Characters: Big Trouble in Little China

Jack Burton

  • Action Hero: Averted. He tries to be all tough and macho, but everything just backfires on him. On the DVD Commentary, John Carpenter and Kurt Russell said that Jack is a man who thinks he's the action hero, but really he's the sidekick.
  • Bad Ass: Appears less so compared to Wang, but he is a legitimate badass too, willing to walk into mortal danger beside Wang, taking out quite a few Mooks over the course of the film, and of course killing Lo Pan.
  • But Now I Must Go: Well, he is a truck driver, so it's part of his job.
  • Catch Phrase: "It's all in the reflexes."
  • Did Not Get the Girl: He doesn't hook up with Gracie despite their chemistry. In an interesting variation, it's by choice. "Sooner or later I rub everybody the wrong way."
  • Ice-Cream Koan: Jack's weird, rambling philosophical speeches are intended to be the equivalent of the cliche ethnic sidekick's 'ancient wisdom'.

Gracie Law

A crusading lawyer with an interest in Chinatown affairs and social justice. She is considered an annoyance by everyone in Chinatown.

  • Distressed Damsel: Her role in the story.
  • Hello, Attorney!: She is played by Kim Cattrall and a lawyer.
  • Fake Mixed Race: Gracie Law is implied to be a woman of mixed European and Chinese descent due to her interest in Chinatown affairs, considering them her people, and the fact she qualifies as a Chinese woman with green eyes due to Lo Pan's equal. Kim Catrall is not of Chinese descent in any way.
  • The Load: No one in Chinatown takes her very seriously.

Wang

A local restauranteur who is engaged to be married and friends with Jack Burton.

David Lo Pan

An ancient Chinese sorcerer cursed by Shang Di to become a bodiless spirit. He is now leader of a criminal syndicate in Chinatown.

  • Be Careful What You Wish For: He wants to regain his mortal form. He does, and Jack promptly puts a knife in his head.
  • Big Bad
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    Lo Pan: Shut up, Mr. Burton! You were not brought upon this world to "get it"!
  • Evil Is Hammy: You can tell James Hong had fun playing this role.
  • Evil Overlord: Has ambitions to become one of these and isn't far from it now.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: Part of his mind control abilities, sometimes accompanied by a Throat Light.
  • Humanoid Abomination: Whatever Lo Pan is, he's no longer human. He can appear young or old. He may be a ghost "playing at being a man," he may be possessed by a demon, he may have only made a deal with (or been cursed by) a demon for immortality, but Lo Pan himself claims that he is "like nothing you can understand."
  • Nice Hat
  • Really 700 Years Old: He's around 2000 years old.
  • Throat Light: As part of his mind control powers.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: Granted, agelessness has its advantages, but he's clearly rather sick of being rendered incorporeal.
    • Worse, Lo Pan does age in his human form since it may not look 2000 years old but not for lack of trying.

Egg Shen

A local tour-bus driver (and secret sorcerer) who is enemies with Lo Pan.

Eddie

A worker at Wang's restaurant.

  • Action Survivor: Lacks Wang's skills but handles himself in a fight (as well as killing) reasonably well.
  • Hidden Depths: Is able to find out what happened to Wang's fiance fairly easily.

Margo

Mao Yin

Wang's wife-to-be from China.

Thunder

  • Body Horror: When he loses control of his strength-giving inflation powers, the end results aren't pretty.
  • The Brute: Of all the Storms, this is the one who uses the most straightforward attacks. Graceful elegance is...not his thing.
  • Driven to Suicide: When he sees Lo Pan dead, he is upset because without anyone to serve, he can't go on living. So he blows himself up.
  • Nice Hat: He shares this trope with the other two Storms.
  • Pop Goes the Human: His eventual fate.

Rain

  • Bad Ass: Noteworthy among the three Storms, as he uses no fancy powers in combat aside from flight—his swordfight with Wang Chi is otherwise a contest of pure skill.
  • Lightning Bruiser: As is the norm with the demigod Storms.
  • Nice Hat: He shares this with the other two Storms.

Lightning