Archive for the “Red Dawn” protest Category

US slams China in major smear campaign – VIDEO [Russia Today]

Posted in "Red Dawn" protest, Anti-China media bias, Anti-China propaganda exposure, Anti-communism, China, China-bashing, China-US relations, Media smear campaign on November 4, 2010 by Zuo Shou / 左手

I can’t link video on my blog, but recommend that folks hit the link of this article to check out evidence of how low US politicians stooped in 2010’s unprecedented anti-China electoral campaign – Zuo Shou 左手

November 3, 2010

Pre-election ad campaigns in America are targeting China as the global “bad guy”.

The economic power of China, which is currently the world’s third largest economy after the US and EU, seems to be raising concerns among policymakers in Washington.

The phrase “Made in China” is invoking anger in the US: China is portrayed as the “bad guys du jour” in countless political campaign ads for the 2010 midterm elections.

“The Chinese are being set up to be the next bogeyman, and the only thing to interfere with that is that the Muslims are an effective bogeyman for right now,” says Sam Seder, political commentator and comedian.

In the US, China’s ascent in the world is becoming the popular perceived “threat”.

Hollywood is remaking the 1980s flick “Red Dawn”, but this time with Chinese instead of Soviet troops invading the US…

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Red Dawn is being remade, but China ousts Russia as America’s new enemy []

Posted in "Red Dawn" protest, Anti-China media bias, Anti-China propaganda exposure, China, China-US relations, Film, Red Scare, USA, USA 21st Century Cold War, Yellow Peril myth on June 24, 2010 by Zuo Shou / 左手

A remake of the 1984 cold war teen action film says much about America’s fear of its declining influence in the world

“…The hunt for Saddam Hussein after the invasion of Iraq in 2003 was named Operation Red Dawn in tribute to the movie…” 

Just when you thought you couldn’t hate the invasion of Iraq or the original Red Dawn movie and its pernicious influence more…-  左手

Paul Harris

May 30 2010

The film was a…piece of 1980s teen cinema framed against the paranoid geopolitics of the cold war.  Red Dawn starred Patrick Swayze and Charlie Sheen as all-American teens leading an armed resistance movement against Soviet troops who had invaded the US.

Feeding on Hollywood’s recent appetite for recycling old films, Red Dawn is being remade…  But there is one vital difference:  this time the invading communist army that takes over America is Chinese.

The new-look enemy reflects the changes that have swept the world since the fall of the Berlin Wall.  First, the Soviet Union no longer exists, thus hampering any plot driven by its invasion of America.  Second, a rich vein of paranoia about the rise of Chinese economic might now runs through American politics…

Full article here

“The Karate Kid” remake criticism: Mediocrity, US supremacy and Asian stereotype – UPDATED [Sweet & Sour Cinema]

Posted in "Red Dawn" protest, Anti-China media bias, China, Film, Jackie Chan 成龙, Kung Fu, Sweet & Sour Cinema on June 21, 2010 by Zuo Shou / 左手

UPDATE December 27, 2010. I found a review from “Film Business Asia”, which addresses the fact that the film is “culturally problematical” — something that I figured out from surveying the film, but which seems to have been side-stepped or ignored by the majority of critics. The excerpted review of the culturally-savvy Derek Elley (which awards a rating of 5 out of 10) follows:

Given the global prominence of China, and the massive popularity of U.S. actor Will Smith there, it was only a matter of time before Hollywood connected the dots and Smith (& Family) were involved in a remake set there.  The Karate Kid (功夫夢)…[is] somewhere between dramatically sloppy and culturally problematic…

…by moving the 2010 remake to China, a whole set of cultural problems come into play – not least the actual title. (The …Chinese title actually means Kung-fu Dream.) … More problematically, as Dre’s bullies are (by necessity) all native Chinese, the story boils down into yet another Hollywood movie in which an American jets into a foreign country, ingratiates himself with a local girl and (eventually) her family, sorts out a local problem (school bullying), and is applauded for it by…the locals. None of this seems to have worried American audiences, to judge by its spectacular take-off at the U.S. box office in mid-June…

Full “The Karate Kid” review here

International Poster for Karate Kid

The remake of “The Karate Kid”, starring Jackie Chan and Jaden (son of Will) Smith is upon us.  Apparently it’s proving popular with U.S. audiences and getting by on the critic’s aggregator websites, although on Metacritic it’s one point away from the “mixed reviews” category with a Metascore of 61.

