A Toy Tribute to Big Trouble in Little China
Do not adjust your screens, things are about to get real dorky. I'm Miss M and I was asked by Barbecue 17 to write a guest review on one of the coolest toy lines ever made: Big Trouble in Little China. And since this is ThEpicReview, it would only make sense that this be one big splashy epic toy review. I use a fun interview approach to my toy reviews, so prepare to read a fun story that pays tribute to John Carpenter's Big Trouble in Little China, and the toy line made by N2 Toys (circa 2002.) Thanks, and enjoy!
Hokey Halloween Horror: A Toy Tribute to Big Trouble in Little China
Barbecue: Yes, well, thank you for such… a personal introduction. You must be wondering why I summoned you here…
Miss M: Actually, yeah, the thought had crossed my mind.
Barbecue: Yes, well, I have need of your services Miss M. You know quite a few characters in the toy world and I recently learned of a connection to someone in your past. You see, I follow the gossip toy blogs. With your sudden romance to the Ninja Turtle Michelangelo, Pez Hilton took interest in your romantic affairs and wrote a rather lengthy article about all the numerous lovers in your life.
Miss M: (looks slightly sheepish before cracking a joke) I always say, the only difference between Elizabeth Taylor and me was that she got all the jewelry. (pauses as she processes what she just said.) I’m really not trashy. I swear.Barbecue: Yes, as interesting as that all is I found it superbly fascinating that you once dated Jack Burton.
Miss M: Oh, do we really need to go there? That relationship was ages ago.
Barbecue: Yes, I’m afraid we do. You see Miss M, I have been looking to pick his brain for the last few years now, but he is a rather difficult man to locate. I’ve called you here to see if you can use your past connection with him to find his whereabouts and interview him for ThEpicReview. He starred in a little movie a very long time ago by John Carpenter and I’d like to see what you can get him to talk about.Miss M: Oh, I don’t know. It’s been a long time. We didn’t really end on the best of terms…
Barbecue: Yes, well, that is not my problem. It is imperative that you do this for me Miss M. I would hate to see something awful happen to you…
Miss M: Did you just threaten me?
Barbecue: Of course not. I am merely sharing my concerns for you. I know the danger you have found yourself in recently. However, capturing an interview with Jack Burton and his experience against the evil Lo Pan could potentially see your life points flourish. What do you say?Miss M: Well, when you mention life points, I guess I have no choice. Sure, I’ll do this. We’ll be in contact!
Miss M leaves to gather some information on Jack Burton’s current residence while Barbecue is left alone.
Barbecue: Silly girl. Her work will be the undoing of a long forgotten curse. All is according to plan. Muah!
Meanwhile, in an undisclosed location…
Lo Pan: (stands alone, waiting for someone) Where is he?
Moments go by and one of the three storms arrives: Lightning!
Lightning: I have returned Lo Pan.Lo Pan: Where are the other two storms?
Lightning: Thunder and Rain could not make it. I left them alone fighting off the forces of the fourth forgotten storm: Raiden.Lo Pan: I don’t care for stories. I need you to find me a girl with green eyes!
Lightning: (sighs) Again Lo Pan? Can’t you just be content with brown or blue eyes? Or no eyes at all? Maybe there is a girl who once had green eyes and lost them in a freak accident, couldn’t that work?
Lo Pan: Do you take me for a fool? Find me a girl with green eyes, so that I can finally serve my emperor and end this long suffering curse!
Lightning nods, and in a flash he is gone, leaving Lo Pan to plot.
Back to Miss M, the intrepid toy journalist finally finds her mark.
Miss M: (on the phone with mentor and friend April O’Neil) April, I don’t know what I’m doing. This is all so messy and convoluted. Why do I have to talk to my ex? Jack has just always been a thorn in my side. There’s a reason we never worked! (pauses) April, I’ll be in the office soon. Just don’t let anyone know I’m meeting up with my ex. Michelangelo would probably dislike that.
Miss M hangs up and prepares to greet Jack Burton. She eyes his truck and rolls her eyes.
Miss M: Some things never change. I never should have dated a truck driver. Biggest mistake ever, and I used to love Day-Glo.
