Big Trouble in Little China: Are You Crazy, Is That Your Problem?

Monday , 12, February 2018 12 Comments

Western Civilization is doomed. I know I’ve said that before, but this time it’s really true. (Actually, I was right all those other times, it just hasn’t happened yet.) Scope this stupidity:

Thursday I suddenly found myself with two whole hours of unstructured time. Nothing I needed to play, nothing I needed to read or watch, nothing I needed to research, just two hours all to myself.

So I watched Big Trouble in Little China.

And, as I was watching people hitting each other, something hit me: If it were released today—without altering one single frame—the usual band of nutters and nincompoops would scream bloody murder about rape culture.

But they do that for every movie.

No, what suddenly struck me was that, if it were released today—without altering one single frame—Big Trouble in Little China would be rated R. Really. R. As in “Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.” Why? Precisely for scenes like this:

Yup. You see that fist impacting the guy’s side? No blood or guts or heads exploding or anything? That, my friends, is enough to earn your movie an R rating nowadays.


Now I’m a big fan of Big Trouble. Always have been. It’s just a lot of fun, and moments like this are a big reason why:

It’s all in the reflexes.

Plus, it has Kim Cattrall in it, and in her time she was one of the hottest actresses in Hollywood.

See ya around, Burton.

Point is the movie was great, it had kung fu fighting, a sexy lead actress, monsters and demons, it passed the Jeffro Test, and, oh yeah, KURT RUSSELL. It had all that, but absolutely nothing that should earn it an R rating.

We have gone off the beam as a civilization, when a fast-paced bit of action and adventure can be branded with the modern Scarlet Letter. I just have one question for the MPAA…


Jasyn Jones, better known as Daddy Warpig, is a host on the Geek Gab podcast, a regular on the Superversive SF livestreams, and blogs at Daddy Warpig’s House of Geekery. Check him out on Twitter.

  • BigFire says:

    The thing is that the movie is told from the comedic sidekick’s point of view. Except he has absolutely no idea he’s the comedic sidekick to the real hero of the story (Wang Chi, the sword wielding badass who went toe to toe with one of the 3 lead henchman).

    • Terry Sanders says:

      I read somewhere that, based on Joss Whedon’s suggestions, Adam Baldwin played Jayne Cobb as if he (Baldwin) thought HE was the star of the show, and couldn’t understand why everybody was playing to that skinny little git over there.

      Now we know where they got the idea.

  • John E. Boyle says:

    One of the greatest movies ever made. Certainly one of the most fun, anyway.

  • Emmett Fitz-Hume says:

    One of my favorites.

    I’ve recycled Egg Shen multiple times for various D & D campaigns.

  • H.P. says:

    The idea of a one-size-fits-all movie rating was always silly, but doubly so in an age when every parent can go online and see exactly what sort of potentially objectionable content any individual movie has.

  • JackCrow says:

    My favorite comedy adventure movie. Every line and scene is fantastic.

    “Yes sir, the check is in the mail.”

  • JD Cowan says:

    This movie is what film was created for. It has everything and then some.

    There is no way this would ever get released today. The eventual remake is going to prove that and then some.

  • Jon Mollison says:

    This is one of those movies that I wanted to show my kids when they were younger, but kept them away from until they were in their mid-teens. They weren’t old enough to appreciate it until they had a solid grounding in their cultural heritage.

  • I used to tell this movie to my kids when they were younger as a bedtime story when I was tired of telling Jack and the Beanstalk. Of course I have the entire dialog track memorized, or almost, and could recite it scene by scene, impersonating as best I could the voices and expressions of the actors. I do a mean Lo Pan.

  • TWS says:

    My wife and I watched it a million times. My kids loved it growing up I think we saw it at the thunderbird drive in with the top off our blazer in a double feature.

  • Vlad James says:

    A genuine classic. Can’t imagine anyone with even the slightest inclination for action or comedy not enjoying this.

    Kurt Russell pulling off being a cocky, guns-blazing, American hero, the funnyman and butt of many jokes, and damn likable at the same time is a hell of an achievement.

  • As near as I can figure it, the movie got an “R” rating upon release because at the time use of the word “fuck” at any point was sufficient for the MPAA to slap the “R” on it.

    As much as I’ve seen it, I’ve pretty much got the whole script memorized; “fuck” is said only once in the movie, when the heroes are moving from the Wing Kong Echange to Lo Pan’s wedding…Wang Chi taps on a partition and the following exchange occurs:

    Jack: Hollow?
    Wang: Hollow.
    Jack: (slashes covering with knife) Fuck it.

    And there’s your “R” rating.

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