Tag Archives: James Hong

Fantasy Cast – “What If” #2


Big Trouble in Little China, an established 1986-classic, written by Gary Goldman and David Z. Weinstein and adapted by W.D Richter, is a box office-flop but has since become a cult success. With its mere $11 million return at the box office at a $20 million budget, it’s not likely to be seen as a remake anytime soon, but that’s kinda why I’m doing this fantasy cast, because, what if…. What if they actually did? Who would play Jack Burton? Or a better question; Is there someone out there who could do even half as good a Lo Pan? Well let’s find out, shall we….. or, let’s find out who I think could do it…

Big Trouble in Little China banner

If you’ve seen the original, you already know the awesomeness of it but if you haven’t, here’s a quick rundown of the plot (including the IMDB-outline); An all-American truck driver, Jack Burton (Kurt Russell), tags along with a friend, Wang Chi (Dennis Dun) to pick up Chi’s fiancé, Miao Yin, at the airport when Miao Yin gets abducted by a street gang called the Lords of Death. The two set out to rescue her, but winds up in the middle of  an ancient war between the rival gangs ‘Chang Sing’ (good guys) and the ‘Wing Kong’ (bad guys), and among the ensuing chaos, they meet ‘The Three Storms’ (Thunder, Rain and Lightning), three utterly badass dudes who all three comes with their own kind of magic. In the midst of all chaos, they “run over” Lo Pan (James Hong), an ancient evil magician with a curse, who turns out, is trying to brake his curse by marrying this Miao Yin, thus forcing our unlikely heroes to fight an even bigger fight than anticipated.

IMDB kept it rather simple with its story outline, however;

An All-American trucker gets dragged into a centuries-old mystical battle in Chinatown.

Big Trouble in Little China main castWhether or not you like your preview simple or a little more complex and outdrawn, here you have your choices. But no matter what you go on, the movie is and will always be a great 80’s classic and I will always cherish this film as one of those that got me interested in movies in the first place. Kurt Russell is a funny, well-timed and raw badass, Kim Cattrall is hysterically bad (which is a laughably good thing), James Hong is amazingly talented and brings everything he has to the table and Dennis Dun is a badass in his own right, with fly kicks, quick commenting and brings an excellent performance to complete the main ensemble.

But… to the point at hand, WHAT IF they were to do a remake, who would/can play who? Let’s dig a little deeper, shall we. But keep in mind now, that I will only be focusing on the main cast, i.e the ones named above…

Cattrall Gracie Law PalickiFor the first choice, I thought I’d start with the female lead, which would be the part of Gracie Law (Cattrall). Who could do what she did? Well, to be honest, a lot of today’s actresses could do what she did. BUT… I want the perfect one, the one who could deliver a ‘what?!’-look like Kim did, and that perfect one is none other than Adrianne Palicki. She has the talent needed (which could be argued to be both good (enough to play bad) or bad) and she has the looks. Yes, I think Kim Cattrall was hot pre-Sex and The City, deal with it. And yes, Adrianne Palicki is seriously gorgeous and, c’mon guys…. she Can look kinda ‘what the?’ when she wants to. She even got those doey eyes, doesn’t she?

Dun Wang Chi RainSecondly, I thought I’d give the sidekick a shot. Yes, that means Dennis Dun’s part of Wang Chi, the charismatic and yet humble restauranteur with a mean kick. This feels like the part where people would scream Byung-hun Lee or Rick Yune, but no…. I’m sorry, but I have to play the Rain-card once more. No, this is not a choice based on their looking anything alike. This is a choice solely based on their skills in martial arts And talent when it comes to acting. I’m sorry (or not, you decide), but Rain would be the ultimate Wang Chi, as long as he masters his American-english (if he doesn’t already?).

Hong Lo Pan LiOnward, as they say, to the third cast, and this is a big one. The character of David Lo Pan (James Hong), was the first one to ever creep me the f*ck out as a kid and the mere thought of anyone other than James Hong portraying him is basically pure heresy, but… I’ll give it a shot anyway, for you guys. But I have to say that casting an Asian above 40 isn’t the easiest thing to do, ’cause I don’t know about that many, but … well, maybe Hiroyuki Sanada could be a good choice? Or maybe Ken Watanabe? No, neither of’em could fill Hong’s shoes. But how about Jet Li? Yeah, he would work. He could most definitely work, so let’s go with him. Jet Li as David Lo Pan… yeah, I feel really good about that. He’s coming up a bit age-wise, and even though he’s not as tall as one would like, it’s Hollywood… they got tricks for that. So yeah, I definitely think it could work, so Jet Li for Lo Pan, yupp!

Russell Jack Burton RennerAnd now, for the big finale, to cast the part of none other than the one line-dropping, quirky but lovable, quick but clumsy, the funniest action hero to come out of the 1980’s era of cinema, Jack Burton (Russell)! To be honest, this is a part that I struggled with a lot. Who, today, could possibly do even half of what Russell did back then? Well, to be honest, I don’t think anyone actually can. The only fair thing to do, really, is to give Russell a “do-over” and give him one of those ‘Tron make-overs’ they did with Jeff Bridges in ..Legacy. But, that’s even more unlikely than the film being remade at all, so let’s give it a shot anyway. My first thought for Burton, however, was Ryan Reynolds. He does have the mouth for it, but he doesn’t feel quite as all-American as Russell does, so the next name on my list is Josh Brolin, but he feels a bit too old for it now. Maybe 10 years ago, but that was to early for the remake anyway. My third list entry is, well…. Ben Foster. Can he do it? ………. nah, moving on. The fourth name, however. I think we have a winner, folks, the fourth guy on my list, and the “winner” of my final fantasy cast is…. drumroll*…… Jeremy Renner. What?! Are you serious? Yes, I am serious. He’s a fantastic actor when he want’s to (28 Weeks aside), and he has proved both in performace and in interviews that he can, in fact, be goofy if needed. So for the part of Jack Burton, I choose you, Jeremy Renner, How do you feel about that?

As a special treat for you guys (and yeah, girls too (dodging future complaints) for that matter), here’s the trailer for the original… enjoy!
“It’s all in the reflexes.” – Jack Burton

And there you have it, folks. Any thoughts? Any objections on my choices, maybe? Whether the case, let me know in the comment section, ’cause I’d love to hear from’ya! And as always, more goodies coming soon, but until then…..

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