‘Big Trouble in Little China: Old Man Jack #2’ - Advance Comic Book Review

You ever have one of those days where everything is going your way? A free place to hang your hat, no worries about food (or more importantly beer), and your trusty 18-wheel steed is ready to roll at a moment's notice? Me neither. That's the way your old pal Jack Burton started his day. At the top. But as they say, it can only goes downhill from there. And you know what Ol' Jack Burton says at a time like this? Aw hell, lemme tell you.

If you've never seen the 1986 classic, Big Trouble in Little China, well, all I can say is stop wasting time on your job or family for 2 hours, and treat yourself to this campy, action-packed piece of John Carpenter's directorial history. The film, written by Gary Goldman and David Z. Weinstein (adapted by W.D. Richter), tells the story of a charismatic truck driver who gets caught up in an adventure of magic, romance, and the occasional hell or two. The Chinese have many hells, and Old Man Jack has witnessed plenty of them.

Big Trouble in Little China: Old Man Jack weaves the tale of an aged, but agile, retired trucker, trapped in a poor man's paradise, while the rest of the world burns. Brought about by the rise of Ching Dai, the God of the East (who thanks Jack for his release) awards Jack with a safe and bountiful sanctuary, while the rest of the world deals with the demons that have been unleashed to burn, pillage, and cast those caught into their own personal hells - hells designed for your specific sins. Then, throw on a dollop of goofball to lighten the mood.

This tale of the Porkchop Express brings back John Carpenter - director, musician, writer, and avid fan of Kurt Russell - to the pen. Along with Anthony Burch, who has worked on some of the Boarderlands video games and other ventures, they find new ways to pull back ol' Jack Burton into the foray.

Written in the voice of Kurt Russell's portrayal of J.B., it plays out fun, but a bit too much camp abounds. The dialogue is written in such a way that some moments feel as if they were being delivered by another '80s badass - Ashley James "Ash" Williams, the main character of the Evil Dead series, played by veteran goofball actionista Bruce Campbell. The puns and pratfalls fall short at points and don't seem to be in the voice of Jack, but of a more off-the-hinges Ash. I want Jack to be a bit more aware of the gravity of the situation, and not just a lonely, pig-headed road jockey who only cares once a self-described "hot Chinese blonde between the ages of 18-24" squawks through static on a busted relic of a CB radio. I suppose a man must have priorities.

Big Trouble in Little China: Old Man Jack poses some interesting questions about Jack's past, and those may possibly have been explained in the Big Trouble in Little China 2 comic series. Fill in the gaps as you see fit.

Revisiting old and beloved characters, Old Man Jack may be a resurgence of an '80s classic, or it may merely be a cash grab, tugging on the heartstrings of nostalgia.

It's like ol' Jack Burton always says on a dark and stormy night, driving through sheets of rain thick as old Oriental rugs, "Have you paid your dues, Jack? Yes, sir, the check is in the mail." Remember, it's all in the reflexes.

You can thank me later...

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