Big Trouble in Little China is a seminal ’80s action-comedy cult film that has seen endless DVD & Blu-ray releases. The newest edition, from Shout! Factory, features several new audio commentaries with the crew as well as new featurettes with many of the performers in the film. It’s a solid release for fans of the film who want more behind-the-scenes information.
Yes, the Chinese stereotypes are cringeworthy and sometimes downright nasty. It is the definition of a problematic favorite. Arguments that Wang Chi (Dennis Dun) is the real hero of the story aren’t technically wrong, but they also named him as such to get mileage out of Jack Burton (Kurt Russell) saying the word “wang.” Same goes for Egg Shen (Victor Wong). None of this has really aged particularly well.
At the same time, John Carpenter’s manic, almost nonsensical caper story about Burton trying to rescue his trucks from three kung-fu masters who can control thunder, lightning, and rain is nonstop, goofy excitement. Russell’s performance as Burton is probably his best ’80s role in a run of iconic collaborations with Carpenter. His idiot bravado, constantly self-defeating confidence, and physical comedy even made my wife laugh — and she hates his archetype as much as anything else in cinema.
There are plenty of editions of Big Trouble available on home video, but the new Shout! edition adds enough special features to make this release worthwhile. It is the standard-release cut from the special edition they also released, which included a vinyl of the soundtrack, a poster and a nice case. That edition retails at $50 on their website right now and seems like a nice piece for collectors.