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BIG TROUBLE in LITTLE CHINA

Kurt Russell, Kim Cattrall, John Carpenter

"Once you settle into the realization that this 1986 John Carpenter (Halloween) film is not going to be one of the director's more masterful works, Big Trouble in Little China just becomes a full-tilt comic blast. Kurt Russell is hilarious as a drawling, would-be John Wayne hero who steps into the middle of a supernatural war in the heart of Chinatown. While kung-fu warriors and otherworldly spirits battle over the fate of two women (Kim Cattrall and Suzee Pai), Russell's swaggering idiot manages to knock himself out or underestimate the forces he's dealing with. The whole thing is dopey, but it's supposed to be dopey and Russell's game performance brings an ironic edge. Carpenter directs some nifty spook effects (the sudden arrival of three martial-arts demigods from out of nowhere is worth applause), and he also wrote the music." -amazon.com

This movie was fantastic. I've seen this movie hundreds of times before on hundreds of saturday afternoons (and who hasn't?) but watching it baked turned it into a whooole other movie entirely.

What happened for me was that I saw the movie as a roleplaying game. yes, yes, I am a geek. I saw these characters being controlled by US (our roleplaying clique). I judged that each character's playing style matched one of us in some way. (I've listed below my thoughts on who was who)

Otherwise, the movie was enthralling. I determined that the chinese master LoPan had hired those three gods from Japanese mythology. during the kata sequence, after the brides tamed the burning blades, the gods said "HAI!" and I yelled out "that's japanese! they're japanese!". of course this was a big revelation, and I spent the next five minutes basking in the glory of the plot, so much like the other chinese scorcery movies we'd seen.

Also, at one point, I was telling Tom about how i'd heard John Carpenter based the movie on Zu: warriors of magic mountain. then I stopped and turned and said "oh man... dude... big Trouble in Little China was influenced by Zu. Zu was influenced by Star Wars. star wars was influenced by..." "THE HIDDEN FORTRESS!!!" we exclaimed. the hidden fortress is another akira kurasama movie. we marvelled at this for a while- "it all goes back to Akira! everything!" I said.

you may have a different experience from mine, but mine was phenominal. i recommend it highly.

In the event that you give a damn, here's who we determined was roleplaying who, and why it matches us.

Jack Burton: Seamus McNeill -The wisecracking loudmouth of the group whose bravado backfires... Seamus McNeill's known for mouthing off in character. He'll never play a game straight, if he can help it- he's got to be the cocky prick... just the way we like it. Jack Burton matches his style of roleplaying exactly, down to the brutish @$$hole remarks and his near misses with doom because of his showing off.

Egg Chen: me! -the silly old wizard with smug mysticism... I play two kinds of characters: quiet samurai types, and kooky old men and/or wizards with a gimmick. Egg Chen is the latter, and it was a close call... he didn't really match my roleplaying, up until the point at which he'd climbed into a hole twenty feet above his head. when asked how he did it, he replied: "wasn't easy!".

Wang: Tom Martin -the compulsive gambling young kung fu master...this was the biggest stretch... Wang's just not crazy enough. he plays his characters crazy. the way he sees it, the best reason to play is to be a crazy stupid nut. Wang's kinda withdrawn, keeps to the back, doesn't say much unless it helps the mission. The only thing that matches tom is that he's the "fighter with a 20 in skill". Tom would've made the action more Chan-styled and improvised, but still, we could see how it was him.

Gracie Law: Chris McCurdy -the standoffish, hard-to-get, no-nonsense woman ...Chris McCurdy, in all the years i've known him, of all the games i've seen him play, rarely if ever plays a male character. He's not happy unless he's female. His females, however, are aloof and goal-minded.

GRADE: A

rent it for a great all-around stoner movie, but beware- you may have a different experience.

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