First of all, the film’s best review title:   BECAUSE “THE KUNG FU KID” DOESN’T HAVE BRAND RECOGNITION, THAT’S WHY
(from Antagony & Ecstasy blog, which also calls the film “the most grotesque summer film in memory…”  That’s saying something!)

With Jaden Smith’s Mom and Dad as producers, should we call it “The Nepotism Kid”?

I’m not really interested in the remake (or as these things are euphemized these days, “reboot”) as I wasn’t interested in the original.  There’s a lot of talk about the original being “beloved”, but the original family movie came out in the mid-’80s when I was vaulting past the “family” movie.   I’ve still never seen it and probably never will.

At the time the original “Karate Kid” came out, I was into Chinese kung fu movies on weekend cable TV, or ninja exploitation flicks, or horror; “The Karate Kid” didn’t seem to be where I was at then.   I was pretty sure that “karate” was not the crazy action with which those weekend blasts from Asia were zonking me.   What’s more, it was a sports movie, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a sports movie in theaters except the underwhelming “Chariots of Fire” and that was because I ran cross-country in high school when that came out.  On top of that I never bought into the myth / fantasy that there is an Asian master or “sensei” hiding out there somewhere to tutor my privileged Caucasian butt in some form of conveniently packaged Asian philosophy, be it embodied in martial arts or something else.  Especially not in the form of “Arnold” from “Happy Days” (Pat Morita in the original film).

But having Jackie Chan assume the role of every American kid’s benefactor plugs into this apparently potent myth.  People don’t have to be a kid to have some kind of subconscious fantasy about Jackie Chan teaching them kung fu in some sweet Chinese setting.  And there’s a lot to be said about why this is marketed well, although I’ll side-step the ’80s nostalgia factor…to this writer “80s” and “nostalgia” are antithetical.

But the film is not being universally well-received, with the main criticisms being:  the film is basically a copy hitting the beats of the original which it doesn’t surpass; the film is too long (140 minutes)  —  martial arts films never go that long; or that Jaden Smith is just not a good enough actor (this last point seems to be a very divisive one amongst the critics).

Asian-Americans seem to be have mixed feelings about the film; there is grumbling about Jaden Smith getting star billing over Jackie Chan.  On the other hand there is appreciation that both leads are people of color.  The daughter of Pat Morita from the original “Karate Kid” is calling for a boycott, complaining that the “Asians as martial arts masters” stereotype is crippling Asian actors in Hollywood.

The film won’t be out in China until the 22nd of this month, here the name is somewhat better:  KUNG FU DREAM [功夫梦].  At least the martial arts in question are titled correctly and it gets to the point of it all being a fantasy.

While I had contemplated how Chinese “gong fu” and Japanese “karate” got totally mixed up in the making of this film (see ‘best review title’ above), I hadn’t really considered the implications of moving the story to China and having the hero being a US citizen being bullied by Chinese, in China.  Revealed plot points brought some unpleasant things into focus.  Hero Jaden Smith gets beat up by Beijing bully boy Cheng, ostensibly for the US kid’s attraction to a young Chinese female; Cheng saying “Stay away from all of us!”  So is this the dreadful simmering Chinese xenophobia which our helpful mainstream media warned us about?  Sounds like some kind of unholy melding of an anti-miscegenation KKK’er with a “foreign devil” slayer from the Boxer Rebellion.  And in the climax the US kid beats the bullying Chinese!!  Are you feeling the ’80s jingoistic nostaligia?  It’s similar to the US beating the Russian commie hockey team in the ’80s Winter Olympics, which they made a movie about!   Or Rocky beating that doped-up commie robo-boxer in “Rocky 4”!  But not as “good”, or at least as blatant, as the Red Dawn remake…and we  know how that particular fantasy plays out: beating the Chinese invaders on the US’s home turf.

