Picks and Pans Review: Big Trouble in Little China

updated 07/28/1986 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/28/1986 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Mix a screwball adventure comedy with a martial arts film. Add a heavy dose of special effects. Bake for 100 minutes. What you get is this sorry mess. Director John (Starman) Carpenter's movie is peppered with cliché after cliché that, instead of being sent up, just lie there like lumps. Kung-fu action sequences seem to be thrown in to keep the audience awake. The out-of-place Kurt (Silkwood) Russell plays a truck driver whose friend Dennis (Year of the Dragon) Dun has his fiancée stolen by an evil spirit embodied by James (Missing in Action) Hong. Dun and Russell are aided in their rescue attempt by a local attorney, Kim (Police Academy) Cattrall. Russell carries a knife in his teeth a lot, while Dun does all the fighting. The film has a workable campiness at times, and the special effects by Richard (Star Wars) Edlund are terrific. But they aren't reasons enough to see this movie. There's more mystery and excitement in a fortune cookie. (PG-13)

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