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Big Trouble in Little China (1986)

PG-13 | | Action, Adventure, Comedy | 2 July 1986 (USA)
Trailer
2:47 | Trailer
A rough-and-tumble trucker helps rescue his friend's fiancée from an ancient sorcerer in a supernatural battle beneath Chinatown.

Director:

John Carpenter
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Popularity
1,774 ( 316)
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Kurt Russell ... Jack Burton
Kim Cattrall ... Gracie Law
Dennis Dun ... Wang Chi
James Hong ... David Lo Pan
Victor Wong ... Egg Shen
Kate Burton ... Margo
Donald Li ... Eddie Lee
Carter Wong ... Thunder
Peter Kwong ... Rain
James Pax ... Lightning
Suzee Pai ... Miao Yin
Chao Li Chi ... Uncle Chu
Jeff Imada ... Needles
Rummel Mor ... Joe Lucky
Craig Ng ... One Ear
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Storyline

Truck driver Jack Burton arrives in Chinatown, San Francisco, and goes to the airport with his Chinese friend Wang Chi to welcome his green-eyed fiancée Miao Yin who is arriving from China. However she is kidnapped on the arrival by a Chinese street gang and Jack and Wang chase the group. Soon they learn that the powerful evil sorcerer called David Lo Pan, who has been cursed more than two thousand years ago to exist without physical body, needs to marry a woman with green eyes to retrieve his physical body and Miao is the chosen one. Jack and Wang team-up with the lawyer Gracie Law, the bus driver and sorcerer apprentice Egg Shen and their friends and embark in a great adventure in the underground of Chinatown, where they face a world of magicians and magic, monsters and martial arts fighters. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Adventure doesn't come any bigger! See more »


Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The first version of the screenplay was written by first-time screenwriters Gary Goldman and David Z. Weinstein. Goldman had been inspired by a new wave of martial arts films that had "all sorts of weird actions and special effects, shot against this background of Oriental mysticism and modern sensibilities". They had written a western, originally set in the 1880s, with Jack Burton as a cowboy who rides into town. Goldman and Weinstein envisioned combining Chinese fantasy elements with the western. They submitted the script to TAFT Entertainment Pictures executive producers Paul Monash and Keith Barish during the summer of 1982. Monash bought their script, and had them do at least one re-write, but still did not like the results. He remembers, "The problems came largely from the fact it was set in turn-of-the-century San Francisco, which affected everything-style, dialogue, action". Goldman rejected a request by 20th Century Fox for a re-write that asked for major alterations. He was angered when the studio wanted to update it to a contemporary setting. The studio then removed the writers from the project. However, they still wanted credit for their contributions. The studio brought in screenwriter W.D. Richter to extensively re-write the script, as he felt that the Wild West and fantasy elements didn't work together. The screenwriter modernized everything. Almost everything in the original script was discarded, except for Lo Pan's story. Richter realized that "what it needed wasn't a re-write, but a complete overhaul. It was a dreadful screenplay. This happens often when scripts are bought, and there's no intention that the original writers will stay on". He wrote his own draft in ten weeks. Goldman contacted Richter and suggested that he should not work on the project. Richter told him, "I'm sorry the studio doesn't want to go forward with you guys, but my turning it down, is not going to get you the job. They'll just hire someone else". Fox wanted to deny Goldman and Weinstein writing credit, and eliminated their names from press releases They wanted only Richter to have credit. In March 1986, the Writers Guild of America, west determined that "written by" credit would go to Goldman and Weinstein, based on the WGA screenwriting credit system which protects original writers. However, Richter did get an "adaptation by" credit for his work on the script. John Carpenter was disappointed that Richter did not get a proper screenwriting credit because of the ruling. Carpenter made his own additions to Richter's rewrites, which included strengthening the Gracie Law role and linking her to Chinatown, removing a few action sequences due to budgetary restrictions and eliminating material deemed offensive to Chinese Americans. See more »

Goofs

When Thunder is chasing after Jack and Wang the color of his undershirt changes. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Pinstripe lawyer: What I'd like to do today is get your version of what happened.
Egg Shen: Oh, you mean the truth.
Pinstripe lawyer: Of course. First, just state your name and your occupation for the record.
Egg Shen: Oh, Egg Shen. Bus driver.
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Alternate Versions

The UK cinema version was passed as PG, with a cut made to Kurt Russell's line of 'Fuck It!". The 15-rated video version restored the profanity, but was cut by 9 secs with edits made to the fight between the clans. The 2002 DVD release features the uncut version with all cuts waived by the BBFC. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Robot Chicken: Toy Meets Girl (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

Big Trouble in Little China
Written by John Carpenter
Performed by The Coupe de Villes
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User Reviews

 
Intentionally campy
7 March 2006 | by tomimtSee all my reviews

Adjust your brains before watching Big Trouble In Little China; see it's one of those films, that, even tough nicely directed, are openly very silly in every aspect. Now after you've adjusted your brains in the correct receiving mode you might even enjoy this testosterone adventure of a trucker, who is trying to save his truck among other things.

Jack Burton (Kurt Russel) is a truck driver, whose truck get stolen by group of eeevil thugs, who serve LoPan (James Hong), who also kidnaps the wife (Suzee Pai) to be of Jack's friend Wang Chi (Dennis Dun). The purpose would be to get the truck and the girl back. Oh, and to but more twist in it a lawyer Gracie (Kim Cattrall) gets kidnapped too.

There is something intentionally bad about the creatures used in the film. It all seems to be so intentionally planned as a B movie, that you can only give kudos to director John Carpaneter for making the film this way. He could have tried to turn this porridge into something serious, but luckily he didn't and the campy values of the film give it a nice layer of comedy.

Sure, it's not the greatest film ever conceived, but if you take it as it is, you won't be disappointed with it.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Cantonese

Release Date:

2 July 1986 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

John Carpenter's Big Trouble in Little China See more »

Filming Locations:

California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$25,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$2,723,211, 6 July 1986

Gross USA:

$11,100,000

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$11,100,577
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints)| Dolby Stereo (35 mm prints)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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