Just prior to the final battle, Egg Shen gives Jack, Wang Chi, and the rest of the Chang Sings a magic potion.

The potion gives them all extreme confidence, and also tremendously boosts the fighting powers of all but Jack. Wang Chi is even able to match the skills and abilities of one of the Storms.

However, aside from the confidence boost, all the potion seems to allow Jack to do is

catch a thrown knife and throw it back quickly

While this is somewhat impressive, we are left with the impression that this is almost as much luck as skill, since

His first throw with the knife misses horribly.

Why did Jack get much less of an effect from the potion than everyone else?

  • 5
    'Cause Jack is a total incompetent in most things (though heroically willing for all that), so rising to the level of flunky is a big step for him? – dmckee --- ex-moderator kitten Oct 31 '11 at 21:39
  • 2
    'Cause Jack Burton cannot be improved upon. – Naftuli Kay Nov 2 '11 at 6:51
  • @TKKocheran I think that should be an answer! – Beofett Nov 2 '11 at 18:25

The potion magnifies the person. If they are fast it makes them faster, if they good with a sword it makes them better with a sword.

Jack was not a trained fighter or anything similar he just had an amazing amount of self confidence. If you want to be cheeky you can consider that it magnifies his natural clumbsiness and short sightedness and that it why he knocked himself unconscious, got stuck under the knight etc.

However, he did have fast reflexes and a good catch (the bottle trick) hence it made that better and he was able to catch a thrown knife in mid air. The first time Jack throws the knife he only just misses as Lo Pan felt the need to move his head, the second time he did not get the chance.

  • I think that's a great explanation, and it really makes sense. Much as I love the "Jack Burton cannot be improved upon" answer, this is more deserving of being the accepted answer. – Beofett Aug 10 '12 at 13:15

The answer is simple: Jack Burton cannot be improved upon; he's Jack Burton.

  • 1
    If all it does is raise confidence (they were all capable, they just didn't realise) then it's clear Jack Burton couldn't be more confident. – AncientSwordRage Jan 8 '12 at 20:58

Jack already had knife skills - this was setup in the early part of the movie where he was playing that knife game in chinatown.

  • They were playing a card game. Wang Chi was the one who demonstrated a knife trick, but that was with a machete, and it failed miserably. I'm not sure how that even relates to the question. – Beofett Nov 2 '11 at 7:32
  • That scene does set up the "It's all in the reflexes." line. – dmckee --- ex-moderator kitten Nov 2 '11 at 14:39

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