le 10 janvier 2015
BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA  [Limited Edition SteelBook] [Blu-ray] [UK Release] Jack Burton's In For Some Serious Trouble! Some People Pick The Damnedest Places To Start A Fight!
Following the `Escape from New York' and `The Thing,' John Carpenter and Kurt Russell re-unite for this mystical, action, adventure, comedy, kung-fu, monster and a spooky ghost story!
Kurt Russell plays Jack Burton, a reasonable guy who is about to experience some unreasonable things in San Francisco s Chinatown. As his friend s fiancée is kidnapped Jack becomes embroiled in a centuries-old battle between good and evil. At the root of it all is Lo Pan, a 2000-year-old magician who rules an empire of evil spirits. Jack goes to the rescue dodging demons, goblins and the unstoppable Three Storms as he battles through Lo Pan's dark domain.
One of Carpenters most enjoyable and best loved films, `Big Trouble in Little China' brilliantly juggles delirious set-pieces, comedy and kung-fu action with a razor sharp script of corking one-liners, as Jack would say "It's all in the reflexes". The super-deluxe package, which is available both as a standard Blu-ray and as a Limited Edition SteelBook Blu-ray, is full of special features and bonus materials.
Cast: Kurt Russell, Kim Cattrall, Dennis Dun, James Hong, Victor Wong, Kate Burton, Donald Li, Carter Wong, Peter Kwong, James Pax, Suzee Pai, Chao-Li Chi, Jeff Imada, Rummel Mor, Craig Ng, June Kyoto Lu, Noel Toy, Jade Go, Jerry Hardin, Jimmy Jue, Noble Craig, Danny Kwan, Min Luong, Paul J.Q. Lee, Al Leong, Gerald Okamura, William S. Wong, Eric Lee, Yukio G. Collins, Bill M. Ryusaki, Brian Imada, Nathan Jung, Dan Inosanto, Vernon Rieta, Daniel Wong, Daniel Lee, Lia Chang, Diana Tanaka, Donna L. Noguschi, Shinko Isobe, John Carpenter (uncredited), Dawna Lee Heising (uncredited), Leo Lee (uncredited), Bill Saito (uncredited) and Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa (uncredited)
Director: John Carpenter
Producers: James Lew, Jim Lau, Keith Barish, Larry J. Franco and Paul Monash
Screenplay: John Carpenter, David Z. Weinstein, Gary Goldman and W.D. Richter (adaptation)
Composers: Alan Howarth and John Carpenter
Cinematography: Dean Cundey
Video Resolution: 1080p
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Audio: English: 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, Isolated 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio Isolated Score Soundtrack and English: 2.0 LPCM Stereo [uncompressed]
Subtitles: English SDH
Running Time: 100 minutes
Region: Region B/2
Number of discs: 1
Studio: Arrow Academy / 20th Century Fox
Andrew's Blu-ray Review: `Big Trouble in Little China' is one of those movies that pretty much everyone has heard of, but many may not have seen before. Well, thanks to UK indie label Arrow Academy, you can take a fresh look at this 1980s cult classic, from director John Carpenter.
The film hits the ground running, as we are introduced to Jack Burton [Kurt Russell], a truck driver helping out his friend Wang Chi pick up his fiancé from San Francisco airport. When the fiancé is kidnapped, the pair gives chase, ending up in Chinatown, and stuck in the middle a backstreet gang brawl. It turns out that the fiancé, with her striking green eyes, is needed by the immortal sorcerer Lo Pan, in an attempt to return to physical form. Burton and Chi naturally set off to save the day.
What follows is a real mish-mash of genres, as the film flits between comedy, action, horror and martial arts. John Carpenter certainly deserves credit for being ahead of the pack in bringing the wilder kung-fu action of the Asian cinema to western audiences, even if the box office results suggested they weren't quite ready for it at the time. Certainly, some of the action may look a little stagey and wooden to viewers more familiar with the graceful action from the likes of `The Matrix,' `Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon' or `Hero,' but for its time it was definitely something really fresh.
