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YMMV / Big Trouble in Little China

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The Film

  • Awesome Ego: For all his incompetence and short comings, Jack Burton's confidence and sarcasm are truly awesome to behold.
  • Awesome Music:
    • 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.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment:
    • The... THING in the sewer. The only one who questions what had just happened is Jack, because Rule of Funny.
    Egg: You will come out no more!
    Jack: WHAT?!! 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.
  • Cult Classic: This film has become a huge cult hit as time has passed, to the point of being Vindicated by History.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: 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.
  • Memetic Badass: Jack Burton.
  • Memetic Mutation: To say the movie is quotable is an understatement.
    • "Indeed!"
    • "Like 'ol Jack Burton says..."
    • "You leave Jack Burton ALONE! We are in his debt!"
    • The main page quote detailing "light coming out of his mouth."
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    • 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.
    • 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. And apparently he has salad for internal organs.
    • The second encounter of The Beholder has it laying on the ground, literally licking its wounds. When it sees the heroes, it just gives an annoyed Aside Glance at them (before it's killed.)
  • 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.
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  • Slow-Paced Beginning: The first third of the film is a series of half-heartedly delivered Info Dumps so it can get all the exposition out of the way. It's only after all that when the nonstop action begins.
  • Special Effects Failure: The film's age means that many of its special effects looked dated to modern audiences, though were pretty good for their era.
    • Thunder's explosion is obviously a suit pumped full of air.
    • The monsters are obviously suits and puppets.
    • You can see the rings that fix Lightning's spinning blades to his fingers.
  • 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.

The Comic

  • 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 Satellite Love Interest from the movie a little bit of Character Development. You'd think that... but you'd be wrong.


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