Big Trouble In Little China - Two-Disc Special Edition 

Starring: Kurt Russell, Kim Cattrall
Director: John Carpenter
Edition Details: Region 2 encoding (Europe, Middle East & Japan only)
, PAL, Box set, Special Edition, Widescreen, Number of discs: 2
Versions: 16:9 Enhanced Widescreen, 4:3 Letterboxed
Aspect Ratio: 2.35: 1
Sound: Digital 5.1 Surround, Dolby 2.0 Surround
Language & Sub-Titles: English, Czech, Danish, Finnish, Hebrew, Hungarian, Icelandic, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Swedish
Audio: Commentary by John Carpenter & Kurt Russell
Documentaries: Featurette, Richard Edlund Interview
Clips: Deleted Scenes, Three Theatrical Trailers, Ten TV Spots, Music Video
Other: Production Notes, Two Magazine Articles



After reading John Carpenter's remarks about this movie in Prince of Darkness by Gilles Boulenger, a book of interviews with the cult director, I became interested in again seeing this 1986 movie starring Kurt Russell again. After all, Russell and Carpenter worked together quite well on Escape from New York and The Thing, although the less said about their made-for-TV biopic about Elvis Presley, the better.

Anyway, Big Trouble in Little China has also acquired a fervent cult following on the Internet so maybe I had missed something back in 1986 when I saw the movie for the first time. Back then I thought it to be an unremarkable (and loud!) Indiana Jones-style action movie. A sort of The Goonies, but with adults.

So being a fair-minded sort of guy (despite what my detractors might say of my review of Lord of the Rings - Return of the King) I decided to check the movie again. On DVD obviously - is there anyone who still bothers with VHS out there?

Well, it seems my initial instincts about the movie were unfortunately correct: Big Trouble in Little China may be a cult movie, but it isn't in particular a cult I would like to belong to though. It is obvious that the movie is also written by W.D. Richter, the author of another cult favourite I didn't quite get named The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension.

Like that movie it is quirky and somewhat offbeat, but unfortunately also hopelessly incoherent and difficult to care about. Big Trouble isn't quite as incoherent as Buckaroo Banzai, but it is also just one damn thing after the other without any coherent structure. Scenes just seem tacked on endlessly. We see people running up and corridors. They fight. Later they run some more and fight some more. Repeat. Add copious amounts of special effects typical of the era, courtesy of Richard Edlund of Return of the Jedi (and Masters of the Universe!) fame.

The net effect is a movie that is difficult to care about. Russell is game as the bungling macho braggart hero, but never quite fun in the same way as Bruce Campbell is in Army of Darkness and Evil Dead 2.

RECOMMENDATION: This kung fu/fantasy/action comedy has its fans, so check it out at your own peril. One however wonders how recently they have actually watched it . . .



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