The 2010 remake of The Karate Kid inherited the original's genre-defining plotline: child is bullied, wise old Asian man teaches child karate, child defeats bullies, Will Smith receives producer credit. But in China, many people had a problem with the movie, which depicted them as villainous yet confident martial artists rather than poor, terrified citizens facing strict limits on childbirth.
So, drumroll please ...
Christopher Polk/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images, Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images, Jason Merritt/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images, Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
Why attend movie premieres when you can easily be Photoshopped into them?
Then Came the Censors:
Demanding that The Karate Kid meet its lofty cinematic standards, the Chinese government edited the film so that any scene portraying Chinese kids as bullies was cut. However, all of the fight scenes were left intact, with Jaden Smith now appearing as if he'd started them without any provocation.
Jaden, I can't tell if you're great at Twitter or a complete asshole,
but I'll say this much: You sure as hell know how to capitalize words.
The evil Chinese kung fu master received a similar makeover. The brutal, morally dubious teacher was replaced with a strong, stoic, and proud one, like a father who could never tell his son he loved him. Having said that, the master is still shown teaching young children how to physically harm one another via ancient, time-proven killing techniques, so the jury's still out on this guy.
"The first rule of kung fu is you do not talk about kung fu."
Weirdly enough, the Chinese government kept the ending, meaning that Jaden, the wicked American born of a woman presumably out of wedlock, won the big tournament. I'm not sure what kind of message this sends the Chinese public, but at the end of the day, the Chinese censored-movie business is still a business. And God knows those were some cool action scenes.
After raping a woman, murdering another, and ruining Beethoven for classical music enthusiasts everywhere, Alex, the main character/sociopath in Anthony Burgess' novel A Clockwork Orange, eventually transforms into a very good boy indeed. But not because of the infamous "force him to watch violence until he hates violence" experiment shown:
The real torture is being forced to sit in the front row, where the image looks wonky.
No, in this version, Alex renounces violence by -- wait for it -- growing up. Now mellowed out and mature, he pledges to settle down, start a family, and only kill people if they really, really deserve it. How's that for a character arc?
Then Came the Censors:
When Burgess tried to release his book in the U.S. in the mid-'60s, the publishers decided that optimism and hope weren't realistic enough. As they saw it, masochistic American audiences wouldn't "get" Alex's redemption. After all, villains don't magically evolve into pleasant, law-abiding citizens: They stay evil for all eternity and occasionally go into politics.
"I partake in all kinds of intolerance. Except, of course, lactose intolerance."
And just like that, American publishers simply deleted the chapter. No clever editing, no forced rewriting, nothing. For over 20 years, American editions of A Clockwork Orange ended the moment Alex realized he had much more violence and rape to commit, thereby emphasizing the novel's pessimistic tone (and increasing the chances for a possible sequel). And thanks to Stanley Kubrick's 1971 film based on it, the censored Clockwork Orange is far more famous than the original. So, you might have lost the battle, Burgess, but you also lost the war.
Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
No eye clamps necessary. This guy just loves watching violence.