In the scene (footage of which has since been taken down due to copyright), a soldier played by Asian-American actor and rapper Jin Au-Yeung yells to another soldier, “What are my knees? What kind of knees are these? Chi-knees!” This was taken to be a reference to an old racist playground rhyme as pointed out by Niko Partners senior analyst Daniel Ahmad. He further breaks the matter down in an expanded thread, which also points out that subtitles accompanying the scene exacerbated the situation, referencing a Chinese idiom about kneeling down and leading Chinese audiences to believe that the disconnect was intentional.
For the time being, the Monster Hunter film has been pulled from Chinese cinemas. According to reporting from Deadline, Tencent, the film’s distributor, is working with the Chinese government to remove the scene and bring the film back, while backlash over the scene is reportedly coming as a surprise to the makers of the film, particularly since all films are carefully scrutinized by the Chinese government before release.
Capcom has also issued a statement, effectively deferring to the producers of the film and distancing itself from the situation while also stating the company is aware of the matter — a reaction that some are considering to be hollow considering Monster Hunter World is running a collab event with the film.
All of this has resulted in Chinese players taking to the game’s Steam version, shellacking it with just over 1,000 negative reviews this past Friday. As of this writing, the review bombing appears to have abated somewhat, in part by positive reviews countering the negatives and wondering aloud why there’s a problem. Which, as Ahmad succinctly points out, is missing the point entirely.