Directed by John Carpenter
Adaptation by W. D. Richter
Release Date: July 2, 1986
Running Time: 1hr 39min
Plot: Tough talking, meat headed trucker, Jack Burton (Russell) gets in way over his head when a simple trip to pick up the fiancé of his best friend, Wang Chi (Dun) becomes a fight to save the world from ancient sorcerer Lo Pan (Hong). They must traverse the underground of San Francisco, Chinatown to stop Lo Pan from marrying Wang’s fiancé, Miao Yin (Suzee Pai), to make himself fully corporeal and regain his full power. The two are aided by strong willed lawyer, Gracie Law (Cattrall), and local tour bus driver/wizard, Egg Shen (Wong). Together this ragtag group will shake the pillars of Heaven!
Personal history/how I came to see this film: This one of those movies I remember seeing certain clips on TV as a kid, but I finally got around to seeing it thanks to my older brother owning a copy on DVD. Since then, I’ve gotten my own DVD copy (later upgraded to Blu-ray) and I’ve had the opportunity of seeing it in theaters a couple times.
Reception: The film was, unfortunately, a box office failure, earning only $11.1 million against an estimated budget of $19 to $25 million. It was met with mixed reviews from critics, but became a cult classic thanks to home video and TV airings. It’s often ranked among John Carpenter’s best. It’s also spawned merchandise, comic book spinoffs, there’s rumors of a sequel in the works.
Personal Opinion: I’m guessing obvious at this point that I adore this movie! No horseshit, this movie is awesome! It’s silly as all hell, but that’s exactly the point, tongue is firmly in cheek with this story. Kurt Russell is at his macho cheesy best as Jack Burton, doing his best John Wayne voice. The rest of the cast is fun too, with Dennis Dun’s Wang Chi looking to at first be the sidekick but being way more competent at fighting, plus having a more personal stake in the story.
Should you see it? I’ll admit, that really depends on your taste in movies. If you like over the top kung fu, Kurt Russell and the 1980’s then I say you definitely give this one a look.