It seems the devil er, Brute Wyvern has been in the details when it comes to Monster Hunter's highly anticipated release. After first making headlines back in October after eagle-eyed fans caught a pretty massive weaponry-related error in one of the movie's initial movie posters, the video game's film adaptation is in hot water once again for a glaring oversight so bad it prompted the film to be pulled from Chinese cinemas -- a pretty darn racist pun.
The joke in question is a ten-second quip from a soldier played by rapper and actor MC Jin (a.k.a Jin Au-Yeung), Variety reports. "Look at my knees!" he allegedly asks his white comrade as they drive through the desert. "What kind of knees are these? Chi-nese!" The joke, which appears to reference a racist playground chant used to taunt Asian children, quickly garnered flack on Chinese social media site, Weibo under the hashtag "Monster Hunter Insults China" as users flocked to accuse the film of "humiliating China," and depicting "naked racism," with some even calling for Jin to apologize, according to CNN. Chinese regulators also seemed to take issue with the scene, pulling the movie days following its December 4 release.
"Starting today, cinemas around the country will stop playing the movie Monster Hunter," Theater company Xinjiekou International Cinema said in a statement over the weekend. "Xinjiekou International Cinema will refund all Monster Hunter tickets, and all refunds will be returned through the original payment methods."
Yet not everyone agreed with this call. Notable film critic, Uncle Yuan took to the networking site, critiquing the decision. "Why was the movie pulled? Because [we are] not confident about our culture?"
The backlash comes despite the fact that the joke was changed by local translators to represent a Chinese idiom that roughly translates to "men have gold under their knees, and only kneel to the heavens and their mother," according to Variety, meaning that men should only kneel on very rare occasions.
In light of the controversy, Constantin Film, which co-produced the film, issued an apology regarding the scene. "There was absolutely no intent to discriminate, insult or otherwise offend anyone of Chinese heritage," the German company said. "Constantin Film has listened to the concerns expressed by Chinese audiences and removed the line that has led to this inadvertent misunderstanding."
Well, folks, there you have it. The only thing worse than a bad pun? Racism.