|“||Magic. The darkest Magic.||„|
|~ Lo-Pan to Gracie Law.|
|“||There have been others, to be sure. There are always others. But you know, Mr. Burton, the difficulties between men and women. How seldom it works out? Yet we all keep trying, like fools.||„|
|~ Lo Pan ti Jack Burton.|
Lo Pan, sometimes written as Lo-Pan, is the main antagonist in the 1986 action/comedy film Big Trouble in Little China. He was portrayed by actor James Hong.
Lo Pan is an evil sorcerer who just wants to have flesh again in order to rule the universe. Lo Pan has a legion of followers who will die to protect him and three skilled martial artists with supernatural and elemental powers at his side, named Thunder, Lightning and Rain. Centuries ago, Lo Pan, a great warrior, but most of all a powerful wizard, was defeated in battle by the first sovereign emperor Qin Shi Huang. The Emperor placed upon Lo Pan the curse of No Flesh. Although Lo Pan can be temporarily granted a decrepit body by supplication to the gods, in order for him to permanently break the curse and regain his human form, he must marry a woman with green eyes. This simple act will appease Ching Dai, the God of the East. But to satisfy the Emperor, he must sacrifice her.
As he describes his curse, Ching Dai has promised him that if he finds a very special girl with green eyes he is able to transcend his weakened mortal form and ascend to a greater existence and rule the world. For centuries, Lo Pan searched for a woman with green eyes, and although he did find some, clearly none of them were suitable for him.
Lo Pan, under a modern alias "David Lo Pan", disguised himself not only as a crippled old man in a wheel chair, but also as head of a trading company called the Wing Kong Exchange. He also formed a street gang called the Wing Kong to aid him in his scheme.
Lo Pan sends his men to capture a woman with green eyes named Miao Yin, the fiancée of Wang Chi, at an airport. Wang and his friend Jack Burton, a wily truck driver, search for Miao Yin in Chinatown and come across the Wing Kong before being confronted by Lo Pan's assassins, Thunder, Lightning and Rain. As Jack and Wang try to escape in their truck, they apparently run over Lo Pan. This is revealed to be a ghostly trick of the mind created by Lo Pan, who almost blinds Jack with powerful magic.
Miao Yin is taken to the Wing Kong Exchange, and during their pursuit, Jack and Wang are captured and taken to Lo Pan who is under the guise of the crippled old man David Lo Pan. Lo Pan reveals his motives to them both before having them locked up, then later kidnaps Jack's friend Gracie Law, who also has green eyes. Lo Pan plans to marry both Gracie and Miao Yin, but then sacrifice Gracie to appease Ching Dai and live out his earthly pleasures with Miao Yin.
Lo Pan begins his ceremony with his many followers gathered around him and his two brainwashed brides present at his side. As he goes to insert the Needle of Love into Miao Yin, his ritual is interrupted by the arrival of Jack, Wang and a wizard named Egg Shen, as well as an ancient society of warriors called the Chang Sing. A huge battle ensues in which Wang kills Rain during a sword fight and the Chang Sing defeat most of Lo Pan's followers.
As Lo Pan and Thunder take Miao Yin to the sorcerer's private headquarters, Jack and Gracie follow them and confront Lo Pan in a corridor. Wang appears and distracts Thunder, allowing Jack to throw his knife at Lo Pan. He unfortunately misses and Lo Pan picks it up, admiring it for a second. He then throws the knife back at Jack who immediately catches it and hurls it straight into Lo Pan's forehead, killing him.
Thunder later returns and sees his master dead on the floor. The sight proves to be too much for him and in his anger, his body inflates to an enormous size before exploding. Later, Egg Shen manages to kill Lo Pan's final assassin, Lightning, by dropping a Buddha statue on his head.
References to Chinese mysticism
Some of the Chinese mythology in the film is based on actual history. Lo Pan is a famous legend in Chinese history. He was a "shadow emperor" appointed by the First Emperor Qin Shi Huang. Lo Pan was put on the throne as an impersonator because the Emperor was afraid of being assassinated. However, Lo Pan tried to take over and was cursed by the Emperor to exist without flesh for 2,000 years until he could marry a girl with green eyes.
In popular culture
- In the 2012 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles episode "A Chinatown Ghost Story" (S2E23), a villainous ghost and sorcerer named Ho Chan is featured who is evidently based on Lo Pan, also performed by James Hong.