Several months ago the internet echoed with a collective, "wait, what?" when it learned that Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson was on board to star in a remake of the cult classic Big Trouble in Little China. While many thought it was an odd choice for a remake, the fact is that remakes and reboots seem to be Hollywood’s primary focus these days so most people were less shocked, and more resigned to the fact that of course this was going to happen at some point. It turns out one of those people who’s simply resigned himself to the facts of modern movie making is the original film’s star, Kurt Russell.
Russell was being interviewed by Collider when they asked him what he thought of the planned remake. Like other fans of the film, his feeling are all over the place.
I guess it’s that time now. Hey, you know, nothing’s sacred. Why not? Go get it, good luck. … I don’t know what their reasons are for remaking the movie, but I hope that they have the right reasons, and I hope that they do it well and good luck. What can I say? I don’t know, I don’t have thoughts other than that. Hang in there, good luck, go get em.
There’s actually a lot to unpack here. Russell starts with the same knee jerk reaction that most fans of Big Trouble had, "is nothing sacred?" He then follows that up with wishing them luck but it seems like he’s doing that because, well, what else is he going to say? The key statement is that he hopes they have the right reasons for moving forward with the remake. Russell talks about how when he and John Carpenter remade The Thing they were actually making a more direct adaptation of the short story it was based on than the original film had been. That was their reason. Russell doesn’t mind them doing a remake. He objects to them doing it without a real point.
So, is there a point to the Big Trouble in Little China remake? Honestly, it doesn’t really look like it. While The Rock has previously said he has "nothing but love and respect" for the original, he hasn’t made any comments about any new direction they’re looking at taking or a particular focus they want to make. The fact is Rock has already said this is an idea where they might all take a swing and miss, then scrap it. If that’s the case, it doesn’t sound like they really have a reason for making the film. That doesn’t mean they can’t find their reason sometime during the scriptwriting process, but it doesn’t start things in a good place.
Kurt Russell’s response to the reboot is at least slightly more optimistic that that of John Carpenter himself, who has said he’s ambivalent about working on the new movie until he sees the paycheck. The screenwriting team of Ashley Miller and Zack Stentz, who are also handling the Power Rangers reboot, have the unenviable task of writing the script for the new cult classic. Maybe they’ll find the hook that will make it all worthwhile.