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    About This Item

    Unique ID Code: 0000019140
    Added by: DVD Reviewer
    Added on: 9/6/2001 12:17
    View Changes

    Big Trouble in Little China (US)

    9 / 10
    6 votes cast
    Rate this item
    Inline Image

    High adventure in an underground kingdom!
    Certificate: PG-13
    Running Time: 99 mins
    Retail Price: $26.95
    Release Date:

    Directed by thrill master John Carpenter, this edge-of-your seat adventure stars Kurt Russell as Jack Burton, a tough-talking, wisecracking truck driver whose hum-drum life on the road takes a sudden supernatural tailspin when his best friend`s fiancée is kidnapped. Speeding to the rescue, Jack finds himself deep beneath San Francisco`s Chinatown, in a murky, creature-filled world ruled by Lo Pan, a 2000-year-old magician who mercilessly presides over an empire of spirits.

    Dodging demons and facing baffling terrors, Jack battles his way through Lo Pan`s dark domain in a full-throttle, action-riddled ride to rescue the girl. Co-starring Kim Cattrall, this effects-filled sci-fi spectacle speeds to an incredible, twist-taking finish.

    Special Features:
    Interactive Menus
    Scene Access
    Commentary by John Carpenter and Kurt Russell
    Deleted Scenes
    Interview with Richard Edlund
    Still Gallery
    Production Notes
    Magazine Articles
    Music Video
    Trailers and TV Spots

    Video Tracks:
    Widescreen Anamorphic 2.35:1

    Audio Tracks:
    Dolby Digital Surround 2.0 English
    DTS 5.1 English
    Dolby Digital Surround 2.0 French
    Dolby Digital 4.1 English

    Subtitle Tracks:
    CC: English

    Directed By:
    John Carpenter

    Written By:

    Victor Wong
    James Hong
    Dennis Dun
    Kim Cattrall
    Kurt Russell

    Casting By:
    Joanna Merlin

    Soundtrack By:
    Alan Howarth
    John Carpenter

    Director of Photography:
    Dean Cundey

    Edward A. Warschilka
    Mark Warner
    Steve Mirkovich

    Costume Designer:
    April Ferry

    Production Designer:
    John J. Lloyd

    James Lew
    Jim Lau
    Larry J. Franco

    Executive Producer:
    Paul Monash
    Keith Barish

    Your Opinions and Comments

    9 / 10
    "It`s all in the reflexes". Ah yes, Big Trouble in Little China. A dying breed of motion picture where the characters are likeable, the story is fun and the overall product is selflessly tongue-in-cheek.

    I distinctly remember seeing this as a kid and being pretty bowled over by the fantasy/adventure elements, all of which have aged surprisingly well!. Considering the complete lack of CGI and all the "short-cuts" that more recent films frequently use, I`m pleased to report that the effects and action are still excellent in places and passable at worst. So, with "I bet it`s badly dated" worries firmly behind you, the movie experience can begin in ernest and you won`t be disappointed!.

    The acting is relaxed and camp and in some cases intentionally exagerrated, especially when they rattle through exposition in a spoof-like way!. It`s not to everybody`s taste, but you can`t deny that it`s suitable for this crazy mixture of genres and helps keep the tone light-hearted. There are lots of quotable lines and comedic moments, but as with all Carpenter`s early films, it doesn`t dissolve into an overly laugh-orientated mess. All the ingredients are judged perfectly (Fantasy, Comedy, Romance, Action, Mild-horror) and the resulting mixture is memorably entertaining.

    The discs are fantastic aswell!. Disc one has the film with the option of DTS or AC3 and a commentary (Carpenter/Russell). Disc two has deleted scenes, featurette, interview and a music video which IS spectacularly dated and worth a look on that basis alone!.

    This is a completely engrossing film and I say that as a very sceptical film-fan who is very wary of blockbusting entertainment fare these days. If all of the recently panned movies (Pearl Harbor/Mummy Returns etc) had so much as an ounce of the fun that this picture has, then I`d readily defend them. Unfortunately though, a diverse and bizzarely concocted film such as this may be a long time coming because the studios are too scared to take risks these days. So, as you may have guessed, I recommend you grab a copy of BTILC as soon as you can.
    posted by Tony Vado on 26/7/2001 05:46
    8 / 10
    this is john carpenters funniest film to date,with a great performance from kurt russel and the now out dated special effects its a total laugh!,as for the extras the deleted scenes are good but this is another waste of a 2-disc set!.
    posted by verhoeven on 15/12/2001 09:25
    9 / 10
    John Carpenter`s homage to Hong Kong film, Big Trouble In Little China is a great film. It is a film that never takes itself or anything seriously and what the viewer gets is a highly enjoyable, witty martial arts/action/horror film. Kurt Russell is exceptionally good as Jack Burton, a guy who is into something way over his head but doesn`t realise it.

