6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Good, but could have been a lot better,
This review is from: Big Trouble in Little China [Blu-ray] [US Import] (Blu-ray)
BTILC went through many incarnations before it became the movie we are familiar with today. A sequel to Buckaroo Banzai, a Western with Chinese magic, re-written (against the original writers' wishes) as a modern movie, tampered with before, during, and after production. It certainly wasn't an easy project for John Carpenter. Fox had no clue how to promote the film and just dumped it into theatres for the audiences to make up their own minds. Unfortunately it didn't find much of an audience until it hit VHS (in horrid pan-and-scan format).
It's a great film for kids, filled with action, humor and remarkably slick special effects. Upon watching it as an adult you'll probably be less entertained. Kurt Russell plays Jack Burton, a bumbling, overly-confident "hero" who is all hot air and swagger. He's unwillingly recruited by his Chinese friends to venture into the catacombs beneath San Francisco to rescue a girl who is about to be sacrificed to a demon in return for granting flesh and life to a 2000-year-old Chinese emperor. Wow! That's pretty out there. And the fact that the plot is so self-aware of its wackiness prevents it from getting boring. We're constantly bombarded with weirdness and surreal moments. David Lynch once said that audiences would rather be confused than bored. BTILC proves him correct.
The action is a let down. There are a few bland, bloodless, badly choreographed rumbles but Carpenter's slick anamorphic Panavision photography makes the rest of the film look so good it nearly makes up for it. His score has its great moments, but is too dated. Really, this is Russell's film. As Jack Burton he's just hilarious and thankfully he's on screen for nearly the entire running time.
As a cult film it surely delivers. As a studio production it's a bit of an unrefined mess. Though this is no doubt due to Fox slashing Carpenter's production schedule, causing him to quit studio films for good.
The Blu Ray looks stunning in all of it's 2.35:1 glory in 1080p. The DTS HD-MA sound gets the most out of the film's dated sound design. And the extras are plentiful. A solid package indeed and well worth the money.