Lucas Mass’s review published on Letterboxd:
Happy 30th 'Big Trouble in Little China'!
John Carpenter has always been a director I bring up whenever someone asks me who my favorite directors are. 'The Thing' and 'Halloween' are two of the best horror movies ever made and 'Escape From New York' is one of the most fun schlock movies of the 80's. However whenever anybody asks me what my favorite Carpenter movie is though - the answer is never what they expect.
Before I saw this movie I had been hearing so much about it for years and years so I always found it weird that it took me so long to actually sit down and watch it. One day when I scrolled through Netflix looking for something that I had not seen before - there it was. 'Big Trouble In Little China'. I did not hesitate for a second before I pressed the button and finally saw what would end up becoming one of my all-time favorites. I'm serious.
This movie is now known for being a B-Movie cult classic and oh boy is that an accurate description. The cheesy tongue in cheek story line seems like something crafted directly from the minds of people who did nothing but watch B-Movies in their youth and then decided to throw in all their favorite elements into their own film. Now of course I do not know if that is actually what happened but one thing is definitely for certain - the writers must have consumed so much tequila during the film's inception.
Action, suspense, comedy, cheese are all prominent aspects and they are all pushed to the furthest of limits that if the filmmakers had just pushed one of them a small step further - it would have been too much, it walks a perfect line between them. John Carpenter's skills as a director, producer and even a composer shines through here in what could possibly be his finest work (of course in my humble opinion). The relatively small budget of about $25 million is all visible up on the screen and then some. There are not that many directors who can make a movie look so much more expensive than it actually is as well as John Carpenter does (a great example of someone who can though is Edgar Wright). All the set designs look fantastic and the practical & makeup effects are gold for the type of movie this is supposed to be.
Kurt Russell is evidently playing his favorite kind of role here: A bold ignoramus person who fears absolutely nothing and it is so obvious he is having an absolute blast with everybody he is working with. Dennis Dunn plays his partner (although as you know if you've seenn the film, really it's the other way around) and Kim Cattrall plays his love interest and while she could very easily have come across as a typical damsel in distress, she does a very good job of not just succumbing to that stereotype and actually rising about the material. This is a great example of a movie were the actors are clearly having so much fun that it leaps out of the screen and makes the audience share some of it and enjoy the experience that much more.
'Big Trouble in Little China' is one of the most enjoyable experiences I may have ever had and it fits right in with some of John Carpenters best. As previously mentioned - it's my favorite of his and it is one I will continue to watch over and over again.