Critics say 10-second scene is racially insensitive.

Monster Hunter is the latest video game franchise to try its hand at a live-action movie adaptation, with producers no doubt hoping to capitalize on the international popularity of 2018’s Monster Hunter World, which achieved more overseas success than any previous game in the series. The Monster Hunter movie, though, is off to a rocky start in China, where it got pulled from theaters in less than a day.

▼ Trailer for Monster Hunter

China was one of a handful of markets in which Monster Hunter opened last week, but the loudest reactions haven’t been about whether or not the Paul W. S. Anderson-directed film is faithful enough to the original games made by Japanese developer Capcom. Instead, the focus has been on a 10-second exchange between two of the movie’s characters, one played by Chinese-American actor Jin Au-Yeung (also known as MC Jin) which some viewers and social media commenters in China say is racially offensive.

The movie is yet to open in the U.S. or Japan, and slightly differing accounts of the scene have been given, though the line in question appears to have been pinpointed. Deadline describes it as:

“The 10-second scene that has generated an outcry features Asian-American rapper/actor Jin Au-Yeung (aka MC Jin), who at one point riffs to his scene partner, ‘Look at my knees. What kind of knees are these? Chinese.’

Meanwhile, Variety’s description reads:

“In the scene, a white male character and an Asian character played by Jin are driving together at high speed. ‘What?’ says the former. ‘Look at my knees!’ shouts Jin. ‘What kind of knees are these?’ asks his companion. ‘Chi-nese!’ jokes Jin.”

Those offended by the line appear to take issue with it for one of two reasons. Some see it as an allusion to an old English-language taunting schoolyard rhyme of “Chinese, Japanese, dirty knees, look at these.” In addition, the scene’s Chinese-language subtitles make reference to a Chinese proverb that Variety explains as “’Men have gold under their knees, and only kneel to the heavens and their mother’…[meaning] any time a man kneels, it should be an occasion precious as gold,” with some in China apparently taking the characters’ dialogue as a call for Chinese submission.

Monster Hunter opened in China shortly after midnight on Friday, but by the end of the day theaters began receiving notices to cancel their screenings until a “new version” of the film, which has not yet materialized, can be supplied.

Sources: Deadline, Variety
Top image: YouTube/Sony Pictures Entertainment
● Want to hear about SoraNews24’s latest articles as soon as they’re published? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!