Sunday, September 18, 2022

Big Trouble In Little China – Scream Factory (Blu-ray)

Theatrical Release Date: USA, 1986
Director: John Carpenter
Writers: Gary Goldman, David Z. Weinstein, W.D. Richter
Cast: Kurt Russell, Kim Cattrall, Dennis Dun, James Hong, Victor Wong, Kate Burton, Donald Li, Carter Wong

Release Date: December 3rd, 2019
Approximate Running Time: 99 Minutes 49 Seconds
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVCC
Rating: NR
Sound: DTS-HD 5.1 English, Dolby Digital Stereo English
Subtitles: English SDH
Region Coding: Region A
Retail Price: $27.99

"Kurt Russell stars as Jack Burton, a tough-talking truck driver whose life goes into a supernatural tailspin when his best friend's fiancée is kidnapped in John Carpenter's Big Trouble In Little China. Jack suddenly finds himself in a murky, danger-filled world beneath San Francisco's Chinatown, where Lo Pan, 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 a full-throttle, action-riddled ride to rescue the girl."  - synopsis provided by the distributor

Video: 4/5

Big Trouble In Little China comes on a 50 GB dual layer Blu-ray.

Disc Size: 45.1 GB

Feature: 27.9 GB

No information has been provided about the source used for this transfer. That said, it appears to be the same source Fox used for their 2009 Blu-ray and the source used for Arrow Video’s 2013 Blu-ray.

A more recent source transfer would have been welcome, since the source used for all Blu-ray releases is starting to show its age. All things considered, the result is a transfer that looks good.

Audio: 4.5/5 (DTS-HD 5.1 English), 3.75/5 (Dolby Digital Stereo English)

This release comes with two audio options: a DTS-HD 5.1 mix in English and a Dolby Digital stereo mix in English. The stronger of these two audio mixes is the DTS-HD 5.1 track. It sounds clear and balanced. When it comes to range, the score and ambient sounds are appropriately robust. The Dolby Digital stereo track sounds clean, clear, and balanced, and the ambient sounds are well represented. Included with this release are removable English SDH subtitles.

Extras:

Extras on disc one include photo galleries: Movie stills (78 images), posters (81 images), and lobby cards, publicity photos, and behind-the-scenes photos (181 images), five TV spots (3 minutes 9 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), three trailers (7 minutes 6 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), a vintage audio interview with director John Carpenter (5 minutes 49 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), archival electronic press kit (27 minutes 56 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), gag reel (2 minutes 56 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), music video (3 minutes 28 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), deleted scenes: Airport - source workprint (5 minutes 58 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), Airport - video tape source (7 minutes 7 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), The Dragon of the Black - source workprint (2 minutes 47 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), The Dragon of the Black - source video tape (4 minutes 29 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), The White Tiger - source workprint (2 minutes 22 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), The White Tiger - source video tape (7 minutes 15 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), Gracie’s Office (3 minutes 46 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), Thunder’s Tour (1 minute 41 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), Beneath Chinatown (2 minutes 27 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), Lava Sequence (3 minutes 56 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), and Six Demon Bag (11 minutes 56 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), extended ending (3 minutes 17 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an option to listen to the isolated score, an archival audio commentary with John Carpenter and actor Kurt Russell, an audio commentary with producer Larry Franco, and an audio commentary with special effects artist Steve Johnson, moderated by filmmaker Anthony C. Ferrante.

