O good heavens.
This...this gem of the filmmaker's art deserves more...so much more.
This movie was written (the story), directed, and musically composed by John Carpenter. It is an indescribable romp through several of America's favorite movie genres, including (but never limited to):
No, really, I swear I am not making this up. Our hero is a red-blooded all-American man named...
"Nah, you know what old Jack Burton always says at a time like this?"
(annoyed)"JACK BURTON. Me!"
...Jack is drawn into a nightmare world of sorcery, magic, Egg Foo yung, beauty, ditsy-ness, sewage and - oh yeah - martial art when he agrees to help his friend Wang Chi (Dennis Dun) pick up his long-awaited love at SFO. In a scene of delicate savagery and exquisite violence, she is kidnapped before their eyes by a group of punks known as the Lords of Death. Following the malfeasants back to San Francisco Chinatown, the pair turn...
"Go right, down that alley! Lords of Death down that way!"
"TURN RIGHT, NOW!!"
-shuddering scream of rubber-
...into the side alleys which hide an entirely different world of ancient evil and treachery. Jack is a dab hand with his boot knife, which is a good thing, because...
"First time you ever plug somebody?"
...guns are of little use against The Three Storms:
...played here by these three huge Chinese
gentlemen with enough muscle to stuff Mike Tyson
into a tennis ball can, in the case of Thunder; enough juice
to light up Inner City Detroit on All Hallow's Eve in the case of Lightning
(who also has a cool-ass ride-the-lightning-bolt trick) and enough girlish good looks
in the case of Rain
to make a man doubt his heteros...er, okay, not.
Actually, despite the fact that it's apocryphal trivia, this movie makes a great deal of sense as a Buckaroo Banzai sequel (which is what rumors say the script was originally for); if David Lo Pan was intended to be Xoi Han, leader of the World Crime League...but anyway, if you've ever wanted to see Kurt Russell doing a John Wayne impersonation...
This has it all!
Midair Flying Swordfights!
Chases! Escapes! True Love! (waitaminit...)
"What's that say?"
"Hell of Boiling Oils."
(grins)"Yeah I am, it says 'Keep Out.'"
But don't worry, because you're with the Chang Sing now; remember your L-shaped salute, and keep with you your Six-Demon Bag and your Magic Potion! You can see things no one else can see; do things no one else can do! As the night roars on like the badly-tuned engine of Egg Shen's tour bus, you'll find yourself in sewers, in storehouses, in prisons, and finally inside the evil neon-lit rock-and-roll fortress beneath the depths of the City before returning to the comparative safety of the Dragon of the Black Pool.
Where else will you get quotes like:
"It's all up to you now, Jack. My destiny rests in your capable hands."
"Black Blood of the Earth."
"What, you mean oil?"
"I mean Black Blood of the Earth!"
"Ching-Dai, The God of the East-"
"No, Mr. Burton, not me...My demon! The god I must appease to regain my heart and my blood!"
"So you can go on to rule the universe from beyond this grave...?"
"Or check into a psycho ward, whichever comes first, hah?"
"'Jack' what, I'm supposed to buy this shit? Ten thousand years and he can't find one chick to fit the bill? C'mon, Dave, you must be doing something seriously wrong."
So be vigilant. Be careful. Keep your sword ready, and your mind and your body and your spirit as one; for only then will you survive-
...in Little China!