As if the movie industry didn’t already have enough on its plate right now thanks to COVID-19, Monster Hunter, which has actually managed to reach theaters in the (hopefully) latter stages of a pandemic, has been pulled from the big screen entirely in a certain country over accusations of racism.
The controversial sequence in question, which depicts two male soldiers (one white and one Asian) cracking jokes between themselves while driving, centers around an exchange that begins with the latter, played by Jin Au-Yeung, stating: “Look at my knees!” Which in turn prompts the other to respond with: “What kind of knees are these?” According to a statement released by Jin over on Instagram, his character’s ensuing reply (and the offending dialogue in question), “Chi-knees!”, was intended to be little more than a harmless play on words. China, however, isn’t laughing.
Despite apologizing profusely for any offense he may have caused, Monster Hunter remains blacklisted in the all-important Chinese market, leading other members of the cast and crew to break their silence on the matter. In a statement provided to Deadline, director Paul W.S. Anderson said the following:
“I am absolutely devastated that a line from our movie, Monster Hunter, has offended some audience members in China. I apologize for any anxiety or upset that this line and its interpretation caused. Monster Hunter was made as fun entertainment and I am mortified that anything within it has caused unintentional offense. We have respectfully removed the line from the movie. It was never our intention to send a message of discrimination or disrespect to anyone. To the contrary — at its heart our movie is about unity.”
Anderson’s wife and frequent collaborator, Milla Jovovich, meanwhile, who plays Captain Natalie Artemis in the action flick, voiced her support for Jin directly, stating that she was “so sad that [he felt] the need to apologize.” “It was our fault for not doing our due diligence and finding the WWII era rhyme that’s caused this uproar,” she continued, referring to an old ‘dirty knees’ saying considered by today’s standards to be overtly racist and offensive.
Will the above be enough to make Chinese authorities reverse a decision to ban Monster Hunter? Only time will tell, but be sure to let us know what you make of the situation down below!