|Big Trouble in Little China, 1987. Directed by John
Carpenter. Kurt Russell, James Hong, Kim Catrall.
Energetic effects circus in which director Carpenter makes an early attempt at grafting Hong Kong-style martial arts fantasy--think Zu: The Warriors of the Magic Mountain or The Heroic Trio--into an American idiom. Russell does a wicked parody of John Wayne as a truck driver who stumbles into a war between Chinatown residents and an arch-wizard and his demonic minions. It has way too much going on at the same time and it devolves into a shaggy dog story in the end, but this is still a lot of fun to sit through. Carpenter was developing a bad habit of bringing all of his sub-plots to a head at once in this movie and he edits back and forth between them with the subtlety of a drunk hippopotamus, which is unfortunate. Still and all, it's better than anything Carpenter has done since.