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  • Widescreen 1.85:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  • Dual Layer (RSDL )
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • German: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • Italian: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
    English, Spanish, German, Italian, English - Hearing Impaired, Italian - Hearing Impaired, Croatian, German - Hearing Impaired
  • Audio commentary
  • Featurette - 5 Minute Movie

Big Trouble

Buena Vista/Buena Vista . R4 . COLOR . 81 mins . M15+ . PAL


Big Trouble is yet another film that supposedly suffered the consequences of bad timing in light of the terrible events of 9/11.

Being a comedy with climactic scenes involving lax airport security and a bomb on a plane, honchos figured it was a bad time to release the film. People had suffered enough, it was not the time to throw a comedy film with this kind of imagery in their faces as well, they thought.

Fair enough. Or so we thought…

The fact is, it’s just not a very good film, and the studio should be ashamed for using a tragedy as a scapegoat. They knew what they were doing, and they truly should hang their heads in shame.

Shame on you. Bad boy. Big smack on the nose, you naughty naughty studio. No cocaine for a week!

But enough of the pontificating. This is a DVD review, not 60 Minutes...

Believe me, it pains me to say that it’s not a successful film. You see, it’s written by Dave Barry, one of my favourite authors. He’s a crack up, go over to the Miami Herald website and read his stuff sometime. Believe it or not, he’s won a Nobel prize, or something like that. I should research these things better. Ah, hang on, I think it's a Pulitzer Prize, not a Nobel Prize. Maybe even both, who knows?

But the film, well, it’s just, er… well, it’s okay... ish.

See, like Stephen King, some writing is much better on the page than on the screen. When the theatre of the mind plays along to a good book, all sorts of wonderful and crazy things can happen inside your head. But when you try to recreate that on the screen, it’s not always so easy. Different rules apply. Real life kicks in and says “uh, that ain’t gonna work here, buddy.” I think the difference is that in your mind you create the image exactly how you need it to make the comedy/horror/drama/sex/whatever work just right. On the big screen, it’s left up to someone else and how they see it, and how well the actor can play it. Not only that, but you can take six months to read a book if you want (or if you're a really slow reader), but the movie has about 90 minutes to tell the same story, so something has got to go.

See what I mean? I might be wrong, but this is my review, so that’s not at all likely.

The story is one of those efforts that lazy people would call “Tarantino-esque” in its structure. I’m fairly lazy, so I guess I can live with that assessment. To summarise neatly is just too hard if you want to encompass all the characters and still make it clear. Watch, I’ll list the characters in the film. The two hitmen: they fly in to Miami to kill Arthur Herk who’s ripping off his company. Arthur Herk: he’s the guy ripping off his employers. He has a wife who hates him, a daughter who hates him, and a maid who has to brush off his advances. Herk buys guns from the Russians. The Russians: they own a bar and sell arms and have a nuclear bomb that Arthur buys. Puggy: a drifter/hippy/happy-go-luck type also has just come to Miami in search of good corn chips. He ends up at the bar the Russians own, and lives in a tree on Herk’s property and falls in love with Herk’s maid. Eliot: he’s a journo, just separated, quit his job, has a failing advertising business and a delinquent son who’s playing this game at school where you are given the name of someone and have to “kill” them using a water pistol or similar. Guess who his target is? Did you guess it’s Herk’s daughter? Correct. There are the two cops who seem to be the only ones on duty in Miami. Two derelicts bums who rob the bar and unwittingly steal the bomb. Herk’s wife who falls for the Eliot. And finally the two FBI agents who are trying to track down the nuclear bomb.

I think I got everyone. You see where it is all going? Yep, everyone is going to cross paths, but not like in a small way where it is just a fleeting but pivotal moment and then gone. Nope, this is a comedy, so everyone is going to drag everyone else into everything and pretty soon you have big groups of people after each other etc etc until the resolution, which doesn’t really resolve much.

But don’t let me paint you a picture of a disastrous and completely unentertaining film. It’s not a complete write-off. There are some funny lines and absurd moments, and a few ongoing jokes that play well, but you just have to be honest and say that they’re not enough, or that the rest of the film lets the good bits down, and it has only taken me 762 rambling words to say that. Man, I really suck at this. I need a drink.