The mix doesn't always quite work, but the film is held together by John Carpenter's solid direction and a magnetic central performance by Kurt Russell as the cock-sure, heroic, but bumbling Burton. Russell shows his talent for physical comedy here following his more serious and subdued roles in John Carpenter's `Escape From New York' and `The Thing.'
The supporting cast is filled out with quite a few recognisable faces, such as Dennis Dun as Wang Chi, a pre `Sex and the City' Kim Cattrall, and character actors James Hong and Victor Wong. John Carpenter and Kurt Russell have one of those rare director/actor relationships where the films they make together are always worth a watch, and this film is no exception. Wouldn't it be great if they could team up again?
Blu-ray Video Quality – This release is billed as coming with a new restoration supervised the film's cinematographer Dean Cundey, a veteran of John Carpenter films, including `Halloween,' `The Fog,' `Escape From New York' and `The Thing.' Dean Cundey has also worked on bigger hits including the `Back to The Future' trilogy, `Who Framed Roger Rabbit' and uber-blockbuster `Jurassic Park.' The opening scene had me a little worried, as there seemed to be some very slight colour and brightness fluctuation, but after a minute or so that all disappeared and we end up with a truly fantastic transfer. Dean Cundey and his restoration have done a great job here, ensuring colours pop off the screen while never being overblown. The image is wonderfully detailed, with strong black levels and not a hint of DNR [Digital Noise Reduction] or artificial edge enhancement. John Carpenter is famous for using the whole of his cinemascope frame from edge to edge, and this transfer captures every inch perfectly. Does it have the high gloss sheen of a modern movie? No, but it's a faithful representation of the original film, grain and all, and it's totally awesome and brilliant. Please Note: Playback Region B/2: This will not play on most Blu-ray players sold in North America, Central America, South America, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Southeast Asia.
Blu-ray Audio Quality – For the audio, we get a choice of 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and 2.0 stereo tracks. Given the age of the movie, it would be wrong to expect an all-action, multi-channel feast for the ears, but we do get a very nice soundtrack clean-up. The tracks are free of hiss and crackles, with clear dialogue. There's not a massive amount going on in the way of directional effects, but the rear channels do help fill out the soundscape with atmosphere. As an aural bonus, we also get an isolated score in 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, which is also very welcome touch. Packaging Quality: This new release is available in a Limited Edition SteelBook packaging, featuring the original artwork by the legendary Drew Struzan. You may not recognise the name, but Drew Struzan has provided the artwork for some of the most iconic posters in movie history, including the `Indiana Jones,' `Back to The Future' and `Star Wars' trilogies, `Blade Runner' and `Harry Potter' the list goes on. For the non-SteelBook Blu-ray release, Arrow Academy presents the film with a reversible cover, featuring Drew Struzan's artwork on one side and a newly commissioned piece by Jay Shaw.
Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:
High Definition presentation of the film from a digital transfer prepared by Twentieth Century Fox.
Audio Commentary: Commentary with director John Carpenter and star Kurt Russell: First up is a commentary track with John Carpenter and Kurt Russell. While not new, it's carried over from the old inferior NTSC DVD release and it's a great listen. John Carpenter and Kurt Russell have a great chemistry, and their friendship really comes across here. The refreshingly candid track is full of laughs and anecdotes, and is highly recommended listening.
Special Feature: Return to Little China: A brand new interview with John Carpenter [1080p] [13:00] In this video interview, the director John Carpenter of `Big Trouble in Little China' talks about his professional relationship with Kurt Russell and the different films they did together. Mr. Carpenter also discusses the difficult production history of `Big Trouble in Little China' and the unfortunate treatment the film was given by 20th Century Fox.
Special Feature: Being Jack Burton: A brand new interview with Kurt Russell [1080p] [21:00] In this outstanding new video interview, Kurt Russell discusses his professional relationship with John Carpenter, and recalls how he was approached to play Jack Burton, the various improvisations he did during the shooting of the film, the disappointing advertising campaign for the film in the United States, etc.
