"Too much to drink, Dr. Jones?"―Kao Kan after Indiana Jones is poisoned by his father[src]
Lao Che's youngest son, Kao Kan had, by 1935, instigated several scandals which were covered up only through his father's control of Shanghai's officials. As part of Lao's criminal enterprise, Kao Kan was positioned as chief lieutenant alongside half-brother Chen, who was always wishing death to him due his position as his father's favorite son.
In 1935, prior to when his father was scheduled to meet with Indiana Jones to exchange Nurhachi's ashes, Kao Kan attempted to steal the artifact from Jones. The attack was unsuccessful and Kao Kan ended up with a severed forefinger.
During the subsequent meeting at Club Obi Wan, while Jones was distracted examining his payment, Kao Kan slipped poison into Jones' champagne glass. Later, Kao Kan helped cover the shooting of Indy's sidekick Wu Han by easing the gunshot victim into a chair before he died.
After Chen was killed by a skewer of pigeon flambé, Kan attempted to grapple with Jones, but was flipped onto the table. As Jones lumbered around in search of the antidote, Kan opened fire in the club with his submachine gun. After Jones and Willie Scott escaped through a window, Kao Kan and his father pursued them by car through the streets of Shanghai to the Nang Tao Airport, where other agents of Lao Che took over the assignment to kill Jones.
Personality and traits
Kao Kan was an impetuous, mentally unstable sadist being groomed to lead his father's business to the top of Shanghai's criminal underworld. Although he was only of medium height and build, he possessed a tightly coiled ferocity that made him an imposing foe in a boxing ring or a dark alley. It also made him a lunatic whose sadistic temperament and mental instability couldn't be easily concealed by a silk suit or sponsorship of a charity ball.
Behind the scenes
During the development of the film's original script, written by Willard Huyck and Gloria Katz, Kao Kan was to chase Indiana Jones and his companions in one of two biplanes. Short Round would try to shoot him with a gun from their plane. However, Willie Scott ends up destroying one biplane herself and damaging one of their own motors. The smoke causes Kao Kan to deviate and accidentally crash into a mountain. However, this was cut with the idea of a plane chase being recycled for Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
During the early development of the then untitled Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Ric Young expressed his desire to reprise his role as Kao Kan, due the fact that several fans were asking director Steven Spielberg to bring back Roy Chiao as Lao Che for the fourth film. However, after Chiao's death in 1999, the idea of bringing back Lao and Kao was scrapped.
There is confusion over which of Lao Che's sons is which. The movie credits clearly indicate Ric Young played Kao Kan, however, the screenplay originally indentified the character's actions as those of Chen. Most sources defer to the credits, but others, such as the Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom Sourcebook, the official website and the 2008 junior novelization of the film agree with the screenplay.
In LEGO Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures, it's possible to kill Kao Kan. The player has to use Indy's whip to take Kao Kan's gun away then use Willie Scott's super scream to kill him, or simply run him over when while 'riding' one of the gongs. However, in the end of level cutscene Kao Kan will be alive again as Indy unknowingly boards Lao Che's plane. In the video game's sequel, however, Kao Kan is the only gansgter of his father's gang to appear at the Nang Tao Airport scene, as all the other gangsters, possibly including his father, are killed during the car chase.
- Indiana Jones and the Dinosaur Eggs
- Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (First appearance)
- Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom novel
- Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom comic
- Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom junior novel (As 'Chen')
- Indiana Jones' Greatest Adventures
- LEGO Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures (Non-canonical appearance)
- LEGO Indiana Jones 2: The Adventure Continues (Non-canonical appearance)
- Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom: The Illustrated Screenplay
- Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom Sourcebook (As 'Chen')
- (Listed under 'Chen')
- Indiana Jones: The Ultimate Guide
- Top Trumps: Indiana Jones