Yesterday I watched Big Trouble in Little China for the third time in a week. What a hidden gem this film is!

Anyway my question is why did Jack Burton refuse to kiss Gracie at the end? he has already done so twice but then refuses to when they're in the restaurant.

Usually in these types of movies we see the hero kiss the girl regardless of whether he will ever see her again so is there an importance or point to this scene?

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    Jack Burton takes no passengers! Seriously though I always thought it was because he didn't want to show any feelings in case he was rejected, or that he feels that he isn't ready to settle down and prefers his lone wolf lifestyle
    – EdChum
    Feb 23, 2015 at 15:13
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    By the way, if you liked that movie, you gotta love the accompanying music video that John Carpenter did with his own band (including the guy who played Michael Myers behind the mask).
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Feb 23, 2015 at 16:46
  • @EdChum hahahaha thats actually a pretty good answer, I Like it! Feb 23, 2015 at 16:52
  • @NapoleonWilson Yeah, Love that song! its actually at the end of the movie as well! I'm already starting to collect the comics, they were co-written by John Carpenter. Feb 23, 2015 at 16:54
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    Carpenter and Russel talked a bit about it in the commentary, basically that scene was pretty much about subverting expectations, like Burton's whole character was afterall.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Feb 23, 2015 at 17:11

2 Answers 2


The entire point of this movie is that it is a reversal of common action movie tropes.

Throughout the movie, Jack, who is supposedly the hero (and who certainly thinks he is), is consistently upstaged by Wang, ostensibly the "sidekick". He is pulled along by the momentum of the story, never really understanding what's going on, never truly in control, and so he bumbles his way through fights and is just generally a step behind everyone else.

Apart from his Crowning Moment of Awesome against Lo-Pan ("it's all in the reflexes"), he never really accomplishes anything in the movie without someone else's help. It's actually an acceptance of this that allows this moment to happen. After missing the first throw and realizing that he's pretty much screwed everything up, Jack stops trying to be the star and decides to let things play out as they must. He looks at his fate, shrugs, and says, "What the hell."

The last scene is also a reversal. Jack offers to give up the open road for Gracie, where in most westerns, it's usually the woman who tries to tame the wild cowboy drifter and stop his wandering. Gracie turns down the offer and counters that she could come with him, which Jack finds tempting, but in the end, he refuses as well because he knows that these sorts of 'happily ever after' stories probably don't work in the long run.

He also knows he's not relationship material, and he cares for Gracie too much to subject her to that. He prefers to hurt her a little now instead of hurting her a lot later. Refusing the last kiss is part of that. It's a promise that he doesn't want to make to her, right up to the "See you round"/"Never can tell" exchange.

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    But Jack Burton IS the hero. In the end he kills Lo-Pan and saves the day. Yes, he's bumbling, Yes, he's egotistical. Yes, he's all of those things ... but he's still the hero. Well, at least in my book! Great answer, Roger. One of my all time favorite movies and is on my top-10 list! One of John Carpenter's best, if you ask me. Feb 23, 2015 at 23:35

I like all those thoughts and agree. When he refuses to kiss her good bye. I think it is because he is not saying good bye. He needs some time, the relationship need some more time, and he will probably be back later on when he figures it out. It is unsettling...for some...but in a way...he is not telling her good bye. and that is a good thing.

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