Startled, Miss M stands in shock as Jack Burton comes out of his home and gives Miss M a strange glance before erupting in a wide smile.
Jack Burton: I know you. Weren’t you one of my old ladies?Miss M: (rolls her eyes) Yes Jack. It’s been awhile.
Jack Burton: Now, refresh my memory, what happened to us?
Miss M: We dated ages ago. I was the one obsessed with She-Ra. You were the one obsessed with the fear of commitment and the last I saw you, you left with your friend to pick his girlfriend up at the airport. I never heard from you since.Jack Burton: Oh yeah. That was a wild time.
Miss M: Yeah. You practically tossed my feelings overboard.
Jack Burton: Aw come on. Stop getting your panties in a knot. I had lost my damn truck. Some gang stole it out from under me. I fought off some wild-eyed, eight-foot-tall maniac in the underworld of Chinatown. Cut me some slack.Miss M: Well I’ve also been told that you got a movie made out of all your troubles, so forgive me if I don’t feel sorry for you.
Jack Burton: That’s right. Good ol’ Jack Burton did get a movie made after him. It was a John Carpenter flick, maybe you’ve heard of it.
Miss M: Sorry, can’t say that I have. So, what was her name?
Jack Burton: Huh?
Miss M: Oh please. I’m sure there was some dime piece on the side that prevented you from at least, oh I don’t know, calling me to break things off.
Jack Burton: There may have been someone. Not that it matters though. We parted ways.
Miss M: What was her name?
Jack Burton: Why do you care? (speaks quickly) Gracie Law.
Miss M: You gave up all of this (motions both her hands over her body) for Gracie Law!? I see her ads in the paper! You skipped out on a toy journalist for a lawyer?Jack Burton: Hardly. Listen M, I gotta lot on my plate.
A strange noise rustles from off the side.
Miss M: What was that?
Jack Burton: Nothin.
Miss M: Nothin my dorky behind, I heard something. Look, there’s something in the back of your truck!
Screams ring out as Miss M comes face to face with a strange looking creature.
Miss M: What is that?!Jack Burton: Oh what the hell. Pay no mind to that thing; he’s just an ancient Chinese wild man.
Miss M: What are you doing with a Chinese monster?
Jack Burton: The damn thing hitched a ride on my truck years ago. Don’t worry, he looks menacing, but he won’t eat ya. I just feed him old copies of Captain Ron and he’s just fine.Miss M: Don’t do that! Captain Ron is a good movie.
Jack Burton: You would say something like that.
The two settle into a nice conversation once the Chinese Wild Man walks away to munch on some Captain Ron tapes.
Miss M: Well, aside from starring in some movie I’ve never heard of, what else have you been up to?
Jack Burton: What haven’t I been up to? Ol’Jack Burton has been busy. Some toy company made a primo figure of me, I’ve never looked better if I do say so myself. I even have a nice trucker podcast I do when I’m on the road. I call it, “The Pork Chop Express podcast.” It’s a hit.Miss M: I’m sure. So since you seem to have things in order, are there any new loves in your life?
Jack Burton: Nah, who has time for all that? Besides I’ve been busy taking care of the Chinese Wild Man. You want a tequila sunrise?Miss M: No thank you. I’m not really thirsty. It’s a shame you never really settled down with anyone.
Jack Burton: M, women are nothing but trouble; especially women with green eyes. (gets wistful) Gracie had green eyes…
Miss M: Oh give me a break! What’s the deal with green eyes?Jack Burton: All I know is, after I had to endure the horrors of that maniac Lo Pan and his fetish for green eyes, it was too much. I’m a reasonable guy, but I’ve experienced some very unreasonable things.
Miss M: Wait a minute, what did this Lo Pan look like? Was he some tall creepy looking dude with a robe on with white face?
Jack Burton: Maybe.
Miss M: I think I ran into him at this summer’s Conference of Evil.
Jack Burton: Not a chance. Listen M, we had some good times. Better than the times I had with my last wife. But there is no way you saw Lo Pan. At this point, he might as well be an ancient Chinese myth. I’m pretty sure we took care of him.Miss M: (looks skeptical) Right. Well listen, it was very nice to talk to you and everything. I suddenly realize that I am perfectly fine with us breaking up. I have to go now. Have fun with your Chinese monster.