    Visually the film is great and the transfer does do it justice and the sound is also very good. The features are good and plentiful, with the audio commentary with Carpenter and Russell being the pick for me.

    A good time movie in a good 2 DVD set.
    posted by wazza on 27/12/2001 14:23
    8 / 10

    When trucker Jack Burton (Kurt Russell) accompanied his friend Wang Chi (Dennis Dun) to the airport to meet his green-eyed fiancé, Miao Yin, he never expected to get caught up in the supernatural battle between the forces of good and evil! But when a Chinese street gang named the Lords of Death kidnaps Miao Yin, the trail leads Jack and Wang beneath the streets of Chinatown, where they encounter a two thousand year old sorcerer named Lo Pan (James Hong) and his minions, the Three Storms.

    In order to fulfil an ancient prophecy that will make him flesh and blood once more, Lo Pan is seeking a green-eyed girl to take as his bride. To this end, he takes Miao Yin to his underground lair. Jack and Wang team up with "fearless" lawyer Gracie Law (Kim Cattrall), and local magician Egg Shen (Victor Wong) in order to infiltrate Lo Pan's domain and rescue Miao Yin.

    Probably the best thing about Big Trouble In Little China is Kurt Russell's portrayal of Jack Burton. Unlike most modern films, our "hero" is an inept buffoon who is often guilty of opening his mouth before engaging his brain. It is Russell's willingness to act the fool that makes his character so endearing. He plays Jack as a swaggering, cocksure kind of guy, who is in reality completely and totally out of his depth. The real hero of the piece is Dennis Dun's Wang (if you'll pardon the expression), and the two characters compliment each other perfectly.

    Kim Cattrall is great as Gracie Law, although her acting isn't quite up to the standard that it is today. Still, that lends her character a certain innocent charm. I also enjoyed the sexual tension between her character and that of Jack Burton, and this tension is used as the catalyst for some of the film's more amusing moments. However, one character ever so nearly steals the show - Victor Wong's "Egg Shen." Egg, local magician and authority on Lo Pan, offers up gems of fortune cookie wisdom while leading our heroes deep into the heart of Lo Pan's empire.

    Big Trouble in Little Chine features a lot of guys running around with what appears to be wicker lampshades on their heads, while performing such impossible stunts as flying, riding lightning bolts and blowing up like hot air balloons! It's this completely wacky sense of fun, high-kicking kung fu action and comedic elements that makes Big Trouble In Little China so great. It's a totally unpretentious movie, not afraid to ridicule itself or the audience's preconceptions of how an action hero should behave.

    The film contains some great martial arts action, and you'll be witness to several scenes that are very reminiscent of a certain Keanu Reeves movie. Just remember, Big Trouble In Little China did it first! When it comes to energetic, witty action films, you don't get a lot better than this. Some may criticise the fanciful plot (or apparent lack thereof), but I urge you to see the film before dismissing it. You won't regret it.


    This release of Big Trouble In Little China sports an anamorphic 2.35:1 transfer and is the best looking version of the film to date. There are a few scratches here and there, but on the whole the print is very clean. Colours are strong and vivid, especially the bright neon that features heavily in Lo Pan's lair, while flesh tones are very natural. The image is also highly detailed, with good contrast and shadow detail for the most part. Fox are to be commended for delivering yet another fine transfer.


    Both Dolby Digital 4.1 and DTS 5.1 surround mixes are included on the disc. However, it must be noted that the DTS track comes from the same source as the Dolby one, and is really a 4.1 track posing as 5.1. By this I mean that the mono surround channel of the Dolby mix has simply been encoded into the left and right discrete surround channels of the DTS mix.

