Its foundation for its plot/character starts very strong, then the plot gets clumsier in its telling as it moves along. The dialogue is witty and snappy, and the actor's have great charisma, but its throwing-of-every-idea-it-can-into-the-fray creates over-stimulation and choppiness. It moving at a 100 mph makes it cram too much into its scant runtime, never giving time for its obstacles and conflicts to truly settle.
This is the main film in Carpenter's oeuvre where you can clearly see the degree of influence that Howard Hawks had on him. Not to mention Kurt Russell is basically a caricature of John Wayne, which is awesome.
"'China's here'? I don't know what that means," Kurt Russell says. Maybe it means that Eastern and Western action movies are starting to merge—the next 30 years hardly proved that wrong. This is Carpenter at his goofiest, well worth it for the bonkers narrative style and the way it captures the innocence of comic books: an insane premise, silly asides, and the sense that it only ended because you hit the last page.
It's the kind of film you watch with your friends on a Tuesday night for shits and giggles. There's not much substance in the plot, but the ridiculous action scenes keeps you indulged. It has one of the most absurd deaths in film history, which is worth watching.
Wasn't sure what to expect coming into it, still not sure what to make of it after watching it. It's certainly fun and Jack Burton is a great character...and it feels like Russell is having a lot of fun playing him.
This is why I love to rewatch Carpenter: "Big Trouble" was a favorite of mine when I was a kid. Then I grew up and somehow I put it along Carpenter's medium-quality movies. And now, having realised throughout film school what cinema really is, I understand how Carpenter is the ultimate auteur: every frame of his movies breathe his signature, even this one, where he makes fun of his own moral codes. Masterpiece.
Glorious and riotous, a loving lark but one with visual and stylistic heft. Carpenter's tone isn't exactly "light," so it's nice to see his formal skill put to such great comedic uses here, creating Fog-like atmosphere and using Thing-like makeup effects in bizarre touches. This postmodern stew of styles and references don't exactly seem culturally sensitive today, but it's pitched so far from reality to not offend.