Miss M rushes off and gets on her cellular to contact Barbecue.
Barbecue: Yes?Miss M: Ok, big change of plans! I just got the biggest story. It practically fell on my lap. I’m looking for Lo Pan.
Barbecue: I’m not interested in Chinese.
Miss M: No, listen, Lo Pan is like this deranged evil sorcerer that has a strange interest in girls with green eyes, and after talking with Jack, I think Lo Pan might be the next person I need to talk to! He’s a freakin evil sorcerer!
Barbecue: Yes, well, I’m afraid that isn’t possible. I saw the movie Miss M, Lo Pan died.
Miss M: Ok, I don’t know what movie you all keep talking about, but it was a movie! The real story is always much more complicated! If this Lo Pan is still alive, I can find a way to bring him to justice with my awesome interviewing skills and in the process I will save every girl with green eyes. Don’t you get it?
Barbecue: No. None of this makes any sense. Can you please just give me the information on Jack Burton and end this...
Miss M: Sorry! No can do, I gotta go. I need to find Lo Pan! See ya!
Barbecue: Wait! Don’t hang…
Miss M: So you see, I really have strong reason to believe that Lo Pan is still alive. I’m pretty certain I saw him this summer.Wang Chi: That is impossible Miss M. If he were still alive, we would have heard about it. He wanted to marry my fiancé. He nearly killed Gracie Law.
Miss M: Oh goodness! Her again?
Wang Chi: I see Jack must of told you of the nature of their, well, I don’t know exactly what you’d call their connection.
Miss M: And I really don’t care. I mean, what’s so special about her?
Wang Chi: She had a good heart and she was a lawyer.
Miss M: Oh really? Well, I’m a toy journalist.
Wang Chi: That’s not even a real job…
Miss M: Of course it is! Sort of. Anyways, I really need to find Lo Pan. Do you have any idea where he might be?Wang Chi: You are playing with fire Miss M. Stop this at once or you will turn out like Egg Shen.
Miss M: Hey, where is Egg Shen?
Wang Chi: Not really sure. You might want to try eBay.Miss M: Hmm, maybe later. I’m actually going to find Lo Pan.
Wang Chi: Oh you are a glutton for trouble.
Miss M leaves and walks around trying to figure out where she could find the mysterious and mystical Lo Pan. Unknown to her, someone is watching…
Miss M: Where are you Lo Pan!!! I’m tired.
Miss M: Can I help you?
Lightning: We seek you for an audience.Miss M: Ok.
Lightning: You are going to come with me willingly?
Miss M: Um, I guess so.
Miss M is gone in a flash with Lightning. She is completely unaware that she should never walk away with a stranger; especially a stranger wearing a funky cool hat.
Meanwhile, Wang visits Jack.
Jack Burton: Wang! What are you doing here?Wang Chi: Jack, I think we are in big trouble.
Jack Burton: No, not again.
Wang Chi: I’m afraid so. Miss M just left my place and she was all set on finding Lo Pan.Jack Burton: Aw hell.
Wang Chi: Come on Jack, we need to find her before it is too late and she ends up under a tombstone. You ready Jack?
Jack Burton: I was born ready.
Meanwhile, Miss M finds herself tied to a chair in an undisclosed location...
Miss M: I can’t believe I agreed to follow him. I'm so dumb. This is just ridiculous. (she looks up as Lo Pan and Lightning enter.)
Lo Pan: (looks disappointed) You told me she had green eyes!Lightning: And she does! They are blue now, but they change upon what she is wearing.
Lo Pan: Wait, I know this girl. I saw you at the Conference of Evil! This silly little dork girl won’t help end this curse! I don’t want her for my bride. I’m stepping out, once I return, you better find me a girl with green eyes.
Lo Pan exits.
Miss M: Well that was just rude.Lightning: You have no idea. Lo Pan insists on green eyes. He even knows when they wear contacts. Sigh. I grow tired of his pickiness.
