Paul W.S. Anderson’s Monster Hunter created a lot of backlash from the Chinese community. In the movie, Jin Au-Yeung’s character is shown exclaiming “Look at my knees!”, followed by the question, “What kind of knees are these?”, to which he replies, “Chi-knees!”.
The scene was not taken lightly by the Chinese audience and most referred it to a racist rhyming chant “Chinese, Japanese, dirty knees.” The backlash was so strong that the film was removed from theaters just after one day of release. It was released in China on December 3rd while it will release in the U.S on Christmas.
The racist joke was taken so strongly that numerous people of the Chinese community led a great backlash on social media forums over the weekend.
Officially, the joke was removed from the film. A German company called Constantin Film, one of the production companies associated with the film, issued an apology and declared that the offending line had been removed. Whether the film will return to Chinese cinemas or not is uncertain. Tencent, another Monster Hunter production company that manages its Chinese distribution, is currently negotiating with the government regarding the film returning to theatres.
Constantin Film apologized in the statement below:
“Sincere apologizes to Chinese audiences for a line of dialogue contained in an early scene of Monster Hunter. 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.”
I'm so disappointed that they put that racist joke in the movie. We can not accept this kind of insult while the company trying to release it in China. I hope the writer and the director along with the producer can take this issue seriously.
— Drseems (@Drseems1) December 7, 2020
The movie is an adaptation of the massively successful video game series of the same name by Capcom. The plot of the film involves an elite U.S. military force mistakenly entering a wormhole and being transported to a planet populated by all the monsters that Monster Hunter fans have become acquainted with over the years.
Monster Hunter made $2.65M this weekend in five markets where Sony is releasing, and all were No. 1 starts! Constantin, Impact Pictures, Tencent, and Toho have produced the fantasy action picture. Outside Germany, Austria, Switzerland, China, and Japan, Sony has worldwide rights to the movie and has a North American date lined up on December 25.