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34 Things We Learned From the ‘Big Trouble in Little China’ Commentary

Big Trouble In Little China
Twentieth Century Fox
By  · Published on July 12th, 2012

It was about this time last year that I began looking over the shelves of the book cases holding my wide assortment of DVDs, most of whose special features had barely been cracked open to say nothing of the commentaries they held. For that first endeavor into this new column now known as Commentary Commentary, we listened to John Carpenter and Kurt Russell wax poetic about the isolation and creepy slimies that went into making The Thing.

Now, for our 1-year anniversary, we’re going back to that same charismatic duo to listen to them talk about another of their many collaborations, Big Trouble in Little China. Unfortunately, Carpenter and Russell didn’t contribute commentaries for all of the films on which they worked together. We are lucky, though, that one of the films which they do speak about together is this masterpiece of ancient magic and sly, cynical wit from its main “hero.”

To listen to Carpenter and Russell speak about Big Trouble in Little China is enough to shake the pillars of heaven. So, as Burton might say, what the hell. Let’s climb aboard the Porkchop Express and find out all the great things we learned from this commentary track. Everyone else can go down to the Hell of Boiling Oil. Chinese have a lot of Hells, you know.

Big Trouble in Little China (1986)

Commentators: John Carpenter (director), Kurt Russell (actor), still not enough talk about Captain Ron:

Best in Commentary

“In a sense, what people are talking about nowadays is that we were ahead of our time it seems like in any one of the movies we worked on together. People get it later.” -Carpenter

“You can always tell somebody’s sense of humor by if they like this movie or not.” -Russell

“Look at this guy. He hasn’t a clue what’s going on.” -Carpenter on Jack Burton

Final Thoughts

As with the commentary they gave us for The Thing, the Big Trouble in Little China commentary is a thing of both enjoyment and insight. Just listening to Kurt Russell and John Carpenter talk about this film and the industry as a whole pure entertainment. Yes, they diverge from speaking on this movie specifically, but, when you’re getting this much information about so many varied topics, it doesn’t both you as much. Hearing Carpenter talk about the origins of the Kung Fu movie and how they were viewed in China like the Hollywood Westerns were here brings up so many bits of interesting insight.

Even more enjoyable is how open and honest these two are about this film and the way it was handled. Neither hold much back with only hinting here and there of titles of other films they’ve worked on or other actors or directors they’ve had to deal with. We can assume who or what they’re talking about more or less, but the guessing game is part of the fun.

With this commentary as well as the one they provided for The Thing, it’s a shame John Carpenter and Kurt Russell didn’t provide more commentaries for their works. In particular, it would be great to hear them talk about their first collaboration, that “Elvis” TV movie they bring up a few times here. Hell, we’d even like to hear them commentate movies they didn’t work on together. Captain Ron anyone?

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