The last time I checked the Red Dawn remake, their release date was put on hold indefinitely and that news alone was enough to keep me happy. But yesterday, I stumbled upon this article from Racebending that not only is the film being pushed forward, MGM has changed their villains from Chinese to North Koreans.
Even though principal photography has long been finished, the transformation will involve “changing an opening sequence summarizing the story’s fictional backdrop, re-editing two scenes and using digital technology to transform many Chinese symbols to Korean.” This effort will cost less than $1 million and although people close to the film says that it is impossible to eliminate all references to China, they are confident that it will portray North Korea as the invading force.
Weird. Let’s take a look at this:
With China as an extremely powerful global superpower that holds a lot of sway in the socio-economic realm, American investors are paying a lot of attention to what China wants in order to cater to their wallets. This makes it extremely unwise to release a Hollywood film that depicts the Chinese as villains since the film would have to go through the Chinese government to even be approved. Considering that the government plays a crucial (or only) role in determining what foreign films even get released in their country, we can bet that a film with Chinese villains will be one of the first to get kicked out.
I also understand why Hollywood films and video games (such as the THQ game Homefront) would feel much safer having North Koreans as the villains since it’s the convenient target to pick on. North Korea is a country often painted negatively in the mainstream media light. From a crazy dictator with a bad haircut to the numerous human rights violations, the country is ripe picking for the entertainment industry to find the perfect villain without worrying about a heavy influential backlash that will affect profit sales.
However, while the production is working to change all the enemy’s banners, flags, and whatnot, no efforts were made to re-cast any of the enemy soldiers. It’s as if they got some paint, slapped on a different shade, and tried to present a brand new product. As I read the article over, I couldn’t help shake this nagging feeling that the film is almost implying that all Asians look alike.
It can be argued that East Asians tend to look very similar, especially Han Chinese and North Koreans since they are so close to each other. With that being said, I can’t make the crazy accusation that Hollywood is trying to be racist (which I hate using, since that term is so over-used and isn’t even used correctly) but it does bug me that an entire nation can be photoshopped over to become a completely different nation!
In terms of plausibility, it doesn’t make a lick of sense that North Korea can actually invade America. China, yes. China has over 1 billion people. North Korea has only about 23 million. United States has over 300 million. When you look at military personnel for both sides, it’s that much smaller. The video game Homefront at least tries to justify North Korea invading in their bizarre logic that the little country somehow took over all of East Asia and then launched an attack on U.S. soil. When it comes to logic, I guess one can’t depend on Hollywood to make the smart decisions.
All in all though, I dread this film coming out. I dread Homefront. I dread anything that smells of Yellow Peril because as much as people like to think we are intelligent, rational beings, there are a LOT of ignorant idiots out there. If there are folks who can proudly declare that Japan deserved their fate after the tsunami disaster, then there will be people dumb enough to get angry after watching Red Dawn or playing Homefront and decide to take out their anger on the Asians who they were rooting for to be killed.
Oscar Wilde once said, “Never understimate the power of human stupidity.” With everything that’s been going on these days, these are words to constantly remember.