Kurt Russell’s Jack Burton is famous in Big Trouble In Little China, with the actor basing his performance on John Wayne.
In Big Trouble In Little China, Kurt Russell basically plays John Wayne playing Jack Burton. Director John Carpenter and Russell made five films together, including the TV movie Elvis. While The Thing and Big Trouble In Little China are now considered genre favorites, both films bombed upon release and received mixed reviews. Big Trouble In Little China was particularly hyped as a potential major blockbuster, but its odd mix of genres and the fact that Russell’s hero Jack Burton was a jerk turned audiences away. The film found a fanbase through VHS and TV viewing, and it’s now clear what the duo were trying to achieve.
In Escape From New York, Russell riffed on Clint Eastwood in his performance, which can be heard in Snake’s drawling, raspy tone. Russell and Carpenter are both Western fans and felt that since Big Trouble In Little China’s Jack was a loudmouthed American who – mistakenly – assumed he was the hero, that Russell should play him as a Western icon. John Wayne. Recounting this choice in the John Carpenter: Prince Of Darkness interview book, the director said, “Jack Burton is John Wayne, and Kurt plays him full John Wayne. Jack’s “sidekick” Wang Chi is the real hero and performs all the martial arts, while Jack does little to affect the story.
Big Trouble In Little China was originally a western
In fact, Jack has a habit of being knocked out or otherwise incapacitated when the action kicks in. It was one of the subversive comedic elements of Big Trouble In Little China that many viewers simply didn’t get, and even 20th Century Fox was angry. by this creative choice, expecting an Indiana Jones film. Many of Russell’s online deliveries mirror Wayne’s as well, with the character’s wild overconfidence in his own abilities only making the gag funnier when he constantly fails. Even when Jack manages to land the killing blow on the main villain, it feels like dumb luck rather than design.
Wayne’s parody would have made even more sense had Big Trouble In Little China been shot as a western, as originally written. The story is set in the 1880s, with Jack being a cowboy who arrives in Chinatown and has his beloved horse stolen. The film was intended as a mix of Chinese martial arts film and Western, but fears over its cost prompted Fox to order the rewritten script as a contemporary adventure. Carpenter also envisioned another Western icon as the lead in Big Trouble In Little China, as he wanted to cast Clint Eastwood as Jack Burton; the star was busy on other projects at the time.
Is The Rock’s Big Trouble Reboot still happening?
In 2015, it was announced that Dwayne Johnson was developing a remake of Big Trouble In Little China, although it was later revealed that the planned film would actually be a legacy sequel. While Johnson once seemed very interested in continuing the film — and creatively involving Carpenter to some extent — there has been little reporting on this revival of Big Trouble In Little China since 2018. With Johnson busy on other franchises, including more planned appearances as Black Adam and a Red Notice sequel, the chances of her reuniting seem to be fading with each passing year.
Kurt Russell secretly plays John Wayne in Big Trouble in Little China | Pretty Reel