What on Earth is this film doing on the list? It seems enough people voted for it to become the 430th greatest film of all time in Empire’s 2008 poll, but it has nothing going for it. The plot is sketchy, full of holes and relies too much on coincidence, the sets are shoddy and in danger of falling over, the effects are terrible and the script even worse (“Are you ready, Jack?” “I was born ready.”)
The story, as much as there is one, concerns opinionated but dumb brute Jack Burton (Kurt Russell), truck driver of the Pork Chop Express. After meeting up with an old friend in San Francisco’s Chinatown district, he loses his truck and his friend’s fiancé is kidnapped by a mysterious, yet ridiculous, magical Chinese cult. Burton is, unquestionably, a bit of a dick, only helping to look for her in the hope of finding his truck, and getting the money his friend owes him. They spend the rest of the film looking for her, with the help of Kim Cattrall’s friendly neighbourhood lawyer, who just happens to be in league with a reporter writing an article about the magic. The mythology is inconsistent (as are the characters’ fighting abilities from one scene to the next) and bizarre, and the bad guys look too ridiculous to be taken seriously, flying through the air shooting lightning from their hands, wearing giant comedy lampshades on their heads.
The final confrontation is disappointingly brief, and the freaky ball of floating eyes and Chewbacca/orang-utan/rejected muppet hybrid are unsettling, not to mention almost entirely superfluous to the plot. Maybe, after enough alcohol and a dangerously undercooked kebab this could slip into so-bad-it’s-good territory, but otherwise avoid at all costs.
Choose life 2/10
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