There are a handful of films that I would say defined my childhood. Of course on that list are such mainstays as the original Star Wars trilogy, the Christopher Reeve Superman movies and Indiana Jones.
But if there were to be any less common, more "cult classic" style movies that defined my childhood it would have to be The Monster Squad, Robocop and Big Trouble in Little China.
Just as often as I was safety pinning a towel to my shirt to be Superman I was also running around with my toy Tec 9 pistol (yes...you read that right) pretending to be Jack Burton. It's that sense of imagination that I feel built me into the person that I am today and creative and fun films like Big Trouble in Little China are to thank for that.
So now Variety and other media outlets are reporting that action star Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Fox are in negotiations to remake the 1986 cult classic film.
The original film starred Kurt Russell, Kim Cattrall, James Hong, Dennis Dun & Victor Wong and was directed by John Carpenter. It told the epic tale of the aforementioned Jack Burton, a truck driver who gets in over his head when he's pulled into the world of Chinese mysticism and human trafficking while trying to collect money that he's owed following a night of gambling in San Francisco Chinatown.
Ashley Miller and Zack Stentz, who have previously written X-Men: First Class and Thor, have been tapped by Fox to pen the script for the remake while Johnson and his 7 Bucks Entertainment partners, Dany and Hiram Garcia, are in talks to produce the film (with Johnson also set to take over for Kurt Russell as Jack Burton).
Personally, I'm indifferent to this news. I'm a huge fan of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. If there is a single celebrity that I had to pick as my favorite right now it would definitely be him. Not only are his films incredibly entertaining but he seems like a genuinely nice and fun human being that I would love to meet (and dare I say be friends with).
However, can a remake of one of my all-time favorite childhood films be a good thing? It seems like every movie is getting remade these days (for better or for worse) and furthering the stereotype that Hollywood is out of ideas. Some movies need a remake because the first go around wasn't that great but it had potential. Others need an update to appeal to a younger audience and other movies are fine just the way they are. They were perfect the first time around and don't necessarily transcend their time period to the point that an update is required.
I would probably have to put Big Trouble in Little China in the latter category. Not only is it a classic of the 80s but that time setting is a part of the film's everlasting appeal. The over the top street thugs, the comically misogynistic attitudes and Jack Burton's party all night mullet are like a fine wine or...you know...Scotch...they all just get better with age.
Also, riding on the recent success of San Andreas, as well as the last three Fast and Furious films and GI Joe: Retaliation, it's safe to say that Johnson is the epitome of the modern action hero. But one of the things that made Jack Burton such an amazing lead character was that he wasn't an action hero.
Yes, he was Kurt Russell and Kurt Russell was one of the top action hero actors of the 80s. But Jack Burton wasn't an action hero. He was tough, no question about that, but he was totally out of his depth. He had no idea what was going on, he wasn't particularly skilled at fighting (or shooting) and if he'd gotten his money he probably would have got the hell out of there long before things escalated. But he came through in the end like all leading men.
The Rock can play great comedy and I'm sure he'll portray his best effort for the part. But he's a huge hulk of a man (have you seen his Instagram?) and the action hero persona has just become unmistakable. Even if he plays the part like his roles in Get Smart or The Other Guys he'd still probably represent too much "action hero" for the traditional Jack Burton.
Does this mean that a remake would be bad? No, not all. Though most remakes are either not necessary or inferior to their predecessors, there are exceptions. Personally, I loved the 2009 remake of Friday the 13th (I feel like it honored the source material, gave it a much needed update and reduced the amount of campiness). Also, the remake of Robocop was surprisingly good. That was another film from my childhood that I didn't want to see remade and everything that I had heard leading up to the film didn't blow me away. However, it ended up being a fairly well made movie and quite good in its own right.
But then you also have some of the more less than stellar remakes like Len Weisman's Total Recall. I mean, that wasn't a bad movie either. But it was a generic sci-fi/action movie with none of the uniqueness or flare that made it worth a second viewing.
So there may be a chance for The Rock's Big Trouble in Little China to stand on its own unique merits. Or it could go the way of Total Recall and be a very well made movie but only worth that one time, just out of curiosity, viewing. Only time will tell on that.
What do you all think. Is a remake of Big Trouble in Little China a good thing? Are you excited to see what Dwayne Johnson can do with the role of Jack Burton? Or do you think it's better left alone? Sound off in the comments below.