Miss M: Yeah, I bet. Well… I guess you really won’t need me around anymore. Can you untie me now?Lightning: No. I will return with Lo Pan, along with your fate.
Miss M: Gulp.
Sitting alone, Miss M wonders how she will survive this latest misadventure. Pondering the meaning of the universe and the unpredictability of the box office, Miss M soon finds herself in the company of another.
Miss M: What?! You’re the Chinese Wild Man monster!
Miss M: Say, how about you get me out of here.
Chinese Wild Man: (nods before making a low growl)
Miss M: Just don’t eat me or anything. I’m not as yummy as Captain Ron VHS tapes.
The Chinese Wild Man works at freeing Miss M.
Miss M: Thank you! Thank you! How could I ever repay you?Chinese Wild Man: (shrugs and lets out a low growl)
Miss M: Hmm. I know a lady that could totally fix your nails up. You look like you could use a nice trim. Do you like a glossy gel coat?
Chinese monster: Hrm. (Translation: I should have left her tied up.)
As the two prepare to escape, they both find themselves caught by Lo Pan and Lightning!
Miss M: Double crap.Lo Pan: Ah! What have we here? My pet Chinese Wild Man has returned to me. I’ve been looking for you.
Chinese Wild Man: (growls viciously)Lo Pan: Look at this fowl creature. He thinks he can talk to me like that. He must think he is death proof. Lightning, kill the girl!
Lightning prepares to strike Miss M with a bolt, but the Chinese Wild Man steps in the path to protect her.
Miss M: What is happening right now? Is this real life?
The Chinese Wild Man swoops forward and claws away at Lightning, tossing his body to the side. Lo Pan makes a move to vanquish both the Wild Man and Miss M. He soon finds those actions to be riddled with errors.
Swiping at Lo Pan, the Chinese Wild Man frightens the eight foot tall maniac. Calling for a fall back, Lo Pan and Lightning both quickly escape, leaving Miss M and the Chinese Wild Man alone.
Miss M: For a scary looking thing, you sure are cute. Thank you.Chinese Wild Man: Gruu. Ahh gruu ewu. (Translation: Thank you for the compliment. I find you mildly annoying.)
Miss M: What was that?
In a loud crashing sound of explosions and bullet fire, Jack Burton and Wang Chi crash in, ready to save the day.
Jack Burton: Finally. I was beginning to think we would need to chew our way in.Wang Chi: Never give up Jack.
Jack Burton: There’s my Chinese Wild Man. Miss M, where’d Lo Pan go?
Miss M: He hightailed it outta here when the Chinese Wild Man started attacking.
Wang Chi: (looks worried) Oh no Jack. If Lo Pan is on the loose again, than Miao Yin might be in trouble, we need to find her.
Jack Burton: And Gracie. She might be in trouble too.
Miss M: Oh here we go again with the darn Gracie.Jack Burton: Look Miss M, you and I had something special. And I went and screwed it up. I think we’re both in different places now. If things had been different, maybe it could have been the best of times.
Miss M: Well, that’s nice of you. Gosh Jack, maybe you aren’t such a jerk after all.
Jack Burton: (turns to Wang Chi) Come on Wang; let’s go after Lo Pan, fast and furious.
Wang Chi: Yes Jack. Good bye Miss M. (Wang Chi rushes off)
The Chinese Wild Man looks at them both.
Chinese Wild Man: Gruu ah kiki pthu. (Translation: God, aren’t you even gonna kiss her goodbye?)
Jack Burton: What the hell.
Jack leans in and kisses Miss M. Caught by surprise; Miss M feels a wash of nostalgia caress her lips. As the kiss ends and their lips part, Miss M stands back feeling slightly light headed.
With the goodbyes said, Jack prepares to leave, with some lipstick on his lips.
Miss M: (tries to point out the lipstick on Jack’s lips) Oh, Jack, wait…
Jack Burton: (interrupts her) One last thing M, could you make sure my pet Chinese Wild Man gets home? Feed him some copies of Captain Ron too. I’m out.
Jack Burton quickly leaves. Miss M turns to stare at the Chinese Wild Man.
Miss M: Really? This is it?Chinese Wild Man: Arr ugh fhew. (Translation: About damn time.)
