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Ghost Lo Pan

Big Trouble in Little China
by yo go re

I've never seen Big Trouble in Little China, but I have seen the TMNT episode "A Chinatown Ghost Story," so I think we're all set.

Defeated in 272 BC by Qin Shi Huang, the sovereign emperor who first united (and lent his name to) all of China, Lo Pan was a powerful sorcerer who attempted to seize control but was cursed with "no flesh." His flesh and bones were atomized; he became a dream. His soul swam in the darkest magic, scattered across time, trapped in the world of formlessness. He could take the form of a decrepit old man, but that was it - to really break his curse, he needed to marry a green-eyed girl, then sacrifice her. Life's tough sometimes!

Big Trouble in Little China was John Carpenter's chance to direct a martial arts movie. It was rushed into production to beat 1986's other adventure movie dealing with Chinese mysticism (Eddie Murphy's The Golden Child), but that meant it came out at the same time as Aliens. Whoops! The movie was a commercial failure, earning back only $11 million of its $25 million budget. The Golden Child, meanwhile, made almost $80 million. But really, Carpenter had the last laugh - of the two movies, which one have you thought about even once in the past three decades?

Lo Pan is in his "10' roadblock" form, not his "basket case on wheels" form - so he's wearing a long black robe with green trim and an intricate dragon pattern on the shoulders. Considering that the ReAction line is about aping the crummy style of old toys, it's surprising that the dragons are sculpted, rather than just paint. Of course, they were brocade on the actual costume, so it does make some sense (though the sculpt doesn't quite duplicate the costume properly, and the actual robe had colorful stripes, rather than being pure black). He's wearing his big fancy hat, which has more details than you might expect, and they even remembered his pinky-nail spikes.

Lo Pan was played by James Hong, who apparently still dresses up in character for convention signings, sometimes. That's adorably cool. The figure has a face, and that face has a beard and mustache, so in that regard it does look somewhat like Hong, but part of the reason Funko can get so many licenses is that stylized figures don't require likeness rights.

As with all the ReAction figures, Lo Pan moves like crap. He's got swivel joints at the neck, shoulders and hips. Since he's wearing a long robe, his legs do that stupid thing where it's a giant dress that splits in half down the center. God, toys in the '70s really were garbage; if you're nostalgic for this kind of thing, well, there's a reason "nostalgia" was originally recognized as a mental disorder.

The normal release of Lo Pan has normal human skin, which is okay - he did look that way at least once - but the thick makeup he wore usually made him look more gray. This version, however, is a Previews exclusive, and casts his skin-parts (so, hands and face, basically) in a semi-translucent blue plastic. Solicited as "Ghost Lo Pan," it's referred to as "Lo Pan (Glow Version)" on the front of the packaging. Yes, the blue plastic is glow-in-the-dark, making him look more mystical. Fun!

There is one advantage the normal release has over this exclusive, and that's that it has an accessory: the Beholder that patrolled his stronghold. It's just an unpainted lump of poorly sculpted plastic, not even large enough to be in scale with the figure, but he had it, dagnabbit, and now he doesn't! Still, GotD plastic is hard to argue with, and the colors on this figure just look better. He's like a living black light poster!

-- 10/01/15

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