Welcome to Episode 002 of “80’s Film Flashback” Where tonight we will be discussing Big Trouble In Little China.
The Film: Big Trouble In Little China
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.
Release date: July 2, 1986
Director: John Carpenter
Box office: $11,100,000 (domestic)
Cast The Remake: Who would you cast in the remake?
- 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.
- 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. In addition, the film was released in the midst of the hype for Aliens (1986), which was released sixteen days afterwards. 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 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.
- Kurt Russell turned down the lead role of Connor MacLeod in Highlander (1986) to appear in this film. Both movies were made and released by 20th Century Fox.
- 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) and The Protector (1985), but Carpenter wanted Chan after the success of Police Story (1985). Chan declined and Dennis Dun was cast instead.
- 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.
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