Another stereotype the film has been pointed out as having is that of the non-Asian person trained by an Asian, who in an amazingly short period of time becomes superior in skill to Asians. (see “Kill Bill”)

The reviews I’ve read have mainly missed the backwards subtexts of the film, which is why I was glad to find a “skip it” (thumbs down) review by Maryann Johanson at the “FlickFilospher” site which pokes fun at the patent overall ridiculousness and blatant U.S. chauvinism in the film.  The review is titled “Enter the Draggin'” referring to the film’s punishing length, and here’s an excerpt:

“Karate! Kung fu! Whatever! says Mom.  Exactly!  Who cares what the Asian ass-kicking is called.  Not important!  The important thing is that the cute little American kid will teach the Chinese ignoramuses a thing or two about their own culture.   Stupid foreigners!

No, it’s true.  Jaden Smith is the adorable and small-for-his-age 12-year-old Dre Parker, who moves with Mom from Detroit to Beijing because, well, that’s how the floundering U.S. car companies are dealing with the collapse of their industry:   transferring their employees to China.  Instantly — no, really, like the minute they land — Dre is getting beat on by teenage Chinese bullies led by the horrifically one-note Cheng because Dre has the nerve to like-like violin-playing Meiying, and inappropriate likage of the female always brings out the male’s protective instinct, or something.   Also:  All Chinese girls play the violin…

…But don’t worry:  [by the end] Chan will enunciate the moral of the movie, in case you hadn’t already been kicked in the face with it, and then Dre will parrot it back to him at a moment deemed appropriate, for those in the audience who’ve fallen into a coma — it’s something about getting back up on a horse, except it sounds more Chinesey.  Eventually, Dre will make certain that Cheng and his mean-faced teacher understand that their cruel fu is contrary to Chinese wisdom and stuff.  Go America!”  (full review here)

People responding to criticism of Chinese cultural stereotypes in the film point to China Film Group’s role in the production, as if to say the film must be ok then.  Maybe the Group just wanted to get some tourist-attracting travelogue sequences in there and weren’t worried about the other stuff since it’s just a KUNG FU DREAM…

…or is it?

Sweet & Sour Cinema has yet to see the film, but unfortunately will likely do so (as someone in the household is interested) which could result in a real review.  Zuo Shou / 左手

For a cultural comparison exercise, different regions’ posters for the film:

1)  US version, no Jackie Chan visible:

[Sorry, the US film poster link I used is now deleted; those interested can easily track it down]

2)  “International” version:  actually it’s French.  Chan is there, even if his facial expression shows boredom.

3)  “Kung Fu Dream” in China.  [See first film poster at the top of this post.] Chan’s in this one too, but did they have to superimpose him over the Kid’s crotch?

US paranoia seen in new Red Dawn [Asia Times Online]

Posted in "Red Dawn" protest, Anti-China media bias, Anti-China propaganda exposure, China, China-US relations, Sinophobia, USA 21st Century Cold War on June 17, 2010 by Zuo Shou / 左手

This earlier article about the upcoming Sinophobic Hollywood remake of the ’80s conservative cinematic nadir Red Dawn with China cast as the new invader makes a mistake of claiming the film is set in Detroit.  As a draft of the film’s script has been leaked since this article was written, it’s known to have been filmed in Detroit but set in the US Northwest.  It also seems likely the film represents an even more destructive phenomenon than what the author supposes.  There remains some useful analysis of what the film represents to a certain US mentality.  Also, I think there needs to be much more discussion of the chronic and widespread paranoia in US society alluded to in the article’s title, of which this film is a nasty symptom.  –  左手

Jan 8, 2010

by Benjamin Shobert

…It can be easy to trivialize the narrative liberties taken by Hollywood directors and writers, to see this movie remake as simply one more retreading of a proven formula with updated cinematography and characters.  But even formulaic refreshers, as Red Dawn appears to be, draw on the current day for both content and temperament..the movie and its villains say much about America’s current insecurities

…unlike the 1980s when our economic and military threats were distinctly different, Americans have now begun to fear that China may be their true peer, able to match them both economically and militarily…

…The past several years have seen the Chinese become convenient stand-ins for a variety of TV and movie plot lines; shows as wide ranging as Monk to Law and Order have made use of the Chinese villain, typically as either a shady government operative or the greedy Chinese businessman whose defective products put Americans at risk.

