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Headscratchers / Big Trouble in Little China

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  • Lo Pan obviously Didn't Think This Through in his long quest to become flesh and blood again. Didn't Lo Pan realize that making himself flesh again would render him vulnerable to disease, poison, injury, etc.? This ultimately did turn out to be Lo Pan's undoing.
    • To be fair, Lo Pan was also missing out on other things and severely restricted in his ability to influence the world. Presumably, as a sorcerer, he'd have ways of extending his life and his base isn't normally under siege. Jack getting that close to him is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity given all of Lo Pan's bodyguards and mook army were preoccupied.
      • Even then, Lo Pan might have been able to handle him if not for the fact that he (not unjustifiably) considered Jack a complete joke and Jack's knife trick taking him by surprise.
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    • The marriage to a girl with green eyes will make him flesh and blood, the sacrifice of his green-eyed wife will grant him immeasurable power, he says as much in the movie. One of the powers he'd get from sacrificing Gracie would presumably be immortality but without the drawback of being immaterial/old.
  • Likewise, Lo Pan didn't seem to have much of a plan to rule the universe either besides "become mortal and the rest will follow". He may be a powerful sorcerer, but, as a mortal, it only takes a knife to stop him. His mooks are tough, but the lesser ones die to gunfire and it seems like a decent military force could stop his plans for universal domination easily.
    • We don't know just how powerful he would have become had he achieved his objective. Quite possibly, he would have attained godlike power that would have enabled him to do this. He never managed to though, because he never killed either of the women he married.
  • Before Lo Pan completes the marriage to make him corporeal, he is corporeal enough to take a needle and draw blood from his brides to make him flesh again. This is never explained.
    • A Chinese Wizard Did It.
      • Or rather, the gods/demons did it. A very specific part of Lo Pan's curse is that it won't be over until he can perform the ritual. He thus needs to be able to perform the ritual, so an exception to his inability to touch or interact is made only for performing the ritual.
      • He is also corporeal enough to change his clothes. Perhaps the Emperor cursed not just him but also his clothes and accessories (including needles) and Lo Pan has kept very, very good care of them throughout the millennia?
      • His body is clearly made of some sort of ethereal energy since all his powers show bright light shining out from inside him. He probably turns into the little old basket case on wheels by condensing all of that energy, and by expanding it out into his "true" form becomes immaterial; since his body's just energy and he can obviously manipulate energy, he can probably form whatever clothes and accessories he wants.
      • I was just going to say "he can make physical bodies for himself with his leftover magic, and does so sometimes to operate in the modern world, but they inevitably rot away because of the curse". Sounds good.
  • Why do the mooks keep fighting after Lo Pan dies? Thunder saw no point and self-detonated. The rest were just wasting their time and ensuring their own deaths in Lo Pan's collapsing fortress.
    • They might not have realized that Lo Pan was dead. Everybody Was Kung-Fu Fighting, after all...
      • Right, Thunder is the only one who definitely knew Lo Pan was dead, there's no indication the rest knew. Plus, Thunder came off as more hot-blooded than say, Lightning. If Lightning knew, he might have just been calmer about it, wanting to avenge his master before dying, if he intended to die at all.
      • Lightning did seem like he was more souped-up in his final appearance like he was gradually losing control of his power... the bolts he flung around might have been as much him trying to bleed off excess as showing off or trying to block off escape routes. Maybe Lo Pan granted them their abilities, and now without him to regulate them they're going out of control. Thunder's was just sudden and intense, while Lightning's is on a slow build.
  • Why didn't Lo Pan try marrying a white woman before he chanced upon Gracie Law? Surely, it's easier to find a green-eyed white person than an Asian one.
    • Well, it's explicitly an attempt to find a Chinese woman with green eyes. Gracie Law, due to her interest in Chinatown and constant attempts to lecture Jack about it, is implied to be of mixed European and Chinese ancestry. Despite, well, being played by Kim Cattrall. You're right, though, that a woman of Chinese/European descent would be the best solution as Gracie proves. It's a Prophecy Twist and Lo Pan would probably be kicking himself for it if not for the fact it provided an "out" for him to not have to sacrifice a woman he desired.
    • Give that he doesn't hesitate to test and then marry Gracie Law as well, it can be inferred that he has been going after White green-eyed women too, and not just Asian ones. The problem for him is, a) green-eyed White girls are still pretty rare, and b) the ones he manages to get a hold of STILL fail his tests.
  • I don't think I understand the curse Lo Pan is under. He angered Qin Shi Huang, who cursed him with insubstantiality- check. So now he has to marry a green-eyed woman to please Ching Dai, which undoes the curse. Huh? Where did Ching Dai fit into it? Then he has to sacrifice his wife/a green-eyed woman (I can't recall which was the important bit for the sacrifice) to please Qin. Why bother pleasing him if the curse has already been lifted? And why would any of this atone for his crime of fighting against the Emperor? The Gods Must Be Crazy.
    • He pisses off God A. He wants to do something to please God B so that God B will undo part of God A's punishment. Once the punishment is undone, he can then also do something to apologize to God A and get the rest of the punishment undone. Pretty simple really.
    • What's the "rest of the punishment" that needs to be undone? The intangibility was the only part of the curse anyone mentioned, and pleasing God B already takes care of that. And why would either god feel inclined to forgiveness because he married/sacrificed someone with green eyes?
      • Because that was the curse. You really don't get this whole "magic used by higher powers" thing, do you?
  • While on the subject of the movie's bizarre cosmology, can anyone make sense of "all movement in the universe is controlled by positive and negative furies, and unbalancing them makes you an immortal ghost creature"?
    • The Emperor altered the energy wavelength of his molecular structure and put him out of phase with normal matter. Look, I translated it from metaphysics to technobabble!

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