Big Trouble in Little China (1986) Poster


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Kurt Russell confessed on the DVD commentary that he was afraid of starring in the movie because he had made a string of movies that flopped at the box office. When he asked John Carpenter about it, he told Kurt that it didn't matter to him - he just wanted to make the movie with him.
The Chinese characters in the main title translate to "Evil Spirits Make a Big Scene in Little Spiritual State".
This was the last studio film that John Carpenter worked on at the end of the 1980's due to various problems he experienced during the production of the film with then studio head Lawrence Gordon, who constantly interfered with the film up until its release date. Carpenter's two follow-ups Prince of Darkness (1987) and They Live (1988) were made independently via Alive Films without any studio interference, and distributed by Universal Pictures.
According to John Carpenter in the DVD Commentary, Carter Wong, who plays Thunder, actually worked as a martial arts instructor with the Hong Kong Police.
Kurt Russell suffered a bad case of the flu during shooting so the sweat on his body is real, caused by the fever.
The vehicle Egg Shen drove in the movie was a 1936 White touring car. That very car is now in Yellowstone National Park (the location it was originally built for), named 'Hollywood', and gives tours out of Old Faithful.
According to John Carpenter and Kurt Russell in the DVD Commentary, the story was originally written as a western but Carpenter decided to set it during modern times. They even mention that instead of Jack Burton's truck being stolen, it was originally his horse.
Both John Carpenter and Kurt Russell explain on the audio commentary that the test screening was so overwhelmingly positive that both of them expected it to be a big hit. However, 20th Century Fox put little into promoting the movie and it ended up being a box office bomb. However, it went on to be a huge cult hit through home video. Carpenter and Russell explained that the reason the studio did little to promote the film was because they simply didn't know how to promote it.
According to John Carpenter, the opening of the film with Egg Shen (Victor Wong) in the lawyer's office was added in at the request of 20th Century Fox executives, in order to make Kurt Russell's character Jack Burton more heroic. Without the added scene, the film would have started with Jack driving to San Francisco.
Jackie Chan was John Carpenter's first choice to play Wang Chi but producer Lawrence Gordon was highly against it fearing Chan's English wasn't good enough after seeing his performances in Battle Creek Brawl (1980) & The Protector (1985), but Carpenter wanted Chan after the success of Police Story (1985). Chan declined & Dennis Dun was cast instead.
The Brides of Lo Pan must have green eyes. Yet both Kim Cattrall and Suzee Pai had brown eyes in real life. Both wore green contacts for the movie. This is very obvious in the hi-def version of the movie.
In the scene where Kurt Russell is attempting to infiltrate the brothel, he is wearing the same outfit that he wore in Used Cars (1980).
In the wedding Scene where LoPan is putting the Needle of Love in Miao Yin, James Hong actually jabbed Suzee Pai too hard. You can see her flinch as he puts it in her.
Although Kurt Russell was John Carpenter's only choice for the lead role the studio suggested Jack Nicholson or Clint Eastwood. Once they proved unavailable, Carpenter was able to cast Russell.
The ending song is written and sung by "The Coupe De Villes", a band formed by John Carpenter, Nick Castle and Tommy Lee Wallace (second unit director on this picture).
The characters on the front of "Egg" Shen's bus say, "Uncle Egg's Tours Guarantee a Good Time".
This is the fourth of five movies John Carpenter and Kurt Russell have done together. Elvis (1979), Escape from New York (1981), The Thing (1982) and Escape from L.A. (1996) are the other ones
Right before the end credits when Jack Burton is driving his truck and talking on his CB Radio, he says, "You just listen to the old Pork-Chop Express here now and take his advice on a dark and stormy night when the lightning's crashing and the thunder's rollin' and the rain's coming down..." paying homage to the names of the 3 Storms, Lo Pan's bodyguards.
"Miao Yin" roughly translates to "cat-like".
The Three Storms were partly the inspiration for the popular character of thunder god Raiden from Mortal Kombat fighting video game series.
Zach Braff went as Jack Burton to Kate Hudson's 2014 Halloween party and ran into Kurt Russell at it. They posed for a photo together.
Body count: 46.
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.
The short knives wielded by the "Three Storms" warriors, that Thunder calls "Hui Huan Dou" (Soul-Returning Blades) are in fact Nepalese Kukri. These knives were made famous for their usage by the Gurkhas in the British Indian Army.
According to director John Carpenter, the post production process on this movie was merely four months.
Kurt Russell turned down the lead role of Connor MacLeod in 'Highlander" to appear in this film. Both movies were made and released by 20th Century Fox.
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The name of the murdered gang leader, Lem Lee, is probably a reference to Tom Lee, the leader of the On Leong Tong, a crime syndicate in New York's Chinatown in the early 20th Century that fronted itself as a merchant association.
Currently being developed for a remake starring Dwayne Johnson
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David Lo Pan was cursed by the first Emperor of China. James Pax, who plays Lightning - portrayed the First Emperor of China in the documentary of the same name in 2006.
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The Truck Driven by Jack (Kurt Russell) - the "Pork Chop Express" - is a Freightliner FLC 120
In the Italian dubbing of the movie the quote "Yeah, and a wise man has enough sense to get in out of the rain!" is dubbed as if it was Jack Burton's line, not Egg Shen's.
John Carpenter recorded the music for this film.
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The character Lightning's wardrobe, complete with straw hat, and his abilities in the movie heavily influenced the character Raiden in the popular video game series "Mortal Kombat".
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The Three Storms are a copy of the three Assassins in the Japanese Movie series "Lone Wolf and Cub" of 1972.
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Just before leaving to assault Lo Pan's domain. Egg offers Jack a .357 Magnum and tells him "It'll make you feel like Dirty Harry". Dirty Harry was played by Clint Eastwood who was considered for the role of Jack Burton
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The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

As Lightning (the character, one of the Three Storms) is crushed to death near the end of the film, some of the lightning he emits forms a small Chinese symbol as it disappears (near the top middle of the screen). The symbol translates as "carpenter". This film was directed by John Carpenter.
In the DVD Commentary, John Carpenter jokingly says that Kurt Russell's character Jack Burton is the hero of the movie, but other than killing Lo Pan and saving Wang when he shoots the guard, he is more of a sidekick throughout the movie.
Jackie Chan was considered for the role of Wang Chi but producer Lawrence Gordon was highly against it as Chan had lacked a box office draw in America at that time. But John Carpenter wanted Chan after seeing Police Story (1985), Chan declined to concentrate on his career in Hong Kong & decided that he'd return to hollywood when he felt he was ready to which wouldn't do until Rumble in the Bronx (1995).

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