Big Trouble in Little China

Movie review by Andrea Beach, Common Sense Media
Big Trouble in Little China Poster Image

Common Sense says

age 14+

Violent 1980s martial arts movie is a campy guilty pleasure.

PG-13 1986 99 minutes

Parents say

age 13+

Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 12+

Based on 6 reviews

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Community Reviews

age 12+

A supernatural comedy with great martial arts.

Big Trouble is a colourful, imaginative supernatural martial arts comedy. Covers a few bases that’s for sure. The performances are great and tailor made for the eccentric cast. Everyone puts their best forward. The whole film takes itself just seriously enough but still maintains its wit and urgency. A few scary images do pop up, a few adult themes surrounding human trafficking but it’s a background element serving only to emphasise that the bad guys are, well bad. Watching it as a young pre-teen I saw a fun karate ghost film with a bumbling hero. As a grown up I see much more subtext and humour. It’s what I call a good gateway film going from kiddie fare into more mature content. It’s been said this comes across very Power Rangers in its action, which isn’t entirely inaccurate. The violence is typical low impact Hong Kong martial arts, any gunplay is bloodless. The bumbling lead, spoiler, is refreshing in a world of perfect adept action heroes and when it was made Stallone and Arnold were those stereotypes. References to drugs are basically ‘magic potions’ nothing identifiable as such. The sex is only evident in the main couple’s lust for one another, but it’s all hugs and kisses. It is obvious that a brothel does appear in the movie in one scene where they attempt a rescue. Here we see a shot of lingerie. I’m not concerned, but some parents may be. It’s clever, fun, Light hearted and an enjoyable film for a family movie night.
age 14+

Yeah, it's campy... but what fun!

This movie is campy in a very John Carpenter way. It's not the Godfather, but is practically the best guilty pleasure movie out there, and that is what it tried to be from the very beginning. Good work, Carpenter. Another masterpiece. Everyone should watch this at least once.

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