Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Ask me a Question: Big Trouble In Little China

The Arclight has been hosting a plethora of throwback repertory programming of late with focus on 80's classics, 90's action movies and The Modern School of Film which sees actors, writers, musicians and the like selecting a favorite film and discussing after.  Last night it was Big Trouble In Little China with the creators of Robot Chicken.  The John Carpenter and Kurt Russell classic finds Russell as Jack Burton, a blowhard truck driver with an inflated sense of self who teams up with buddy Wang Chi (Dennis Dun), a truck driver/restaurant owner in San Francisco Chinatown when thugs kidnap his fiance with green eyes to be the sacrificial lamb of thousands year old sorcerer of no flesh Lo Pan (James Hong).  Basically, if you've ever heard of Big Trouble you fall into one of three camps:  You love it, you don't get it or you've never seen it.  Me?  I fucking love this movie.  From the opening sequence with Tremors and 3 Ninjas' Victor Wong showing off his magic powers to the awesome synth score by Carpenter and Alan Howarth to Russell's mulleted John Wayne style hero who is actually a sidekick to the three henchman known as Storms that rock huge straw hats, twirl swords and ride lightening to the quick bantering between characters courtesy of Gary Goldman, David Z. Weinstein and W.D. Richter...it's all wonderfully zany, funny, quotable and plain classic.

This is my third time seeing it on the big screen and it looked great.  The comedy, pace, Kung-Fu fight scenes and what the heck weirdness made this a fast 100 minutes of action, laughs and characterization that doesn't stop to explain.  It's a ride that you're either on or off.  The audience was full of fans wearing related tee shirts, tanks and jackets who clapped and cheered at all the appropriate moments.  Post credits, a panel of writers and directors from Stoopid Buddy Stoodios, who created Robot Chicken, participated in one of the weirdest post movie Q&A's I've ever seen.  The founder of Modern School of Film introduced the film and gave us a taste of his personality and style that to me, was way too serious and highfalutin for the movie and guests he'd assembled for the night.  It's an interesting concept, to invite filmmakers, artists, etc to speak about their favorite films but in execution it falls a bit flat because they had nothing to do with the preceding.  Reciting trivia and professing your love for a movie is all well and good but it just sounds better coming from someone who was there and part of it.  The panelists seemed like nice guys but the entire conversation seemed kind of pointless and mainly unrelated to the film.  Basically, I felt like all of the fun of Big Trouble In Little China was suddenly sucked out of the theater and audience.

Until next time, keep shaking the pillars of heaven.  No horseshit.

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