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.
It comes as a mash-up that works better with individual parts rather than the entire whole. As a movie, it comes little too schizophrenic for bigger audience, which is probably the reason for its commercial failure. But, the pieces that were so outwardly crazy and daringly deranged, earned it a cult status - and a must-see example of big budget cinema meets exploitation film-making.
"'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.