If you grew up in the 80s, you probably loved Big Trouble in Little China as much as I did. You probably watched it over and over again like I did. You probably drew your own comics chronicling the further adventures of The Pork Chop Express, just like I did. Actually, scratch that last part. I may have said too much. It’s classic John Carpenter goodness and it’s still one of my favorite WTF movies. So much of it makes no sense, and yet it’s so highly watchable and re-watchable and re-re-watchable. I love movies that are batshit crazy and don’t take themselves too seriously, and this one fits that bill perfectly. So far I’ve passed on the overwhelming majority of Funko’s ReAction figures on the grounds that a lot of them just miss the point. Making Kenner style figures of properties from 1990 and beyond, like Pulp Fiction and Firefly, just doesn’t make much sense to me, but I’m not judging anyone who digs them. Big Trouble on the other hand was a great license for them to score. Yeah, technically it missses the true “Vintage Kenner” Era by a couple of years, but it’s not that much of a stretch. It’s also a license that I desparately wanted figures from when I was a kid. Had they been made, it probably would have been the last line I collected before getting out of toys.
There are a total of six figures in this series, which is a lot more than I thought the film would warrant, but upon review of the character selection, I think they were all good choices. You get Jack Burton, Gracie Law, David Lo Pan, and the three Elements: Thunder, Rain, and Lightning. Some fans may ask, where are Wang and Egg, but I don’t think either of them were distinctive enough to get their own figures and I believe Funko went the right route as to not water down this line too much.
The figures all come on the same card, which draws its art directly from the movie poster. The only thing unique is the characters’ names printed above the bubble. On the one hand, it’s a bit of a lazier approach than actually giving each character their own card. On the other hand, I totally dig this artwork and it looks fantastic printed on an action figure card. To me the ReAction series should largely be about things we never got, and this is exactly what I would have loved to have back in 1986. I also don’t feel nearly as conflicted over whether or not to open them. If I ever want a carded example from this line later on down the road, I can just pick up one figure to get the full effect of the line, but I doubt it’ll ever come to that. Anyway, I’ve got a lot of figures to get through and you know what Jack Burton always says in a situation like this. Who? Jack Burton… ME!
I’ve seen this figure get a pretty lukewarm reception when it was first revealed, but I actually dig it a lot. Yes, the head is oversized, but I actually think they did a pretty good job with the portrait. These are retro style 3 3/4″ figures, so the fact that I can see even a little of Kurt Russell in there is good enough for me. If nothing else, they certainly got the hair right. The other thing they got right is his wife-beater shirt with the artwork printed on it. It’s easily the high point of this figure and goes a long way to identify him with the character. Other points of interest include the watch on his left wrist and the defined muscles in his exposed arms. You also get a pair of accessories, which include his combat knife and machine pistol.
For Gracie Law, they went with her in her ceremonial garb, which was a good choice, because it makes for a far more interesting figure than her street clothes. Again, for the style we’re going for here, the likness to Kim Cattrall ain’t bad. I like that she’s got a paler face to simulate the makeup and they even included her mole. The outfit is well done right down to the classic “robe legs” with the split down the middle just like old Kenner Obi-Wan used to have. She comes with a fairly intricate head dress that just clips right on the front of her head.
David Lo Pan is quite recognizable, mostly because he’s wearing a rather distinctive outfit. Again, you get those “robe legs” split down the middle and some respectable detail, like the extended finger nails on his pinky fingers! The hat is nicely sculpted and painted, and and the dragon decorations on his robes are actually both sculpted and painted on. Lo Pan comes with the little Beholder monster, which is just a lump of sculpted fleshy plastic.
And that brings us to the Elements, which to me turned out to be the real stars of this series. I kind of expected these to be quick and dirty remolds of the same figure, but as far as I can tell the straw hats (permanently sculpted to the head) are the only parts that are reused and I have to give Funko props for that. Each figure includes a removable cape and their own signature weapon from the movie. Rain has his claw weapons, Thunder has his knives, and Lightning has his propellers. OK, the propellers are the weakest of the three, they just look like wrenches. But, points for trying!
As always, these retro-style figures all feature the simple five points of articulation. The plastic used here feels really good and I’m happy to see that Funko is starting to paint the faces rather than leave them bare plastic, because they look so much better this way.
Funko’s Big Trouble line gives me everything I’m looking for out of the ReAction series. It’s an 80’s property that should have gotten action figures (but didn’t) and I truly believe the figures and card art were executed with some love of the property. In short, they did good here and these figures definitely scratch a nagging itch that goes back about 30 years. I also dig the whole “one and done” mentaility of these. I get one wave of figures to represent the movie on my shelf and I can move on. Of course, that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t be glad to see these characters turn up in the Legacy line. Even a one-off of Jack Burton would be most welcome, but honestly, I love this move enough that I’d be on board for a full wave.