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Big Trouble in Little China

Some people pick the darnedest places to start a fight!  

Year: 1986 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 2.20:1 (70mm) 
Certificate: BBFC 15 Cert – Not suitable for under 15s 
Subtitles: The level of subtitling in this film is unknown to WSC 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  

One of my most abiding memories of childhood film watching is witnessing hoards of bad-ass, scary looking Chinese fellows marching down a San Francisco street brandishing meat-cleavers, nunchuckas, switchblades and the like in readiness for an epic battle with a lot of similarly Chinese, similarly well-armed chaps. As my excitement grew – this was going to be one hell of a bloody dust up! – my mother cruelly sent me to bed. I suspect it is this parental oppression that has led both to my love of horror movies, but more importantly my absolute adoration of John Carpenter’s epic, enthralling masterpiece, Big Trouble In Little China.


Kurt Russell, one of the most under-rated of star entertainers working in Hollywood today, plays Jack Burton, the egotistical hard-driving trucker who takes on the responsibility of looking after his best friend’s girl, a girl who just happens to be top of an ancient sorcerer’s kidnapping list thanks to her lovely green eyes. But fret not, for Jack Burton was born ready, and so takes on the quest to kick ass, chew bubblegum, and generally shake the pillars of heaven. His nemesis, the nefarious Lo Pan, comes over all Scanners with his light-emitting eyes and his feral yells, but surely his Chinese mysticism is no match for the All-American heroics of the Pork Chop Express?


Everything about BTILC screams “camp classic”, from the gung-ho posturing of Russell, through to the over-the-top fight scenes, via Carpenter’s compulsive desire to force the viewer to have as much fun as possible, whether it be though special effects assault (check out that floating eyeball boglin) or the kind of banter that would teach Tarantino a thing or two. BTILC is one of those films from the past that is arguably even more fun in the present – full of heart, soul and wisdom, and knives – lots of knives. And, as an added bonus, this is the pristine, beautiful 70mm print of the film meaning it looks and sounds better than ever.    


As a cult classic, this film stands proud, and represents one of John Carpenter’s most impressive achievements. For quite the most fun you can hope to have, whether you’re reliving the magic or watching for the first time, Big Trouble In Little China is an absolute must…

Greg Taylor

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Screenings of this film:

2003/2004 Spring Term (70mm)