John Carpenter's Big Trouble in Little China didn't make a ton of money at the box office back in 1986 -- taking in a measly 11 million dollars during its theatrical run -- but it has gone on to become a cult classic thanks to home video. It's hard to pick a favorite Carpenter flick for me -- Halloween, Escape from New York, and The Thing are all contenders -- but Big Trouble will always have a special place in my heart because it's so different and well -- bizarre. In a good way, of course.
Big Trouble satisfied the filmmaker's urge to make a martial arts film, but not just any hand-to-hand combat flick. Carpenter's movie is an action comedy with a healthy dollop of Asian mysticism thrown into the mix to balance out a hilarious performance from Carpenter's frequent collaborator Kurt Russell.
Russell plays Jack Burton, a loveable doofus who becomes embroiled in supernatural shenanigans in San Francisco's Chinatown. When his friend Wang's green-eyed girlfriend is kidnapped by the villainous (and ancient ... ) David Lo Pan (James Hong), it's up to Burton to join forces with a ragtag assortment of Chinatown residents to save the girl. Part action, part comedy, all Carpenter, this is a prime example of what makes a cult classic.