Special Feature: John Carpenter and I: A brand new interview with cinematographer Dean Cundey [1080p] [16:00] Director of photography Dean Cundey recalls his work on a number of John Carpenter's films, and specifically `Halloween' and `Escape From New York.' Dean Cundey also discusses the very unique production design of `Big Trouble in Little China,' the different looks of San Francisco's Chinatown and the world beneath it and how they were lensed, etc.
Special Feature: A New interview with producer Larry J. Franco [1080p] [16:00] In this video interview, producer/first assistant director Larry J. Franco discusses his professional relationship with John Carpenter and there are some great comments about his contribution to ‘Elvis’ and ‘The Fog’ as well as John Carpenter's desire to have Kurt Russell play Snake Plissken in ‘Escape from New York,' the casting of The Three Storms in `Big Trouble in Little China,' John Carpenter's dissatisfaction with the studio system, etc.
Special Feature: Interview with visual effects producer Jeff Imada [1080p] [13:00] In this video interview, actor and stuntman Jeff Imada recalls his contribution to `Big Trouble in Little China' (Jeff Imada played a number of different characters during the action sequences).
Special Feature: Interview with visual effects producer Richard Edlund [1080p] [14:00] In this video interview, visual effects producer Richard Edlund recalls how some of the most unique masks and special effects that were used in the film were done.
Special Feature: Vintage Making-of Documentary featuring cast and crew  [480i] A selection of deleted scenes. The quality of these outtakes does vary, as some have been sourced from video rather than film, but they are worth checking out to gain an insight into how a movie is shaped during the post-production process, as does the extended ending, which brings a proper bit of closure to one of the story strands in the film.
Special Feature: Extended Ending [4:00]
Special Feature: Deleted Scenes: 1. Airport. 2. The Dragon of the Black Pool. 3. The White Tiger. 4. Gracie's Office. 5. Thunder's Tour. 6. Beneath Chinatown. 7. Lava Sequence and 8. Six Demon Bag.
Special Feature: Music Video  [4:00] The original `Big Trouble in Little China' John Carpenter's Coup DeVilles Music Video.
Special Feature: Gallery of behind-the-scenes images [5:00] A collection of production stills and stills from the film.
Theatrical Trailers: 3 Original Trailers for `Big Trouble in Little China.' In English and Spanish.
Special Feature: TV Spots: 1. Remember. 2. Who Is...? 3. Adventure. 4. Beneath. 5. Pay-Per-View and 6. Teaser.
BONUS: Special Booklet: This Booklet contains 40 stunning pages and features new writing on the film by John Kenneth Muir, author of The Films of John Carpenter, a re-print of an article on the effects of the film from American Cinematographer and illustrated with archive brilliant stills and posters. It has four contents, which include: Credits; It’s In The Reflexes; Production Design For Big Trouble and About The Transfer.
Post Script: One quick word of praise for Arrow Academy, they seem to be one of the few companies who don't insist on making the viewer sit through endless menu options, forced trailers and other guff, instead getting us to the main menu in seconds. Compare that to studios like Universal Pictures whose discs seem to take forever to get to the point where you can actually watch the film. Thank you Arrow Academy for getting us to the film so much quicker!
Finally, this is another quality release from Arrow Video. An iconic 1980s action comedy, the perfect pairing of director and actor and ahead-of-its-time kung-fu action, it's great to be able to re-visit `Big Trouble in Little China' after all this years, and find it in such great shape. The new transfer on this Blu-ray disc is a corker, and I dare say the film hasn't looked or sounded as good as this since the day it was released. There's a great selection of new and old extras. The star of the show is of course the classic commentary, but the new interviews are great as well. Whether you want to re-kindle your memories of the film, or you are a new viewer wanting to see what all the fuss is about, this is a totally fantastic professional release and so proud to have this in my ever increasing Blu-ray Collection, especially lucky in having this brilliant Limited Edition SteelBook. Highly Recommended!
Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Fan
Le Cinema Paradiso
WARE, United Kingdom