by Carmen Van Kerckhove
I’ve been enjoying the hell out of slam poet Bao Phi’s “Racist Hollywood” — a series of fake movie pitches in which he pokes fun at Hollywood’s racist depictions of Asians.
But his latest one is by far my favorite, because it’s so scarily real:
BAO PHI’S IDEAS FOR RACIST HOLLYWOOD 5: IMMORTAL KICKBOXER
Tagline: When you know your fate, high kick. When you don’t… high kick anyway.
THE PITCH: Spencer Whidmore is just your average middle-class white Blockbuster clerk with an affinity for anime, Johnny To films, and pad thai from that greasy spoon around the block. But when a mysterious stranger returns a damaged copy of Tony Jaaâ€™s Ong Bak late and forgets to pay the $1.50 re-stocking fee, Spencer chases him down the block, tugs on his shoulderâ€¦ and is knocked out when the stranger (cameo by Chuck Norris) mistakes him for a mugger and spin-kicks him in the head.
Spencer wakes up to find that he has magically been transported back in time to Thailand, where a cruel warlord named Jo Jafar is oppressing the good, hardworking, pious, humble, communal, defenseless Thai peasants in the kingdom. Spencer is shocked to learn that, at this point in time in Thailand’s history, kickboxing has not yet been invented–but the Thai shamans and holy men whisper of a prophecy: a savior will come deliver the good people of Thailand from their oppressors and teach them the martial arts. Conveniently, an emasculinated Asian male buddy named Toofo befriends Spencer for no reason–and as they are cornered in the jungle by Thai ruffians, in a flurry of martial arts mayhem Spencer discovers that HE is the storied hero that the Thai people have been waiting for, that he is the great teacher who brought Thai kickboxing to the Thai people: he is no longer Spencer Whidmore, he is the IMMORTAL KICKBOXER. At first, Spencer revels in his new and wholly un-earned skill in kickboxing, showing off for the locals and enjoying his white saviour celebrity status. But then, when his emasculinated sidekick Toofo returns home to his village without Spencer and is killed in an ambush by thugs, Spencer throws his arms to the heavens over the body of his humble brown friend and screams “WHYYYYYYYYYYYYY!” He has paid a terrible price to learn that brown men must die so that great white men can learn responsibility.
ABOUT THE FILM: The producer of the film claims that there were no qualified Asian actors to be in this film, so they picked a random white guy with no experience for the role and asked Josh Whedon to write in the time traveling plot. When asked about whether or not people would be offended by the issue of appropriation, the producer replied, “well, my best friend is Thai and he took some kickboxing lessons, and he loved the idea and says race is not an issue, so I don’t think anyone will have a problem with it.”