This film is just a sample of how Hollywood movies continually discriminate against Asian or Asian-American characters by casting whites for important roles. For those who have not had the pleasure of growing up watching Dragonball Z, its a Japanese anime that became very popular with kids (after being voiced by American actors) that revolves around the main character (named Goku) kicking butt and saving lives. This character, and most of the other characters in this anime series, were represented as Asians (Black spiky hair, Japanese writing throughout the series, many references and use of “qi” or “ki” which is an Eastern belief of describing energy, the list goes on). All of the kids I grew up with that watched this anime recognizes the fact that the main characters are Asian and I’m sure other kids elsewhere recognizes that fact as well. So why the hell would James Wong (the director) give the lead role to some white guy that doesn’t resemble Goku at all? Believe me, or don’t and Google it for yourself, but millions of Dragonball Z fan boys everywhere (Asian, white, black, Hispanic, etc) are fuming over how this idiot of a director or his production team chose such a poor representation for such an important character.
Dragon Ball the movie looks awkward and a bit racist as well. One of the most obvious thing you notice is Goku the main character of Dragon Ball is, well not Asian like Goku is suppose to be. Goku is played by Justin Chatwin from Josie and the Pussycats. Could they just not find some Asian guy to play the part? There has to be somebody except Justin Chatwin.
Adding insult to injury, they try to make up for it by casting every other important character with an Asian actor, just not the main one. Truth be told, they are all supposed to be Asian (minus the green alien villain) so it’s not like the production team went out of their way to make this movie an actual representation of the anime series.
However ironically, everyone else is practically Asian in the movie such as: Gohan(Randall Duk Kim), Master Roshi(Chow Yun-Fat), Yamcha(Joon Park), Mai(Eriko Tamura), and Chi Chi(Jamie Chung). It seems the producers thought they could fool us into believing Justin Chatwin was Asian if they surrounded him with other Asians.
There has actually been a history of white actors replacing Asian roles in movies and the term for it was yellow-face. It was where actors would apply makeup or props, if you will, in order to make themselves more “Asian looking” aka (almond shaped eyes, Fu-Manchu beard, yellow tinted makeup,etc). In our society these days, that could be deemed racist, but who says there is anything wrong with just casting a regular old white guy, minus the yellow-face to play Asian characters?
I don’t know if I’m more upset at the fact that the director is Asian too (sellout…), or the fact that this movie was even permitted to be released. I mean come on, this movie was clearly poorly done with little or no research about the characters personalities or the highlights of the anime. The characters had totally different personalities and appearances and if the goal of this movie was to pay homage to its roots, than consider this a job well failed. They made a serious error when they thought that the American audience only wants to see a white hero. There was a huge, loyal fan base that was comprised of all races that wanted to see the film based on the real thing but someone had to go all “The Last Samurai” on it. (If you don’t get the reference, its for the movie that took place in Japan around 1876 and the “last samurai” is played by Tom Cruise).
I really looked forward to this movie…but you had to f*** it all up Mr.Wong…Eat this!