Jack Burton carries his belongings in a saddle and wears those crazy boots, which makes sense, considering the character began in the Old West. Instead of looking for the Pork Chop Express, Jack would have been searching for his favorite horse. Big Trouble in Little China was first conceived as a Western, set in 1899 San Francisco. Burton brought meat to the Chinese workers who were building the railroad. The original writers described the tone as Indiana Jones meets Romancing the Stone.
48 Hours director Walter Hill passed on the script, which then went to Buckaroo Banzai director W.D. Richter.