A day later…
Miss M: So there you go. Word for word. That is my account with Jack Burton and Lo Pan. All of them. Well, not all of them. I didn’t come across Egg Shen or Gracie Law.
Barbecue: Yes, this is all very interesting. If you could, how would you rate these interesting characters?
Miss M: Well Jack Burton gets an epic score. I think he has never looked better. As far as sculpts go, his has stood up rather well. Wang Chi also gets an epic, though I must say, the only minor complaints I could have for both Jack and Wang are the lack of articulation in the arms. Those elbows look like they’d hurt being in that pose for awhile. Also, their accessories don’t always stay well placed in their hands. Lo Pan gets an epic score too, if only because he is Lo Pan. The detailing on his robe is very nice. Lightning is another epic. The removable hat and other details make him something to behold. However, the knife that came with him cannot be held in his hand at all. As for the Chinese Wild Man, well, what else can I say? Epics all around! The Chinese Wild Man looks like he stepped out of the screen. My only wish is that the characters and line had continued well into the second rumored series.
Barbecue: Yes, I think we can all agree on that. Very well Miss M. Is that all?Miss M: No! We can’t just rest now. Don’t you see? Something must be done! Lo Pan is a menace, and he isn’t going to stop. Forget the reviews and interviews; we need to help Jack and Wang!
Barbecue: Yes, well, as interesting as this all is, I must say Miss M, you certainly did your part. Thank you for helping me, but that is all. You’re life points will be in the mail.
Miss M: That’s it? I nearly died at the well manicured hands of Lo Pan. You aren’t even going to want me to follow this story? A war between good and evil is about to unfold with some supreme martial arts skills, and this is it?
Barbecue: Yes, I’m afraid so. Have a very nice day.
Miss M: But…
Miss M walks away wondering if the universe will be all right or if it will all go up in flames.
Barbecue sits back and awaits a visitor.
Lo Pan quickly makes his presence known.
Lo Pan: Where is Mr. Burton?
Barbecue: Yes, I figured you’d show up soon enough. I found the location of Jack Burton, his friend Wang Chi too. However, they’re coming for you Lo Pan. The time has come for you to pay for all your crimes. Jack Burton can take it.
Lo Pan: Of course he can. I won’t soon forget this trap Barbecue. You tricked me! You and the dork girl will pay!
Lo Pan quickly vanishes as Barbecue continues about his day. He sits at his desk, trying to figure out how he will make sense of these events and how he will explain it all to the boss.
(What? Barbecue17 has no boss!!)- The Editor/ BBQ17
(What? Barbecue17 has no boss!!)- The Editor/ BBQ17
Meanwhile, Miss M heads home with many thoughts of the previous day racing through her mind. While in mid-thought, and for just one moment, she swears she can feel the Earth quake and see the poison arrows falling from the sky. She smiles knowing that Jack and Wang must be making the pillars of Heaven shake. All smiles, Miss M grins, “They both can take it.”
Wow! Great sculpts for being made by a small toy company, one that sadly didn't survive, but nonetheless, the figures look very close to the people. I haven't seen "Big Trouble in Little China" in years, but I do remember it well, so seeing the figures brought back a lot of memories.ReplyDelete
I thought you wrote for NERDSociety.com too, I'm sure a lot of people would be interested in your articles there--you are quite popular in the review circles you know!
I think I'll start checking out ThEpicReview from now on, it appears BBQ has a lot of interesting topics.
Fun review and story as always and of course the photos are awesome, nice job!
Glad you liked the write-up here. Miss M. really outdid herself on it!Delete
Big Trouble in Little China is one of my favorite movies and I somehow never acquired these figures! Maybe someday I'll snag them! N2 toys was a really interesting company. They had some great sculpts and hit right around the time when anything and everything could be turned into action figures. They managed to get some decent licenses (The Matrix, Mad Max, and the Tick) but never quite obtained success.
Such a great movie! I wish I'd've known about these toys when they came out. Great review, it was very fun to read!ReplyDelete
Thank you Mason, Paladin, and Barbecue! I had a lot of fun writing this and I really had a blast incorporating Barbecue as a character!ReplyDelete