Monster Hunter Movie Producers Apologize After Backlash In China

Illustration for article titled iMonster Hunter/i Movie Producers Apologize After Backlash In China
Screenshot: Sony Pictures Entertainment
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As Kotaku recently reported, a racist line of dialogue in the Monster Hunter movie led to thousands of negative online reviews in China, review bombing of the game on Steam, and calls to ban the film. The movie’s producers have now apologized.

In the film, a soldier yells to another soldier: “What are my knees? What kind of knees are these? Chi-knees.” Twitter user Daniel Ahmad pointed out that the line was associated with an offensive rhyme. The English dialogue and the subtitles, however, do not match.

Chinese theaters started pulling the movie a day after it was released.

Deadline reports that the movie’s production company, Constantin Film, “sincerely apologizes to Chinese audiences,” adding:

There was absolutely no intent to discriminate, insult or otherwise offend anyone of Chinese heritage. Constantin Film has listened to the concerns expressed by Chinese audiences and removed the line that has led to this inadvertent misunderstanding.

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Capcom also issued a Chinese-language statement, distancing themselves from the movie.

Tencent is distributing the film in China, and according to Deadline, the company is apparently working with the Chinese government to rectify the situation. As of writing, it’s unclear if the theaters that pulled the movie will resume showing it and if this line of dialogue will be cut in other regions.

Originally from Texas, Ashcraft has called Osaka home since 2001. He has authored six books, including most recently, The Japanese Sake Bible.

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DISCUSSION

iwassayingboo-urner
I Was Saying Boo-urner

A writer was probably told that the movie was intended primarily for the Chinese market — maybe not the writer, but a writer. How do you try to appeal to an audience you know fuck all about? You get an actor of Chinese descent to acknowledge that they’re of Chinese descent on-screen. But you can’t just have the character say “Hey y’all, I’m Chinese!” out of nowhere. So you say fuck it, throw in a stupid rhyme, and call it a day. You don’t give a shit because it’s only meant to fellate an audience somewhere where that’s all that’s required.

Only it doesn’t land. It has a passing similarity to some racially insensitive school kid rhyme which probably came about for the same reason your line did: Rhyming the word Chinese with the word knees is the low-hanging fruit.

Let’s be honest about this. It’s most likely that Chinese audiences got pissed off at being the butt of a joke, even if it wasn’t intended to be that way. They get all up in arms over any perceived jab at their pride. The Chinese censors didn’t seem to have a problem with it, but one can never know how audiences will feel.

Sometimes pandering doesn’t go the way you’d like. That’s my guess, anyway, that this was an attempt at pandering gone wrong.