The Foreigner (2017, starring Jackie Chan) is unfortunately likely going to be racist.
The Foreigner is based off a 1992 book by Stephen Leather, called The Chinaman, which stars a Vietnamese main character.
So this means we have a slew of problems.
- Creators of The Foreigner paid a Very White man to make a movie on his book regarding a Vietnamese father.
- The role of the known Vietnamese characters went to two Chinese actors- Jackie Chan, and his character’s daughter, starring Katie Leung.
- Those roles are still of Vietnamese characters, even in the movie.
[Image: Screenshot of Jackie’s character’s passport. The name on the passport is Ngoc Minh Quan, place of birth is stated as Vietnam.]
To say two Chinese actors look like Vietnamese people, not only erases SE Asians from media, it also tells Asians like myself that we all look alike.
And, as twitter user linhtropy pointed out, this raises a number of issues.
Base level information: 1. China was one of Vietnam’s colonizers. This is similar to whitewashing in terms of power dynamics.
3. The Fall of Saigon was in 1975. It’s still fresh for most Viet ppl. I don’t feel comfy w white ppl using this pain for entertainment.
I’m not comfortable with this either.