During the decade of the ‘80s, Kurt Russell delivered. He was part of numerous classic movies that truly defined the decade. One of his most iconic movies, Big Trouble in Little China, is available to stream on YouTube but what makes this even more exciting is that you can stream it for free.
Over the years since its release, Big Trouble in Little China has become a Kurt Russell cult classic. Fans have latched on to the movie and its weirdness, Russell’s ability to play the knucklehead who always seems to be two steps behind but ultimately finds a way to win. And if you’re wondering, because we know you always are, Kurt Russell’s Big Trouble in Little China carries an impressive 7.55/10 on the Giant Freakin Robot Movie Scale. So, let us help you out. You can catch the entire movie from the link below. You’ll thank us.
Big Trouble in Little China was a 1986 John Carpenter film that turned out to be the fourth time Kurt Russell and Carpenter collaborated on a film. The movie told the story of blowhard Jack Burton (Russell) a truck driver who has just won a bet from his best friend, restaurant owner Wang Chi (Dennis Dun). Wanting to make sure that Chi follows through with his payment, Jack tags along with Chi to the airport where Chi is to pick up his fiancée Miao Yin. But the Lords of Death, a Chinese street gang, try to kidnap another Chinese girl at the airport, who is being met by her friend Gracie Law (Kim Cattrall of Police Academy fame) with the intent to sell her as a sex slave. When Jack stops the gang, they take Miao Yin instead.
Jack and Wang track the gang back to the back alleys in San Francisco’s Chinatown. There they come across a funeral procession that immediately turns into a gang fight between two ancient Chinese warrior factions, Wing Kong and Chang Sing. Things get even crazier when “The Three Storms” – mighty warriors Thunder, Rain, and Lightning – appear and slaughter the Chang Sing. Trying to escape in his truck, Kurt Russell’s Jack accidentally runs over David Lo Pan (James Hong), who had been controlling The Three Storms. When Jack gets out of his truck to check on Lo Pan, he finds Lo Pan unhurt and glowing with magic.
As the story continues to unfold and continuing to get even weirder, Jack finds out from Wang that Lo Pan is actually an ancient sorcerer who lost a battle centuries ago against Emperor Qin Shi Huang. From this defeat, the Emperor cursed Lo Pan with incorporeality, where he has no solid body. Even though he can sometimes take over a decrepit body, he must find a green-eyed woman to marry in order to appease the God of the East, Ching Dai, and then sacrifice her to the Emperor. Miao Yin has green eyes. But so does Gracie, which Lo Pan notices. So Lo Pan decides to sacrifice Gracie while making Maio Yin his wife. Thankfully for both women, Jack and Wang have other ideas as they enlist help from one of Lo Pan’s former enemies, sorcerer Egg Shen (Victor Wong).
The movie, if you haven’t seen it, is as crazy as it sounds. It’s a wonderfully cheesy blend of kung fu action, ancient Chinese mysticism, and Kurt Russell. His flair for comedy (1980s Used Cars) and his ability to be an action star (1981s Escape From New York) were married in this movie as Russell got to show off both. And it is a good thing that Jack Nicholson and Clint Eastwood were busy at the time seeing as they were John Carpenter’s first choices to play Jack Burton. It was the studio, 20th Century Fox, that really wanted Russell as he was in some fairly big movies.
John Carpenter and Kurt Russell already had quite a history before the director settled on Russell as Burton. They first paired up in the 1979 TV movie Elvis. Then Carpenter gave Russell his first iconic character, Snake Plissken in Escape From New York. They worked together again the following year in Carpenter’s gory remake of The Thing before Big Trouble rolled around.
When the movie was conceived by its original screenwriters, Gary Goldman and David Z. Weinstein, it had elements of the final version, but the story was a western set in the 1880s. Kurt Russell’s Jack Burton was a cowboy who rides into town on his horse to save the day. The studio liked the idea but insisted on many changes, changes that the screenwriters refused. So, they were removed from the writing process and another writer was brought in. W.D. Richter came in and pretty much tore the script apart and started from scratch. Richter left some elements from the original script but brought the story to the current day.
There was a rush to get the Kurt Russell film shot as it was competing against another great ‘80s classic, Eddie Murphy’s The Golden Child. As both movies dealt with Oriental mysticism, Fox wanted their movie out first. Unfortunately, it was a bad move on their part. The effects ended up being cheesy and although Carpenter carried a lot of weight throughout Hollywood and was a well-known director, his fourth pairing with Russell sunk massively at the box office. It pulled in a meager $2.7 million its opening weekend and ended up with a worldwide take of $11.7 million on an estimated $19-25 million budget. It was a huge box office failure. It could have been timing since there was a lot of buzz surrounding James Cameron’s Aliens, which hit theaters sixteen days later. Whatever the case, it tanked.