A film about an American truck driver, Jack Burton, who gets caught up in an ancient battle in Chinatown; the legendary sorcerer Lo Pan, seeking to return to flesh and blood, must marry and sacrifice a green eyed woman, and Jack along with his friends try to stop him.
The film is a mix of martial arts, comedy, and fantasy, it is an oddball of a film. The pace is 100 miles an hour and barely slows down, the whole thing appears to take place over a few days but the action happens to fast it’s like the whole thing takes place in just a few hours. The ridiculousness of it all comes together to create a film which looks and fills like a ride in which you don’t care if nothing makes sense, you just sit back and enjoy it.
The films no-nonsense nonsense about the way it tells its story is one of my favourite things, magic being used with martial arts to make guys fly through the air swinging swords at each other, monsters joining the fray with a man firing lightning from his fingertips, and isn’t questioned as anything but magic, and everyone accepts that. Even Jack, who is the audience’s representative, himself being a newcomer in this world, accepts quickly that things are just the way they are because they are the way they are. Although that doesn’t stop Jack asking why and what a lot.
The film is one of those that you like, but you can’t pinpoint why. What is it about this film that makes you want to watch it over again? It might be that its love for the goof-ish side of filmmaking, it might be because the characters are engaging, it might be its mix of comedy and action. Whatever its flaws, I can’t say that I dislike this film.
The character of Jack Burton is what intrigues me the most. An unwilling hero caught up in something that he doesn’t understand, but he’s quick to accept most of it, as it is what he has seen, and felt, and doesn’t doubt his senses. He just wants out at first, just to find his truck, but later on he starts to fight, not for himself, but because it’s right, and he doesn’t change his character for it. Jack remains the determined, indomitable, trucker. Still keeping the rough and loveable personality. He isn’t powerful, magical, or trained in any martial arts, but he still continues on, still toughs it out, even against opponents he knows are vastly better.