Extras on disc two include an interview with actor Dennis Dun titled You’re The Hero (14 minutes 14 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an interview with actor James Hong titled The Soul Of Lo Pan (23 minutes 57 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an interview with actor Donald Li titled Able To Be Myself (18 minutes 29 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an interview with actor Carter Wong titled The Tao Of Thunder (25 minutes 47 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English with removable English subtitles), an interview with actor Peter Kwong titled The Tao Of Rain (28 minutes 34 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an interview with actor Al Leong titled The Hatchet Man Speaks (6 minutes 32 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an interview with screenwriter W.D. Richter titled Damn Wiley Prescott And The Horse He Rode In On (20 minutes 31 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an interview with screenwriter Gary Goldman titled It Was A Western Ghost Story (27 minutes 50 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an interview with associate producer/martial arts choreographer James Lew titled The Poetry Of Motion (35 minutes 1 second, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an interview with The Coupe De Ville’s Member Nick Castle titled Into The Mystic Night (12 minutes 35 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an interview with second unit director/The Coupe De Ville’s Member Tommy Lee Wallace titled Since We Were Kids (28 minutes 51 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), a conversation with movie poster artist Drew Struzan titled Love And Art (17 minutes 4 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an archival interview with John Carpenter titled Return To Little China (12 minutes 14 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an archival interview with Kurt Russell titled Being Jack Burton (20 minutes 57 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an archival interview with cinematographer Dean Cundey titled Carpenter And I (15 minutes 38 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an archival interview with Larry Franco titled Producing Big Trouble (15 minutes 21 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an archival interview with stuntman Jeff Imada titled Staging Big Trouble (12 minutes 29 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an archival interview with visual effects artist Richard Edlund (13 minutes 25 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), and a vintage featurette (7 minutes 26 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles).

Other extras include reversible cover art.

Summary:

The first half of the 1980’s is widely considered John Carpenter’s peak period as a filmmaker. Then, in 1986, came a film called Big Trouble in Little China, which marked the end of this fruitful period for John Carpenter. To put it more bluntly, the studio had no faith in Big Trouble in Little China and it arrived dead on arrival. Fortunately, Big Trouble in Little China has found its audience via the home video market and now, almost thirty years later, it is also finally receiving the critical praise it deserves.

Structurally, Big Trouble in Little China is on solid ground as it follows the standard blue print that one would expect from a hero-themed film. All of the characters are perfectly realized, and their motivations are all crystal clear. Pacing is never an issue as each moment unfolds with a sense of purpose. Visually, once again, John Carpenter is in top form as the visuals firmly entrench the viewer into the world he is creating. Also, considering when Big Trouble in Little China was made, it is surprising just how well all of the special effects and monsters hold up.

When discussing Big Trouble in Little China and why everything so effortlessly falls into place. One needs to look no farther than its melting pot of genres. Big Trouble in Little China has it all: comedy, romance, action, drama, and a little bit of horror thrown in for good measure. It is this avoidance of pinpointing Big Trouble in Little China in one specific genre and just letting the story speak for itself that is Big Trouble in Little China's most durable asset.

From a casting standpoint, this is a remarkable cast that far exceeds what it would have looked like on paper. With the anchor being Kurt Russell (Escape from New York) in the role of a truck driver named Jack Burton, who gets caught up in the battle in Chinatown. Another great twist that Big Trouble in Little China exploits for all its worth is how the usual hero would have been a character like Jack Burton, and instead they may have made him the bumbling sidekick. And the end result is easily Kurt Russell’s most memorable and accessible character that he has portrayed to date.

As previously stated, the rest of the cast is also very good, with Kim Cattrall (Police Academy) playing a dimwitted reporter and Jack Burton's love interest, Dennis Dun (The Last Emperor) playing Wang Chi, who is essentially the hero, and, last but not least, James Hong (Blade Runner) playing David Lo Pan, the diabolical nemesis for Jack Burton and Wang Chi. He so utterly embodies evil in the role of David Lo Pan.

From its opening moments, right on up until its unforgettable climax, Big Trouble in Little China is a highly entertaining film that, like fine wine, gets better with age and subsequent viewings.

Despite its dated transfer, this release from Scream Factory is by far Big Trouble In Little China’s best home video release to date, which comes with a ridiculous amount of interviews and audio commentaries that clock in at over twelve hours.








Written by Michael Den Boer

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Shogun's Samurai The Yagyu Clan Conspiracy – Discotek Media (Blu-ray) Theatrical Release Date: Japan, 1978 Director: Kinji Fukasaku Writ...