There’s a character actor whose name I can never remember – he plays the Evil Chinese Man. Whatever the movie, he’s the older, usually rich, powerful villain who represents the scary part of Chinatown.
Oooh scary Chinatown. The racism implicit in the mere existence of this role is so extreme that I always thought it was pretty funny.
Anyway, the actor is actually James Hong. Skinny as a rail, with a natural expression that makes him look like he disapproves of that thing you are doing there.
Hong played the Evil Chinese Man who is running the lottery in the X-Files, where if you lose they cut off a body part, no doubt to use in some exotic Chinese delicacy (scary Chinatown!). In Big Trouble in Little China, he’s the Evil Chinese Man who actually has sorcerous powers.
Slightly less iconic but still very memorable: Victor Wong. Wong tended to play the Wise (albiet slightly batty) Chinese Man, with a droppy expression and a slightly zany cockeyed look. He played this character in Big Trouble in Little China, and again in The Golden Child.
Check out the rosters of both these guys and you’ll find a bunch of movies you remember. Unfortunately Wong passed away at the turn of this century, but Hong is still pluggin’ away at movies!