Big Trouble In Little China: Arrow Review

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“Its all in the reflexes”

John Carpenter has a big cult following around the world and this film, Big Trouble In Little China is one of his personal favourites. Starring Kurt Russell as Jack Burton who arrives in San Francisco and meets up with his long time friend Wang Chi (Dennis Dun) for a bit of fun and gambling. While he accompanies Wang to the airport to pick up his wife to-be flying in from China, all hell breaks loose when she is kidnapped by a triad gang. Together along with lawyer Gracie Law (Kim Cattrall) they pland to invade the gangs base and get back his fiance, but when they come face to face with an ancient sorcerer Lo Pan (James Hong) and his gang , the problems have only just begun.

Great fun and a massive send up of the macho adventure movies, with the twist being that Jack Burton can do nothing right! He is rescued and helped time and time again by his friend and collegues but comes out even more game to help anyone in distress. Kurt Russell is superb in the role, Dennis Dun gives a great performance as Wang Chi and handles the action scenes very well even though he did not know any martial arts before filming. The always reliable James Hong is funny and creepy as sorcerer Lo Pan and look out for Hong Kong Kung Fu movie star Carter Wong in his only real Hollywood role. Sure some of the rubbery monster effects are poor but it adds to the overall charm of the film which has stood the test of time well.

The Blu ray of Big Trouble In Little China released by Arrow is almost identical the the one released by Fox in the USA. It has been tweaked slightly with a better bit rate and its a very good transfer. Never brilliantly sharp it does give the colours and close ups very good detail and fans should be very happy with the release. Audio is served by a 5.1 DTS MA track as well as a 2.0 channel, both sound great, the DTS mix is mostly front channel based with the surrounds used sparingly but still effective. What is on this release but not the USA one is the isolated music and effects track. A welcome addition from Arrow.

Extras are also where the UK disc surpasses the USA one. Firstly we have all the extras ported over from the 2 disc SE DVD including the fabulous audio commentary with John Carpenter and Kurt Russell, extended ending and deleted scenes are included, a vintage featurette and a classic bad music video featuring Carpenter and his band. New to this release are new interviews with John Carpenter, Kurt Russell, Dean Cundey, Larry Franco and Jeff Imada. There is also a booklet featuring new writing on the film by John Kenneth Muir author of The Films Of John Carpenter and a reprint of an article on the special effects. Another great release from Arrow, strangly it is locked to Region B, while the original USA release was all region.  Totally recommended. (Available as a standard Blu ray and a special edition steelbook).

FILM: 8  PICTURE: 8 SOUND: 7.5  EXTRAS: 9