Now, we won't be seeing Paul W.S. Anderson's Monster Hunter flick in the west for a good few months yet. But the adaptation's Chinese debut this week saw it face a massive backlash over one racist scene in particular, a backlash that has since spilled over into Monster Hunter: World's Steam reviews and pushed series creators Capcom to distance themselves from the film's production.
As noted by PC Gamer, Monster Hunter: World went from 17 negative reviews on December 3rd to over 1,000 the next day. According to industry analyst Daniel Ahmad, the ire stems from one particular "joke" in Anderson's flick which - on top of being just plain unfunny - allegedly builds on a historically racist playground chant in English-speaking countries.
Now, Ahmad notes that the line's inclusion at all is baffling, considering media regulations in China. Curiously, the film's Chinese subtitles don't match the English audio at all here. They instead refer to a Chinese idiom, a disparity that only appears to have fanned the flames over the controversy.
Capcom, for their part, released a statement on regional social network Weibo. They explain that they are aware of the situation and controversy, but note that they were not involved with the film's production and have informed the proper companies. That said, the inclusion of Milla Jovovich's character and voice acting in World has seemingly left some fans feeling Capcom is complicit.
Steam's fancy review diagrams and filters do attempt to hide most of the discontent, but it doesn't take too much digging to find pages of negative reviews - in both Chinese and English - citing the film. Ahmad's thread continues with unconfirmed reports that the film has been pulled from showing at a number of theatres across the country, with others claiming it'll be recut for a second release at a later date.
Back at home, yesterday's planned UK launch was pushed into 2021 over Covid-19 concerns. When it does eventually arrive here, I wouldn't be shocked if that scene found itself on the cutting room floor.