Driving the Pork Chop Express. Rescuing Chinese girls with green eyes. Fighting little old basket-cases on wheels who turn into ten-foot-tall road blocks. Shaking the pillars of heaven. That’s all in a day’s work for Jack Burton, the charismatic truck driver hero with a mullet from John Carpenter’s 1986 kung fu/sci-fi comedy, Big Trouble in Little China.
It’s been nearly 30 years since the film was first released at the box office, and since my friend Julian and I would pretend that I was Miao Yin and he was David Lo Pan. We’d quote lines like “Chinese girls do not come with green eyes, Mr. Burton” and “It’s all in the reflexes” and cross our pinky fingers just like evil Lo Pan did before beams of light shot out of his mouth. Big Trouble was one of my favorite movies of the 80s, and it was my second favorite from director John Carpenter (right after The Thing).