Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Big Trouble in Little China

US movie (1986). 20th Century-Fox/Taft-Barish-Monash. Pr Larry J Franco. Exec pr Keith Barish, Paul Monash. Dir John Carpenter. Vfx Richard Edlund. Screenplay Gary Goldman, David Z Weinstein, adapted by W D Richter. Starring Kate Burton (Margo), Kim Cattrall (Gracie Law), Dennis Dun (Wang Chi), James Hong (Lo Pan), Peter Kwong (Rain), Donald Li (Eddie Lee), Suzee Pai (Miao Yin), James Pax (Lightning), Kurt Russell (Jack Burton), Carter Wong (Thunder), Victor Wong (Egg Shen). 99 mins. Colour.

An Americanized Chinoiserie plunging trucker Burton into Chinatown feuds involving three Magic fighters – the Storms (Lightning, Rain and Thunder) – and their ruler, the immortal sorcerer Lo Pan. Friend Chi's fiancée Miao Yin is sought by Lo Pan because she has green eyes, rare among Chinese women; through wedding and vampirizing such a woman he may incarnate himself as a youth rather than, as at present, an ancient. Chi's martial arts and Burton's no-nonsense redneck fists thwart the plan, and Burton is able to kill Lo Pan in the instant during which he is a vulnerable mortal. BTILC has all the requisite pyrotechnics, but lacks charm; there is no attempt to view events through Chinese eyes, because all the good Chinese involved are Chinese-Americans; and, since the lovely Miao Yin is deployed merely as a McGuffin, there is little emotional interest in the outcome. [JG]

This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.