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Big Trouble in Little China [Blu-ray] by Director: John Carpenter
Review by Charles Mohapel
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment Blu-ray  ISBN/ITEM#: B0028ZDJF8
Date: 24 August 2009 List Price $29.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / / Show Official Info /

Given that I'm a fan of martial arts movies, Kim Cattrall, and Kurt "Action Man" Russell, I really don't know how I missed seeing Big Trouble in Little China in the theaters when it first came out, but I did.

When the email informing me that it was coming out on Blu-ray arrived, I almost passed on reviewing it as not being Science Fiction or Fantasy, but when I found out that it included Chinese mysticism and black magic, I was able to rectify that in time to receive a copy.

John Carpenter (WGA)
Writing credits:
Gary Goldman (written by) &
David Z. Weinstein (written by)
W.D. Richter (adaptation)

Kurt Russell ... Jack Burton
Kim Cattrall ... Gracie Law
Dennis Dun ... Wang Chi
James Hong ... David Lo Pan
Victor Wong ... Egg Shen

Big Trouble in Little China
Kurt Russell frequently plays hard nosed characters that appear to be all "thud and blunder" that over the course of the film, develop into something greater than they were. His Jack Burton is no different and fortunately for him, his quick mouth is matched only by his quick reflexes.

When Burton tries to help his friend Wang Chi, they find themselves caught up in a double kidnapping by the Lords of Death, a brutal Chinatown gang. Worst of all the gang are working for an immortal Chinese sorcerer named David Lo Pan and his three powerful henchmen named Thunder, Rain, and Lightning. Lo Pan needs to marry a girl with green eyes in order to become mortal again. Burton, Wang Chi, and their allies must outwit and defeat the superior forces of Lo Pan.

Special Features:
Commentary with Director John Carpenter and Actor Kurt Russell
CM: In this featurette from 2001, Carpenter talks and Russell laughs a lot, occasionally adding something informative or tossing in funny quips. Who knew that movie mogul Barry Diller just didn't get this movie -- I didn't. We learn how this script was originally written as a Western, but was successfully modernized by W.D. (Rick) Richter who wrote the adaptation.

Here my recommendation is to watch this fast paced, action/comedy first, then go into Special Features and watch it again with the Commentary on. While it lacks the frenetic pace, the version with commentary is even more hilarious than the film alone.

All New Isolated Score Track in 5.1 DTS (Dolby Theater Sound)
CM: Watching the movie with only the music playing and no dialogue was interesting for the first few minutes, but quickly lost its appeal.

Deleted Scenes
CM: Most of the scenes are taken from grainy scratched working prints and were all worthy of the editor's skills. Goodbye and good riddance to them all.

Extended Ending
CM: Watching this version, I agree 100% with their decision to remove the one additional scene we see here since it really did very little to wrap up the film.

Vintage Featurette
CM: Kurt Russell (Jack Burton), John Carpenter (Director), Dennis Dun (Wang Chi), Kim Cattrall (Gracie Law), James Hong (David Lo Pan), Richard Edlund (Visual Effects Producer), and April Ferry (Costume Designer) talk about making the film in a featurette that was likely recorded back in 1986.

Music Video
CM: Cheesy but fun, this music video looks like something from the very first days of MTV.

Richard Edlund Interview
CM: As an aficionado of special effects, listening to one of the greats in the field talk in detail about his work on the film was a real treat.

Trailer A
CM: Enjoyable and made me want to see the film in the theaters.

Trailer B
CM: Enjoyable but grainy.

Spanish Trailer
CM: Combining Spanish subtitles and a Spanish "narrator", it was entertaining, especially when I was able to compare the subtitles with the English dialogue.

Behind-The-Scenes Gallery
CM: An mildly entertaining slide show where the images change every 4 seconds, but that dragged on for way too long.

In my opinion Big Trouble in Little China is a wonderful Blu-ray release best watched with a big bowl of fresh popcorn and large drinks for everyone.

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