At some level, this can be blamed on the culture of the day, and the ability of writers to interject the most recent fear into a boiler-plot drama.  But to label all such endeavors as innocent would be a mistake: as much as we might be entertained by a two-hour movie transporting us to a version of the future that is highly improbable, the idea of an ascendant China threatening America’s sovereignty is a potent one, and has the potential to easily enter our stream of consciousness in ways that are damaging and unproductive.  The Soviet threat was always somewhat esoteric, whereas the perceived Chinese threat of today is more practical, and can be understood by anyone negatively impacted in today’s recession in purely economic terms….

…Most troubling is not necessarily the role of Chinese aggressors for the movie, but the fact that America’s cultural center of gravity as reflected in our politics, business, and now entertainment, seems focused on China as the cause of most of our ills.

Could the newly remade Red Dawn actually be a good thing?  The hidden beauty of the original Red Dawn was how wrong it was, and it became a campy cult classic largely because of how myopic its view of American vulnerabilities proved to be.  Having rounded out a decade many are eager to forget, American aspirations are certainly muted…

…As unhelpful as the Red Dawn movie may be for US-China relations, it may also serve as a small part of what provokes Americans to push forward…to find comfort where now insecurity holds sway.  And as with many cultural markers, we may only appreciate when looking backwards how this version of Red Dawn marked a low point, after which America rallied and found a vision for the future that was both compelling and secure.

Full article here

Red Dawn remake: “American movie demonizes China” [People’s Daily]

Posted in "Red Dawn" protest, Anti-China media bias, Anti-China propaganda exposure, Red Scare, Sinophobia on June 2, 2010 by Zuo Shou / 左手


June 2, 2010 

The armed People's Liberation Army (PLA) in the movie. (Who look uncannily Korean - 左手)

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), an American media company, is re-making the movie “Red Dawn,” a film from 1984, reported the Global Times on May 31.

The main plot of the film revolves around a future where the United States has fallen into a deep financial crisis. The Chinese armed forces invade in the name of helping the country to repair its economy and are finally defeated by a group of American teenagers. Because the entire film is full of dialogue about killing the Chinese as well as scenes smearing China’s image, many Chinese people are very angry.

According to sources, the film has many scenes that demonize China.  For instance, the armed People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and armored vehicles are seen patrolling streets in the United States.  PLA soldiers armed with AK-47 rifles and wearing Chinese national flag armbands are seen posting political posters everywhere.  PLA flags are seen flying over towns and banners and slogans are hanging on both sides of the streets.  In addition, the PLA emblems are also printed on strip-shaped Nazi flags, implying that the PLA are [Nazis / fascist]. 

The PLA "Nazi" banners in Red Dawn -- this is so not PLA style!!

U.S.-based commented on May 27 that…MGM said Red Dawn is simply an action film and does not mean to advocate the idea of demonizing Chinese.  Nevertheless, public opinion believes that the film to some degree indeed reflects the…hostile attitudes held by some American people toward China and this is a very dangerous trend.

By People’s Daily Online  

"Chinese US-occupation propaganda posters" in this image from the "Red Dawn" remake

Overseas Chinese protest against the movie (possibly in New York City)

Article link here 

“Red Dawn” Remade: China is Coming for Our Children [The Awl]

Posted in "Red Dawn" protest, Anti-China media bias, Anti-China propaganda exposure, China, China-US relations, DPR Korea, Film, Red Scare, Sinophobia, US imperialism on June 2, 2010 by Zuo Shou / 左手

Article link:

UPDATE IV, APRIL 12, 2012 The filmmakers realized they had a toxic product on their hands and are digitally altering the film to change the invading villains from Chinese to [“North”] Korean. This is true news, and makes the project a full-fledged laughing stock — about as pathetic as it gets in the already sordid world of Hollywood entertainment.

Also, due to technical issues, the text below has developed many, many glitches. Until such time that I can edit it, please just refer to the original “Awl” article linked at the top of this post. – Zuo Shou

<UPDATE III, NOVEMBER 30, 2010 The film’s originally-slated release date came and went with nothing. Apparently MGM’s bankruptcy has caused the film release to be indefinitely suspended. Parallels may be drawn to MGM studio’s moral and artistic bankruptcy for producing such a sickeningly premised flick… Zuo Shou

Readers:  this article as posted on the blog got messed up with a lot garble.  After the break below, it becomes fairly unreadable.  I just want to point to the link at the top of this post, if you want to see the original “Awl” article.  – ZS

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