Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Big Trouble in Little China (1986) - John Carpenter

I was never a fan of this back when it first came out. Simply put it's one of those films that can't decide what it wants to be, is it a parody of martial arts flicks, a comedy, a horror or a gung ho 80s actioner? The truth is it's all of the above duking it out in a film that's madder than Ghostbusters and Weird Science. Over the years though it's grown on me like cancer cells on a 40 a dayers lungs. It's hard not to be drawn in by Kurt Russell who despite not being the greatest actor in the world, has a charisma and twinkle in his eye that kind of says 'it just a bit of fun, chill the fuck out'.

In fact it's Russell that has pulled me back time and time again to this film, as a nipper he was the reason I wanted a mullet. If I could have worn my faded denims tucked into knee length boots, believe me I would have. So while Rocky Rambo and Arnohlt were the bigger stars it was Kurt Russell or rather Snake Plissken that every kid of a certain age wanted to be. I have a nasty feeling I even wore an eye patch for a while.

Carpenter on the other hand was really on the slide by the time he filmed this. It began with turning out a couple of average (for him) films - Christine and Starman, and wouldn't really let up with a few exceptions (Prince of Darkness, In the Mouth of Madness), for the rest of his career. It's a shame, but at least with this film you get the feeling he was having fun. I think that might have been my biggest problem with it all those years ago. Russell's character Jack Burton is played for laughs and my teen brain couldn't handle that, I just wanted Plissken to go in there and do his thing. Over the years though I've really grown to love this film, mainly because I watch it as an out and out comedy, which is what it works best as.

The actual story is pure twaddle, some old guff about some Chinese curse that can only be lifted by marrying a girl with green eyes. Cue lots of daft set pieces and some of the greatest hammy voice over-acting since Donald Pleasence played Blofeld. It's all as daft as a lorry, but if you give in to it and go with it it's a riot. Great sets too, the rubber faced monster that can't move it's mouth and the flying eye head thing are pretty ropey though. It all just about hangs together. For years this was the worst of the Carpenter/Russell collaborations, but then that all changed in '96 though with Escape From L.A. But that's another story.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...