Characters / Big Trouble in Little China

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    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.
  • All-American Face: A Deconstructive Parody of this. Burton sports a James Dean pompadour and drawls like John Wayne, but lives up to these iconic images of American masculinity with less than perfect aplomb. Overconfident and always slightly behind the information curve, his bombast sometimes pays off, but more often makes him the butt of a slapstick gag. For a light comic performance, Kurt Russell walks a very precise tightrope, giving Jack a puppyish quality that redeems his made-in-America arrogance. The audience roots for him to succeed, and to be taken down a peg or two along the way.
  • 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."
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    Jack: you can go off and rule the universe beyond the grave...
    Lo Pan: Indeed!
    Jack: Or check into a psycho ward, which ever comes first, huh?
  • 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 Cattrall is not of Chinese descent in any way.
  • The Load: No one in Chinatown takes her very seriously.

    Wang Chi 

A local restaurateur 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 body-less spirit. He is now leader of a criminal syndicate in Chinatown.

  • Age Without Youth: Seems to be part of the curse. See Who Wants to Live Forever? below.
  • 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: All the forces of evil seen in the movie work for him.
  • 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: Several people try to explain what Lo Pan is in vague and often contradicting ways. Whatever he is, he's not human - or at least not anymore. Lo Pan himself claims that he is "like nothing you can understand."
  • Nice Hat: While in his younger form, Lo Pan sports a truly impressive 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?: Subverted, as he DOES want to remain immortal, he just doesn't want to have to give up corporeality to do it. Marrying a green-eyed Chinese girl means he gets his corporeal body back but loses his magic and immortality, and sacrificing the girl to his demon means he gets to have both a physical body and godly power.

    Egg Shen 

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

  • Archenemy: To Lo Pan.
  • Bad Ass Grandpa: An old man but still able to take on Lo Pan.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Boy, is he ever?
  • The Mentor: Plays this role to a small extent.
  • Secretly Wealthy: He drives a tour bus and owns a shop full of random crap... at least to Western eyes. According to Wang the things in his shop are priceless to people with a knowledge of the occult, which gives him significant influence in Chinatown.

    Eddie Lee 

A maitre'd 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 Litzenberger 

A reporter for the Berkeley Peoples Herald caught up in the action while investigating a prostitution ring.

  • Intrepid Reporter: Even while held prisoner in the bowels of Lo Pan's compound, she busies herself writing a first-person account.

    Miao Yin 

Wang's wife-to-be from China.


  • Badass in a Nice Suit: In his non-storm form.
  • 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.