- Awesome Ego: For all his incompetence and short comings, Jack Burton's confidence and sarcasm are truly awesome to behold.
- Big Lipped Alligator Moment: The... THING in the sewer. The only one who questions what the hell just happened is Jack, because Rule of Funny.
Egg: You will come out no more!Jack: WHAT will come out no more?!
- The hairy beast-thing that captures Gracie and later hitches a ride with Jack. No explanation for it is ever given.
- Broken Base: The remake is set to star Dwayne Johnson.
- Crowning Music of Awesome: Biiiiig trouble...In little China!
- Some of the other music ain't that bad either, with the main title, alley fight and Wing Kong Exchange themes being notable highlights.
- Cult Classic: This film has become a huge cult hit as time has passed, to the point of being Vindicated by History.
- Ensemble Darkhorse: The Three Storms, Lightning in particular for being the inspiration for Raiden.
- Fountain of Memes: It's a movie from the 80's, so it's expected. Jack Burton in particular is extremely quotable.
- Hilarious in Hindsight: Or, possible, Awesome In Hindsight, with Lightning, a predecessor to Raiden of Mortal Kombat, complete with Nice Hat. Kitana's famous Kiss of Death fatality also references Thunder's death very closely.
- Similarly, Rain of the same series not only uses water, but ended up gaining a ponytail and sword-fighting skills to better resemble Rain of the Three Storms. He even gained a fatality in MK 9 referencing Thunder's death!
- Magnificent Bastard: David Lo Pan indeed!
- Memetic Badass: Jack Burton.
- Memetic Mutation: To say the movie is quotable is an understatement.
- "Like 'ol Jack Burton says..."
- The main page quote detailing "light coming out of his mouth."
- Thunder's death where he inflates is often considered one of the goofier movie deaths.
- "It's all in the reflexes."
- "Son of a bitch must pay!"
- Narm Charm: Much of the movie, some of it deliberately, but probably the most straight-up example is the "Magical Video Game Battle" between Lo Pan and Egg Shen. It is both awesome (as intended) and hilariously ridiculous.
- Despite how incredibly fake and stupid it is, Thunder blowing up like a balloon somehow works because of how funny it is.
- Older Than They Think: It actually predates many of the titles audiences might think it's referencing, as Robin Laws points out in Blowing Up The Movies:
Tsui Hark's Wuxia game-changer Zu: Warriors of the Magic Mountain (1982) exists as a reference at this point, along with such early kung fu ghost comedies as Close Encounters of the Spooky Kind (1980, Sammo Hung) and The Dead and the Deadly (1982, Wu Ma). But as the film is being written (...) most of the HK supernatural fu classics have yet to be made. No Mr. Vampire (q.v.), no A Chinese Ghost Story (q.v.), no The Swordsman (1990, credited to King Hu). The western fandom for HK films extant in 1986 revolves around Bruce Lee, Shaw Brothers Chop Socky, and real-world martial arts practice. It sure isn't ready for lightning-throwing warriors or ghostly sorcerors. Accordingly, Big Trouble flops on its theatrical release, joining the roster of fan favourites that slowly grows its popularity on home video.
- Society Marches On: Imagine the thug pulling out the revolver in an airport nowadays. There'd be a whole army of TSA agents on him in an instant.
- Special Effects Failure: Given the movie is a parody of magical martial arts movies, some of it is bound to be intentional.
- Thunder's mentioned explosion.
- The monsters aren't very realistic looking and are obvious effects/men in suits.
- There are neither bullet holes nor blood when people get shot.
- Vindicated by History: Despite a positive test-screening, the movie bombed at the box office (no doubt due to 20th Century Fox's other film Aliens being released the next week) and critical opinions were negative enough to make Carpenter leave studio film work. Nowadays it's considered one of his best films by fans and critics alike.
- Tear Jerker: Issue 4's revelation about the first Mrs. Burton is actually surprisingly sweet, and sad.
She was the one. Does it matter how we met? How we fell in love? How she made me feel special because if someone like her loved me, well, I must be alright. Because no one as amazing as her would just take up with any jerk.
None of those things matter. The only thing that matters is she's gone, and like Miao and Wang, all I want to do is reach out and touch her one more time.
It seems like yesterday, or a century ago that she came home and collapsed in the doorway. Seems like merely two hours or a millennia ago that I sat with her day after day in that hospital. It could be five minutes or an eternity ago that she gripped my hand with all the feeble strength she could muster. Just seconds ago she looked in my eyes with all the fear and love possible in the human soul and told me goodbye.
As she faded away I kissed her and felt her last breath escape her lips.
That's the last time I ever kissed a woman goodbye, and it will always be the last kiss goodbye.
- It makes his refusal to kiss Gracie goodbye in the film even more heartbreaking.
- They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: In the comic book series. The new villain kidnaps Wang Chi but leaves Miao Yin behind. You'd think maybe this bit of Swapped Roles for the two would allow her to travel with Jack to get her fiancee back, allowing the writers to give the Shallow Love Interest from the movie a little bit of Character Development. You'd think that... but you'd be wrong.