American TV series ‘Kung Fu’ aims to break stereotypes about Asians, but misses the mark when it comes to true Asian people and culture
Photo: Screenshot of Douban
A new American television series Kung Fu, which puts Asians at the forefront and showcases Chinese culture, including martial arts, has received compliments in the United States, but the reviews where this culture originated is the real test for the series. Chinese netizens said the show fell short of expectations and ignored what real Asian culture looks like.
A young Chinese-American woman, Nicky Chen, drops out of school and heads to an isolated temple in China to learn martial arts after facing a personal crisis. Upon her return, she finds out that her hometown is overrun with crime and corruption, so she decides to use her martial arts skills to protect her community and bring criminals to justice.
The series was directed and written by people of Asian descent, and the main cast consists of Asian faces. Debuting on The CW on April 7, the first episode became the most-watched Wednesday series on the TV channel, reflecting the warm United States response to the series.
But popularity isn’t always a good thing, especially when a series conveys flawed content about Asian people and culture.
In the show, Chen’s master is a long-haired nun, but in real life, nuns in China have to shave their heads.
This is just one of the many mistakes in the series. In addition, the distorted plots about Chinese culture made Chinese internet users uncomfortable. The series scored just 3.5 / 10 out of more than 220 reviews on the Chinese press review platform Douban as of Tuesday.
Following a series of Asian productions released from Hollywood in recent years, many Chinese netizens have called on filmmakers and TV show producers in Western countries to be more sincere and to do more research on Chinese and Asian culture. before deciding to film a similar work, as mistakes can reinforce Asians’ one-sided impressions among Western audiences.
This is not the first time that such controversies have arisen. The contrast between the critics of Crazy Rich Asians and Mulan in the United States and China shows that Hollywood’s understanding and use of Asian elements is still stuck in the political correctness and cultural appropriation mentality.
With anti-Asian hatred and attacks on the rise in the United States, the series is currently under political correctness protection and critics have had to bite the bullet when it comes to criticism.
While it is understandable that the show conforms to an Eastern vision that prevails in traditional Western society to give Asians a chance to take the stage, this type of performance can only reinforce harmful stereotypes about Asian culture. .
“The story of Mulan is far too imaginary. Hollywood added its own understanding of Chinese culture to the film, but Chinese audiences didn’t like it. Why not involve more Chinese creative talent in Hollywood? It would be a good way to capture the hearts of the audience, ”suggested Shi Chuan, vice president of the Shanghai Film Association.