Kurt Russell in 'Big Trouble in Little China'

Kurt Russell, who turns 60 tomorrow, has played his share of tough guys on screen, including the legendary badass Snake Plissken in 'Escape From New York' (and 'Escape From L.A.'), Wyatt Earp in 'Tombstone' and, more recently, Stuntman Mike in Quentin Tarantino's 'Death Proof.' Of course, he's portrayed many other types of characters in his long career (starting as a child actor), but his physicality and general intensity equip him especially well for action heroics (or anti-heroics).

Maybe that's why we have such a fondness for Jack Burton from John Carpenter's 1986 martial arts / action / supernatural comedy 'Big Trouble in Little China.' As the wisecracking, dim-witted yet arrogant truck driver who gets involved in a gang-related kidnapping in San Francisco's Chinatown, Russell is a complete self-spoofing hoot, the polar opposite of Plissken and his other dead-serious bad boys.
categories Columns, Cinematical