Movie Review: BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA (Collector’s Edition) Blu-ray

BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA was directed by John Carpenter from a screenplay by W. D. Richter, Gary Goldman and David Z. Weinstein and stars Kurt Russell as Jack Burton, a tough-talking truck driver whose life goes into a supernatural tailspin when his best friend’s fiancée is kidnapped. The film also stars Kim Cattrall, James Hong, Victor Wong and Dennis Dun.

Kurt Russell plays hard-boiled truck driver Jack Burton, who gets caught in a bizarre conflict within, and underneath, San Francisco’s Chinatown. An ancient Chinese prince and Chinatown crime lord has kidnapped a beautiful green-eyed woman, who is the fiancee to Jack’s best friend. Jack must help his friend rescue the girl before the evil Lo Pan uses her to break the ancient curse that keeps him a fleshless and immortal spirit.

The story for this 1986 action fantasy cult classic takes place in the underbelly of Chinatown and follows Jack Burton (Kurt Russell), a truck driver with a big mouth who ends up helping his best friend Wang Chi (Dennis Dun) rescue his green-eyed fiancée Miao Yin (Suzee Pai) from Lo Pan (James Hong), a 2,000-year-old evil spirit / powerful sorcerer who has the girl kidnapped so he can marry her and then sacrifice the young woman that will allow him to return to the world of the living. The two get some help from a few friends that includes Egg Shen (Victor Wong), who also happens to be a sorcerer and sworn enemy of Lo Pan. There’s also Gracie Law (Kim Cattrall), a lawyer who kind of becomes Jack’s love interest. She also has green eyes so Lo Pan decides to kidnap her and marry her too. Now the evil spirit can sacrifice one woman and keep the other one for himself.

What happens is, Jack and his pal Wang take on Lo Pan’s goonsquad army that’s led by “The Three Storms” – Thunder (Carter Wong), Rain (Peter Kwong) and Lightning (James Pax), three powerful warriors who can summon the power of weather and use it when they’re fighting. Jack and Wang battle it out with these nearly unstoppable mysterious figures and a number of other surprises thrown at them, that even includes a hairy monster that also does Lo Pan’s evil bidding, and one by one they make their way to the underground lair where the girl’s are being held. The two accidental heroes go through Lo Pan’s evil minions one by one until they finally come face to face with the evil sorcerer and stop him from completing the ceremony before it’s too late. Of course, they all save the day but instead of the big mouth truck driver getting the girl who definitely has the hots for him, he hops in his big rig and hits the road again.

The packaging comes with a slipcover/o-card. I did notice that the words “Collector’s Edition” are not on the slipcover for some strange reason. I’m not sure if this was an error or intentional but the inside artwork does still include the words. The front features the new artwork by Laz Marquez you see at the top of the page and the back includes movie details, some images and list of special features. The reverse sleeve features some original artwork and movie credits so you have your choice of which side you’d like to use for the front cover. The Blu-ray discs feature some artwork that matches each cover. Inserting the disc, the menu screen was simple and easy to navigate. The picture and sound quality for this high-definition release and were crisp and clear. I didn’t have any issues with the video and audio.

Bottom line is, Big Trouble in Little China is a movie that I’ve watched so many times over the years and I never get tired of it. The movie didn’t really find its audience theatrically when it first released back in 1986 but over the years it’s become a fan favorite cult classic that’s one of John Carpenter’s most popular movies. The interesting story about this truck driver with a big mouth who gets caught up in a battle with an ancient ghost in the underbelly of China Town is a unique concept to say the least. I thought the cast did a really good job with their characters with Kurt Russell in the lead as the goofy sidekick. Yeah, he’s actually the sidekick and the comic relief of the story! John Carpenter is a rebel and that’s one of many reasons why I like the legendary filmmaker so much – along with his movies. Here he mashes up numerous genres to create one wild and crazy roller coaster ride. Big Trouble in Little China is an extremely fun watch that has elements of action, comedy, martial arts, horror, fantasy, romance and even a monster movie in it. The sets are big, the special effects are impressive but the laughs are what drives this baby home for Carpenter who does such a great job telling this story. If Kung Fu Theater was on steroids this is what we’d get. Big Trouble in Little China will be available on a 2-Disc Blu-ray Set on December 3rd.

Distributor: Scream Factory

Run Time: 99 Minutes

Rated: PG-13

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (2.35:1)

Blu-ray Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and 2.0

Subtitles: English

Special Features: The impressive list of extras include over four hours of brand-new interviews with some of the cast and crew, vintage interviews, new and vintage audio commentary, an isolated score track, three theatrical trailers, five TV spots, EPK, gag reel, music video, deleted / extended scenes, an extended ending, a vintage featurette and multiple image galleries.

Disc 1:

  • NEW Audio Commentary with producer Larry Franco
  • NEW Audio Commentary with special effects artist Steve Johnson, moderated by filmmaker Anthony C. Ferrante
  • Audio Commentary with director John Carpenter and actor Kurt Russell
  • Isolated Score
  • Theatrical Trailers (07:06)
  • TV Spots (03:09)
  • Vintage Audio Interview with John Carpenter (05:49)
  • Electronic Press Kit – interviews and profiles (27:26)
  • Gag Reel (02:56)
  • Music Video (03:28)
  • Deleted and Extended Scenes
  • Extended Ending (03:17)
  • Photo Galleries – movie stills (06:39), posters and lobby cards (06:53) and behind-the-scenes photos (15:10)

Disc 2:

  • NEW You’re the Hero – an interview with actor Dennis Dun (14:14)
  • NEW The Soul of Lo Pan – an interview with actor James Hong (23:57)
  • NEW Able to Be Myself – an interview with actor Donald Li (18:29)
  • NEW The Tao of Thunder – an interview with actor Carter Wong (25:47)
  • NEW The Tao of Rain– an interview with actor Peter Kwong (28:34)
  • NEW The Hatchet Man Speaks – an interview with actor Al Leong (06:32)
  • NEW Damn Wiley Prescott – an interview with writer W.D. Richter (20:31)
  • NEW It Was A Western Ghost Story – an interview with writer Gary Goldman (27:50)
  • NEW The Poetry of Motion – an interview with associate producer/martial arts choreographer James Lew (35:01)
  • NEW Into the Mystic Night – an interview with The Coupe De Ville’s member Nick Castle (12:35)
  • NEW Since We Were Kids – an interview with second unit director/The Coupe De Ville’s member Tommy Lee Wallace (28:51)
  • NEW Love and Art – a conversation with movie poster artist Drew Struzan (17:04)
  •  Return to Little China – an interview with director John Carpenter (12:14)
  • Being Jack Burton – an interview with actor Kurt Russell (20:57)
  • Carpenter and I – an interview with director of photography Dean Cundey (15:38)
  • Producing Big Trouble – an interview with producer Larry Franco (15:21)
  • Staging Big Trouble – an interview with stuntman Jeff Imada (12:29)
  • Interview with visual effects artist Richard Edlund (13:25)
  • Vintage Featurette (07:26)
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