December 17th, 2012: Big Trouble in Little China (1986)


Cast and Crew:   Alan Howarth (Score); Dean Cundey (Cinematographer); Victor Wong, Donald Li, Carter Wong, Gerald Okamura, Al “Kabong” Leong

What It’s About: Trucker loud mouth Jack Burton (Kurt Russell) wins a lot of money from his old friend Wang (Dennis Dun) in a late night card game.  Wang gets Burton to agree to wait until after he picks up his fiancé Miao Yin (Suzee Pai), who he’s finally earned enough money to bring to San Francisco from China.  At the airport Burton’s flirtation with Chinatown trouble maker Gracie Law (Kim Cattrall) puts him in the middle of an abduction of another immigrant by a Chinese street gang, The Lords of Death.  When the Lords of Death take Miao Yin in the place of the woman Gracie is protecting, Burton agrees to help Wang go after them to get Miao Yin back, but everything is not what it seems and soon the men are deeply involved in Big Trouble in Little China

Why Watch it Today?: The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, which established strict quotas on Chinese immigration, was abolished on this date in 1943.  Big Trouble in Little China is John Carpenter’s cult 1980s ode to Chinese Kung Fu movies, Japanese Chanbara, and the fast talking Screwball comedies of his  idol Howard Hawks, made with its tongue firmly in cheek (just ask yourself who is the comic relief sidekick:  Wang or Burton), endlessly quotable dialogue, and enough neon to kill the production staff of Miami Vice.

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