sorcerer named Lo Pan and his three invincible cronies. Lo Pan must marry a girl with green eyes so he can regain his physical form. Now, Jack must save Wang's fiancee from Lo Pan and his henchmen, and win back his stolen truck. But how can he defeat an enemy who has no body? Written by
The rivalry between the Chang Sing and Wing Kong Tongs is analogous to the famous rivalry between the Hip Sing and On Leong Tongs (even the names rhyme) in early 20th century New York. See more »
During the first stage of the fight between the Chang Sings and Wing Kongs in the alley, one of the fighters is hit to the ground and you can see the asphalt flex revealing the crash pad underneath. See more »
Despite his recent slide into mediocrity, John Carpenter is responsible for what could be termed some of the biggest cult movies of the 1980's. Following his resounding success with Halloween he went on to direct a number of quirky yet excellent movies that began to tail of toward the end of the 80's with the release of such dross as Prince of Darkness. Carpenters movies are probably some of the most under appreciated pictures of recent cinema history on a commercial level, and none more so than perhaps one of his finest, the delightfully absurd action movie Big Trouble in Little China.
The plot is as daft as they come. Loud mouthed truck driver Jack Burton (played by Carpenter's long time collaborator Kurt Russell) arrives in San Francisco's Chinatown where he agrees to help out old friend Wang (played by Denis Dun) by driving him to the airport to pick up his green eyed fiancé. Things quickly go south however when a band of street punks kidnap the girl and the motley duo set off in pursuit. The pair soon find themselves caught in the middle of gang war that takes on a decidedly mythical bent and are forced to flee while Jack's truck is stolen. All this occurs within the first fifteen to twenty minutes.
If there's one thing you can say about Big Trouble, it's that it's action packed. The plot (such as it is) moves at an incredible pace and the film rarely slows to take breath as it rolls from one action set piece to the next. In such movies, normally the dialogue, and subsequently the acting suffer from a lack of any real attention. Not so here. Carpenter balances everything so perfectly that it's a wonder his career took such a slide. Although the actual story may be incredibly absurd and at times suffers from some rather obvious gaps of logic, the dialogue never fails to sparkle. Russell gives his very best wise ass shtick as Burton, the confused have a go hero who's so out of his depth he should really be fish bait, while Dun excels with a character who is consistently more heroic and capable than the lead. Another wonderful turn comes from an appearance by a young Kim Cattrall (of Sex and the City fame) as Gracie Law, a downmarket lawyer with an ability to talk at incredible speed. Some of the scenes between these three are pure comic genius, as Dun and Cattrall rattle out plot information at a rapid staccato pace while an increasingly bewildered Russell tries desperately to keep up.
Despite such positive remarks, Big Trouble was perhaps one of Carpenter's biggest commercial flops. While many of the movie's fans find this difficult to understand I do not. The reason for its failure is really incredibly simple. In terms of its style and the underlying comedy behind the piece, Carpenter's loving part tribute, part send up of all things Kung Fu was way ahead of the curve in every important respect. Take the relationship between our 'hero' Jack and his 'sidekick' Wang. The true dynamic of this relationship is a wonderfully post modern slant on the cliché buddy dynamic that existed in the 80's and it was done long before post modernist humour became truly fashionable in films (the most obvious example of post modern piece of cinema being Scream). Despite receiving star billing, Russell's Jack is actually a sidekick to Wang. While Wang has the knowledge, the skill and the courage to make him a true classic hero figure, Jack lags behind, being brash, ignorant and of little actual use in a fight. Similarly the action, although remarkably quaint by today's standards in both its look and execution, is a surprisingly accurate foreshadow of the current Hollywood move toward the more graceful, balletic chaos exhibited by movies like The Matrix and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
Ultimately Big Trouble in Little China is a movie that survived thanks to the home video market and for that we can only be grateful. While its looks may have aged, its sense of humour and style is as fresh today as the day it first rolled out in cinemas. In short, it's pure escapist magic.
172 of 188 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?