    Both tracks are fairly pleasing, but are found wanting when compared to modern day mixes. The front of the soundstage is fine, with the dialogue firmly rooted in the centre and some nice panning effects in the left and right channels during the action scenes. The rears don't fair quite as well, offering only limited usage of the surround channels for ambient effects. Bass is also slightly weak on the Dolby track. The DTS on the other hand has slightly more punch than the Dolby equivalent, with more aggressive use of the subwoofer and surround channels. The DTS mix also sounds slightly fuller. Also included are Dolby 2.0 Surround tracks in both English and French.


    Probably the most interesting extra is the audio commentary from John Carpenter and Kurt Russell. I had the pleasure of listening to the pair on the commentary track for Carpenter's The Thing, and was hoping for a similar tack on this release. I wasn't disappointed, as this commentary is every bit as good as the aforementioned one. It's clear that both Carpenter and Russell really enjoyed making the film, and the pair have a great rapport. The banter between them is fantastic, and really helps to make this one of the better commentaries I've heard. Be it reminiscing about the other actors, or discussing the on-set antics, there's hardly a dull moment in this often-amusing track.

    Moving on to the second disc we find three theatrical trailers, two English (in both widescreen and pan & scan) and one Spanish (widescreen). Next up we have a series of six 4:3 TV spots, which don't really sell the film particularly well. All trailers and TV spots are presented in Dolby 2.0.

    On to the next menu and we come to the bulk of the disc's supplemental material. Eight deleted scenes are on offer, which are largely just extensions of the scenes in the completed film rather than offering anything new. Presented in widescreen, these scenes are mostly sourced from workprints or videotape, and as such the quality is often very poor. Some of the scenes offer the choice of watching a series of cuts from the workprint, or the whole scene from the videotapes, which is a nice touch. All scenes feature introductory text that explains exactly what they're about. One scene features a multi-angle option, in which it is possible to view storyboards for elements that never made it into the completed scene. Finally, the last deleted scene is a compilation of odds and ends from various sources, some of which do not appear in the finished film. Also included is an extended ending, but this is definitely one occasion when the original ending is far superior. Still, it makes for an interesting bit of viewing.

    Next up we have a kitsch music video by the The Coupe De Villes featuring, among others, director John Carpenter on bass and vocals! The video is pure 80s cheese at its best/worst, and manages to make this terrible song quite amusing (completely unintentionally of course). The original 1986 promotional featurette runs for a little under eight minutes, and features plenty of on set interviews and behind the scenes footage. This is fine for what it is, but it's pretty lightweight stuff at the end of the day.

    Some standard production notes and some very lightweight cast & crew filmographies finish are included, but probably don't deserve more than a glance. Two interactive magazine articles from Cinefex and American Cinematographer are also included. Similar to a feature found on the Special Edition DVD of Die Hard (another disc produced by David Prior), the text is accompanied by boxes containing full motion video and images, which can be selected at key moments throughout the articles. These are very interesting if a little hard on the eyes.

    A thirteen and a half minute interview with special effects maestro Richard Edlund follows. Presented in multiple angles, Edland discusses key special effects and makeup sequences from the film. Angle one shows Edlund with various slides appearing in a small box in the top left of the screen. Angle two shows these slide full screen while Edlund commentates. This section of the disc is rounded off by an extensive still gallery and DVD credits.


    Big Trouble In Little China is an excellent, fun-filled movie. The combination of fish-out-of-water hero, martial arts, magic and comedy makes for a highly entertaining ride. It is charming, funny and full of rousing action and adventure. The wait has been worth it, as Big Trouble In Little China comes to DVD in fine style. Highly recommended to all Carpenter fans, and the rest of you could also do a lot worse than to buy this one.
    posted by Chris Gould on 21/12/2002 01:51
    9 / 10

    Another classic from director John Carpenter, yet another great teaming of Carpenter-Kurt Russell. The story is a little whacky and stupid but Kurt Russell is brilliant as trucker Jack Burton. Sex and The City`s Kim Catterall gives a good performance as well. With some shaky CGI and some over the top action it is overall very enjoyable.


    Both DD and DTS on offer, DTS is the better of the two tracks as you should expect.


    A pleasing transfer


    The commenatry is very good and informative by John Carpenter and Kurt Russell. The deleted scenes are worth a look and the featurette is too. The extended ending isn`t that good just an extra minute or so.
    posted by the_film_king on 7/8/2003 19:19
    8 / 10
    I`m a great fan of Carpenter`s work, Up until `They Live` anyway. Big Trouble in Little China` is difficult to get bored with...
    posted by Richard73 on 1/12/2003 16:49