Yup, it sure is framed in the precise and expected aspect ratio of 1.85:1, no more and no less, and naturally enough it comes with the obligatory 16:9 enhancement that we all so desire in our DVD transfers lest we should all go nuts and slaughter our pets in retribution. And it’s a reasonably nice looking affair it is, too. It looks to have been shot a little on the darkish side, with sort of oppressive shadows and such, but not so much that it looks unnaturally out of whack, more dullish than anything else, I’d say. Not so the colours, which can take on a neonic appearance when the brighter more vivid hues are up on display. It all sort of gels with how Miami is usually portrayed in media. The transfer itself is good, clear, clean, with a smattering of grain pervading scenes to varying degrees, most noticeably in backgrounds of solid area, but that doesn’t bother me in the least, I’m just reporting the facts for you our cherished and beloved reader. We just want you to adore us, to worship the ground we walk upon, to throw yourselves at our mercy. And send us money.


The audio sounds cheerful and bright. You won’t struggle to understand anything. The level is good, with nice balance across the front, opening up every now and then to fill the room. But it’s more a front heavy mix. The rear channels, although they have a bit going on in there, are mixed a bit low so the nice ambient information which registers when the scenes are outside probably won’t register very well to many people playing this DVD at normal volumes. With no real standout moments, it just hops on its bike and gets to work like a good little soldier. Hut, hut, hut…


A HUGE selection of bonus material to get through here, it will take you literally months to sift your way through it all. Actually, I lie. There’s only two things added to this disc, they are:

5 Minute Film
This compressed version of the film doesn’t make anything any clearer or funnier, or anything really, just much shorter, and the film isn’t long to begin with at only 80-odd minutes. What’s funnier is that the 5 Minute Movie actually runs for 7:30, even though the menu descriptive text says it runs for 7:50. Okay, where’s my beer?

Commentary with Barry Sonnenfeld
He seems like a nice enough chap, knowledgeable and all that stuff. He sounds very droll though, and some of the things he says you don’t know whether he’s joking or serious or just informative. It’s all very scene specific, explaining some setup at times, or the reasons why something has been shot in a certain manner, and you just take it as how he does things, not so much as gospel. Maybe if the film was better you’d give more of a damn.

That’s the lot, what else did you want? A 90 minute documentary for an 81 minute film? Surely you jest?


Not a total flipoff, yet not a total success, either. Big Trouble sits in that uncomfortable ground where you might like it, but you’ll probably not watch it again for many a year to come, and you probably won’t recommend it to friends, or you will but they’re not really good friends, more like acquaintances you only see every few months at the petrol station when you’re filling up with petrol. Your car, that is, not filling up yourself with petrol. That would be silly.

It does have a fairly interesting cast though, that’s for sure. There’s the under-written Tim Allen, the delectable Rene Russo, the great Tom Sizemore, the disturbingly dislikable Stanley Tucci, the hippified Jason Lee, the classy Dennis Farin and a whole bunch of others I couldn’t be bothered rewriting here, go look at the cast details to the left of your screen, no, not on your wall next to your screen in your room, I mean in here on the left of the review in the box that says “Starring”, yes, there, that’s it. Idiot.

Anyway, if you’re in the rental shop and there’s nothing else, maybe rent this. Otherwise, go with that stupid Adam Sandler film you know you want to watch, go on, get it, you know you want to, you never listen to me anyway.

  • LINK: http://www.dvd.net.au/review.cgi?review_id=2191
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      And I quote...
    "...if you’re in the rental shop and there’s nothing else, maybe rent this. Otherwise, go with that stupid Adam Sandler film you know you want to watch..."
    - Vince Carrozza
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Sony DVP-525
    • TV:
          Sony 68cm
    • Receiver:
          Sony STR-DB1070
    • Speakers:
          Wharfedale s500
    • Centre Speaker:
          Polk Audio CS245
    • Surrounds:
          Wharfedale WH-2
    • Subwoofer:
          DB Dynamics TITAN
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard Optical
    • Video Cables:
          standard s-video
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