Jump to content
Overstreet

Big Trouble in Little China - The Remake

Recommended Posts

I know the original film has its devotees (not least my best friend at that time), but I've never understood all the fuss about it. Leonard Maltin gave it 1.5 out of 4 stars, if memory serves, and that's always seemed about right to me.

 

Heh. It just occurred to me, Dwayne Johnson and Kurt Russell co-star in Furious 7, though I can't recall if they have any scenes together.

Edited by Peter T Chattaway

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
NBooth   

I like the movie quite a bit; it's a pulpy, fun subversion of Hollywood Orientalism. And I'm not against remakes, but I'm not sold on this remake. For one thing, as misunderstood as the movie was when it was released, I can't imagine them having the freedom to go as far as they did in '86. For another--look, I know The Rock has done the whole subverting-the-action-hero thing in The Rundown, but I don't get the impression that his roles lately are that big on winking subversion (maybe in the Fast and the Furious movies?). And the whole point of the Russell character is that he's a very bad action hero: the real hero is the sidekick (or, more properly, the purported hero is actually the sidekick). I don't know that Johnson's current status will permit such a thing.

 

One thing that will be interesting to watch is the treatment of race. The joke of Big Trouble '86 rests on the fact that Jack Burton is cast in the mold of the Great White Hero, stranded in the middle of a cast full of non-white characters who are all much more adept at navigating their world than he is. Casting the mixed-race Dwayne Johnson as Burton means that, while he may be an outsider to Little China, he's also already outside the trope of the Great White Hero. That's a very different dynamic and could be interesting if it's treated well--or treated at all. Like I say, I suspect that the producers (Johnson included) have mistaken Big Trouble for the action films it's parodying. 

 

I could be wrong, though; Johnson does claim that the movie is a longtime favorite of his, and he's producing, so perhaps he's already worked through all of this in his own mind.

Edited by NBooth

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Attica   

I'm a huge fan of the original.  Sure Kurt Russel is a big part of this films greatness.  But I would think another factor is that this was his fourth (if I remember right) film with John Carpenter, and this when Carpenter was still hot stuff with his own brand of B-movie greatness.  They had something great going and, and the stars just aligned to give us something different that really worked.  I would be really suprised if they could pull off anything close to the greatness of the original.  They should just leave it alone, as with most remakes.  IMHO.

Edited by Attica

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

NBooth wrote:

: The joke of Big Trouble '86 rests on the fact that Jack Burton is cast in the mold of the Great White Hero, stranded in the middle of a cast full of non-white characters who are all much more adept at navigating their world than he is. Casting the mixed-race Dwayne Johnson as Burton means that, while he may be an outsider to Little China, he's also already outside the trope of the Great White Hero.

 

Interesting point. Well, neither of Johnson's races is "Asian", right? Unless Samoan is a form of "Asian". (Wikipedia says Polynesians can be traced linguistically back to Taiwan.) So he'd still be stranded in a world that is not his own -- a world that, in some sense, might still be "foreign" to someone who can identify as African-American (emphasis on "American", even though Johnson's father is actually a black Canadian... *boy* this stuff is complicated).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
NBooth   

Right. It's in the same generic ballpark, but changing the character's race has an effect on how the generic conventions will play. Or, at least, I would think so.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Definite maybe.  The Rock is the surest bet one can have for a movie star nowadays, and he has a genial self-effacing quality that lets us in on the joke. 

 

Plus, it can reintroduce wire-fu (dated now, but not introduced then) to the masses.

 

Isn't the time difference between the orig and the release date for this one... the same for the difference between the orig and Carpenter's 1982 remake of the "don't remake that! It will be a disaster!" The Thing?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×