Dec 022019

Big Trouble in Little China isn’t one of my favorite films of the 80s nor is it one of my favorites from John Carpenter, but despite some lackluster character development and a plot that feels a bit disjointed, ignoring all of that makes for a fun flick.



Big Trouble in Little China
— Collector’s Edition —

Genre(s): Action, Comedy, Fantasy
Shout Factory | PG13 – 100 min. – $0.00 | December 3, 2019

Date Published: 12/02/2019 | Author: The Movieman

Directed by: John Carpenter
Writer(s): W.D. Richtner (adaptation), Gary Goldman & David Z. Weinstein (written by)
Cast: Kurt Russell, Kim Cattrall, Dennis Dun, James Hong, Victor Wong, Kate Burton, Donald Li

Features: Commentaries, Interviews, Featurettes, Promotional Material, Galleries
Slip Cover: Yes
Digital Copy: No
Formats Included: Blu-ray
Number of Discs: 2

Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1), English (Dolby Digital Surround)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 2.35
Subtitles: English SDH
Disc Size: 48.46 GB
Total Bitrate: 40.02 Mbps
Codecs: MPEG-4 AVC
Region(s): A

Shout Factory provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Blog Post.
The opinions I share are my own.

THE MOVIE — 3.5/5

Plot Synopsis: Jack Burton (KURT RUSSELL) is a tough-talking truck driver whose life goes into a supernatural tailspin when his best friend’s (DENNIS DUN) fiancée (SUZEE PAI) is kidnapped. Jack suddenly finds himself in a murky, danger-filled world beneath San Francisco’s Chinatown, where Lo Pan (JAMES HONG), a 2,000-year-old magician, mercilessly rules an empire of spirits. Facing down a host of unearthly terrors, Jack battles through Lo Pan’s dark domain in this action-riddled ride to rescue the girl.

Quick Hit Review: Big Trouble in Little China is a movie I’ve only seen once before and that was many years ago and viewing it again (late November 2019), for one I didn’t remember very much of it and second, afterwards, not entirely sure I would place this as some sort of 1980s classic in any way; hell it’s probably not even in the top five within John Carpenter’s illustrious career. That being said, there’s no doubt it’s a fun, if not disjointed, ride with Kurt Russell seemingly having a good time and I can say this for Carpenter, I do appreciate he can switch it up and not get stuck with one genre or another.

The story itself is pretty insane, or inane depending on your point of view, and perhaps that’s why this film has a pretty strong fan base. The plot and the villain’s plot is dumb but admittedly humorous needing green-eyed women to lift a curse, and a showdown that, to its credit, is pretty bonkers. Having said, that, and while I did like Kurt Russell, he really doesn’t get a whole lot to work with as the character is on the blander side and shared very little chemistry with Kim Cattrall’s tenacious lawyer character, not entirely sure, but seemed like they were kind of going for an Indiana Jones/Marion dynamic… Didn’t work, or at least not enough scenes to build that relationship.

Directed by John Carpenter (who, as usual, also composed the entertaining score), Big Trouble in Little China probably doesn’t have much replay value for me, and although I don’t feel it’s some 1980s classic or anything, I can see why there is a fandom behind it. I suppose if you still haven’t seen it and enjoy a cheesy fantasy-action flick, it’s perfectly fine viewing on a night you just want to sit back and relax.



This release comes with a matted slip cover and the interior cover is reversible. This is a two-disc release with the majority of new content on disc two, including several interviews. This is yet another fantastic release by Shout Factory.

Disc One:
Audio Commentaries:

  • Producer Larry Franco
  • Special Effects Artist Steven Johnson, Moderated by Filmmaker Anthony C. Ferrante
  • Director John Carpenter and Actor Kurt Russell

There are three tracks included here, two of them new to this release. While I did like the new commentaries, the best is still with Carpenter and Russell, two friends kicking back and still delving out information and tid-bits on the production.

Vintage Interview with John Carpenter (5:49) — Audio only clip from circa 1986 as he explains the plot, working again with Kurt Russell and other bits of information.

Also includes 3 Theatrical Trailers (7:06); 5 TV Spots (3:09); an Electronic Press Kit (27:26) featuring promotional profiles on the actors; a Gag Reel (2:56); a cheesy Music Video (3:28) for the theme song, 8 Deleted Scenes a few of which offered the option of watching the Work Print or Video Tape; an Extended Ending (3:17), and Photo Galleries (Movie Stills, Posters and Lobby Cards, Behind-the-Scenes).

Disc Two:
There is an incredible amount of new and old interviews, the new content amounts to over four hours worth (4:19:25) while the old ones totals to 1:30:04, so all told nearly six hours of interview footage!

  • You’re the Hero (14:14) — Actor Dennis Dun
  • The Soul of Lo Pan (23:57) — Actor James Hong
  • Able to Be Myself (18:29) — Actor Donald Li
  • The Tao of Thunder (25:47) — Actor Carter Wong
  • The Tao of Rain (28:34) — Actor Peter Kwong
  • The Hatchet Man Speaks (6:32) — Actor Al Leong
  • Damn Willie Prescott and the Horse He Rod In on (20:31) — Writer W.D. Richter
  • It Was a Western Ghost Story (27:50) — Writer Gary Goldman
  • The Poetry of Motion (35:01) — Martial Arts Choreographer James Lew
  • Into the Mystic Night (12:35) — The Coupe De Villes Member Nick Castle
  • Since We Were Kids (28:51) — Second Unit Director Tommy Lee Wallace
  • Love and Art (17:04) — Movie Poster Artist Drew Stuzan
  • Return to Little China (12:14) — Director John Carpenter
  • Being Jack Barton (20:57) — Actor Kurt Russell
  • Carpenter & I (15:38) — Director of Photography Dean Cundey
  • Producing Big Trouble (15:21) — Producer Larry Franco
  • Staging Trouble (12:29) — Stuntman Jeff Imada
  • Visual Effects Artist Richard Edlund (13:25) didn’t get his own featurette title…

There’s quite a lot here to digest as you can imagine. Focusing mostly on the new interviews, each one pretty much delve into their upbringing and how they came to Hollywood and eventually working with John Carpenter on Big Trougle. Some are a bit more interesting than others, but any fan of this film will be blown away by the amount of material.

Vintage Featurette (7:26) which is a promotional piece and includes on-set interviews with Carpenter, Russell, etc.


VIDEO – 4.5/5

Shout Factory releases Big Trouble in Little China onto Blu-ray presented in its original 2.35 widescreen aspect ratio and given a 1080p high-definition transfer. Since there’s no mention either on the back cover or on Shout’s website about some new restoration, I’m not sure if it was authored from the Fox release (and no longer own that version to make a direct comparison) or came from the Arrow UK release (doubtful). In any case, this is a good looking picture even acknowledging based on what I read online, this perhaps did undergo some sort of sharpening. With that said, yes detail is well defined throughout while colors do appear to have a decent pop to them in what is a colorfully lit picture. I did notice an instance or two of specs though nothing distracting.

AUDIO – 4.0/5

The movie comes with a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track and, like the picture, probably came from another source rather than having undergone some kind of restoration. Despite that, this is still a very good sounding track, dialogue comes through cleanly with no hissing, pops or other flaws, and there is a fair amount of depth for the action scenes including the chaotic fight scene at the end of the film.


OVERALL – 4.5/5

Overall, Big Trouble in Little China isn’t one of my favorite films of the 80s nor is it one of my favorites from John Carpenter, but despite some lackluster character development and a plot that feels a bit disjointed, ignoring all of that makes for a fun flick that one can sit back and just enjoy for its insanity.





Check out some more 1080p screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.

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