Monster Hunter has been pulled from Chinese cinemas over an alleged racial slur.
The US action adventure film, based on Capcom’s popular action RPG, was released in China last Friday (December 4) but was subsequently withdrawn from all cinemas on Saturday.
A number of filmgoers and netizens responded to several lines of dialogue in the film between a white male character and an Asian male character.
The Asian male character, played by Asian-American rapper MC Jin says “Look at my knees!” while the other character asks “What kind of knees are these?”. Jin then replies “Chi-nese!”
Internet users deemed the lines racist, referring a playground joke which says “Chinese, Japanese, dirty knees – look at these?”. The controversy also came from the fact the Chinese subtitles did not translate the pun.
Twitter user Daniel Ahmad shared a thread detailing the backlash:
Great writing in the Monster Hunter movie… pic.twitter.com/jTRnKOClCi
— Daniel Ahmad (@ZhugeEX) December 4, 2020
Capcom Asia has said in a statement that they were not involved in the production of the film, per Screen Daily. At the time of writing, the new version of the film which is currently being prepared has not been re-released in cinemas in China.
NME has contacted the film’s production company for comment and will update this story accordingly.
Monster Hunter is set for a US release on December 25. The film was directed by Paul W.S. Anderson, and stars Milla Jovovich, Tony Jaa, T.I. and Meagan Good.
The film is due for release in the UK in early 2021.