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Big Trouble in Little China (Special Edition)
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(May 22, 2001)
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Big Trouble in Little China is in its full unedited form in this special-edition two-disc set. Some real effort has been put into both discs' animated menus, and the film itself is terrific in 2.35:1 and Dolby 5.1 (or DTS). The commentary by Carpenter and Russell may not be as fresh as their chat on The Thing, but clearly they both retain an enormous affection for the film. There are eight deleted scenes (some of which are expansions of existing scenes), plus a separate extended ending that was edited out for the right reasons. You'll also find a seven-minute featurette from the time of release, a 13-minute interview with FX guru Richard Edlund, a gallery of 200 photos, 25 pages of production notes, and magazine articles from American Cinematographer and Cinefex. Best of all for real entertainment value is a music video with Carpenter and crew (the Coupe de Villes) coping with video FX and '80s hairdos. --Paul Tonks
- Deleted Scenes
- Commentary by John Carpenter and Kurt Russell
- Special effects montage with commentary by Robert Edlund
- Still gallery and advertising gallery with magazine articles
- Music video
- Trailers and TV spots
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Top Customer Reviews
THOUGHTS: Crazy mish-mash of several genres is all kinds of whacked out fun if you're in a silly frame of mind. Carpenter throws in everything but the kitchen sink and both he and his talented cast play it fast & loose and have a great time. So will you. Visual F/X are snazzy old school opticals (courtesy F/X maestro Richard Edlund), combined with practical make-ups and ultra-energetic stunt work. The result is a truly one-of-a-kind flick that rather defies description. Suffice it to say that it is wildly uneven, over-the-top, hyper-kinetic, senses-staggering and unashamedly silly. But most of all it's just a highly entertaining 100 minute roller coaster ride.
THE BLU-RAY: This hi-def release of BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA arrives in super sweet shape. Picture is in its proper 2.35:1 'scope format and looks extremely clean & sharp. This is a nice improvement over the old DVD. Speaking of which, the excellent audio commentary with director Carpenter & star Russell is ported over from the DVD edition. It's a very entertaining listen. These guys have done several movies together and have a lot of fun reminiscing. Blu-ray includes additional bonus material, including an extended ending, 9 deleted scenes, an interview with visual effects supervisor Richard Edlund and lots more. Well worth the purchase (or upgrade) if you're a fan of Carpenter or this particular film. Climb aboard The Porkchop Express and buckle yourself in for one wild ride! 5 STARS
If you haven't seen "Big Trouble" yet, it is probably one of the best blendings of action and comedy that has ever been made. It's so unique in fact that you have to take the movie for "what it is", without alot of preconceived notions. It is NOT a straightup action movie, and for those looking at Kurt Russell in a white tank on the front cover, thinking they are going to get a version of "Die Hard" set in china-town, they are going to be sorely disappointed. It's somewhat of a unique genre Carpenter's created, and the closest I have seen recently is the The Good, the Bad, the Weird [Blu-ray], although even then "Big Trouble" is more over the top and contains supernatural elements.
Ultimately I view Big Trouble as a combination satire / homage to some older b-movies, and it perfectly walks a fine line of poking fun of that style while still highlighting the best parts of what made them great. At 100 minutes the movie is paced perfectly so that it never wears out its welcome, and aside from b-grade special effects that are part of Carpenter's take on all of this there is very little to criticize (there are bad 80s haircuts here but hey, this was an 80's movie). The film also includes great dialogue by Russell that is only surpassed by "Caddyshack" in terms of post-viewing quote potential.
The supporting cast is excellent. The true co-star is played by Dennis Dunn, who is the yin to Russell's yang. In Carpenter's original vision he wanted to play up the fact that Russell's character was equal part hero, equal part bumbler, and that side-kick Dunn was like the "Green Hornet's" Kato, the real star of the show. I don't think the movie itself got changed much, but from a studio marketing standpoint they wanted to make this look like more like a typical action movie starring a traditional hero. Those false expectations were probably one of the reasons the movie was a box office disappointment, even though now it is one of those DVDs you'll easily be able to look forward to watching once every year.
The movie also features love interest and leading lady Kim Cattrall before she was famous from "Sex and the City", ancient bad guy James Hong ("Seinfeld, table for four?") playing the supernatural ghost who gleefully wants to "marry a chinese girl with eyes the color of creamy jade so that he can set aside his old man's body, become flesh, and rule the universe from beyond the grave" (insert creepy giggle here). His character, Lo-Pan, lords over a trio of supernatural right-hand men that are great martial artists with elemental powers like lightning and wind (two are real life action stars in their own right in their native China). Even among the legions of disposable henchmen in his army you'll see some of the most well recognized kung-fu extras from the 70's and 80's running around with their oversized meat-cleavers and equally oversized fumanchus. The supporting cast member who really steals the show, Victor Wong, plays a good guy black magic expert who drives a San Francisco tour bus by day and roams the sewers underneath at night, armed only with his maniacal eyes, paunchy stomach, sharp tongue, and hurled spells from out of his "six demon bag".
I'm comparing this bluray to my two-disc enhanced widescreen dts "special edition" (Fox Cat# 2001439). That version had a LOT of special features on its own, and the bluray includes ALL of those items and more. The best is probably a 5.1 DTS isolated score track, essentially letting you treat the whole movie as an elongated soundtrack of Carpenter's score, although there are some long periods of silence. Still, it allows you to really see how Carpenter used the music for effect with all the dialogue and special effects stripped away. Everything is now also on one disc of course, so you're not having to swap anything out of the DVD player for access.
I do believe the picture is greatly improved as well. I'm not going to make any claims that it is as eye-popping as the aforementioned "The Good, The Bad, & The Weird", but it is a true upgrade over previous versions and represents probably the best transfer we're going to get. The other extras and product details listed by Amazon are accurate, and hey, who doesn't want the opportunity to be able to watch the movie subtitled in Thai?
If you don't have a sense of humor or a fondness for the best of b-movies, Big Trouble won't be for you. If you do, this disc is worth picking up regardless of whether it will be your first time watching it or if you are adding it to your old worn out collection going back to VHS. You'll like it enough that the fact that you now own four copies truly won't bother you, especially at this ridiculously low price.
It's in quite a few movie categories: Action, Fantasy, Horror, Comedy. The director even said
that the studio did not know how to promote the movie. Oh, well. At least now I have had the
ability to upgrade to a Blu-ray version. (Have the DVD version from a few years ago.)
Kurt Russell was perfect for the role he played. Thank you Kurt. The other actors also were
quite well selected. Even the real hero character's actor, Dennis Dun, worked out well. His
character, while appearing to be secondary, is the real hero. Kurt Russell plays the in your
face side kick, (but very entertaining).
Some of the special effects and stunts are dated, (the movie was released in 1986). Never
the less, still reasonable unlike other 1980s movies and T.V. shows. The Blu-ray version's
special features are all standard def, (and some of poor video quality). But that's likely due
to the source video, not the Blu-ray transfer. It's just the best we can get without serious
video processing, (which is not warranted for this movie's special features).
All in all, great entertainment.
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