Man. Had Hanna been Asian American, it could have been revolutionary.
Just as a feebly comedic aside: Hanna is socially awkward, has encyclopedic knowledge of languages and geography, and her overprotective dad’s motto is “Adapt or die.” If that’s not an Asian American family, I don’t know what is.
But really, if there’s anything that we need when it comes to Asian American representation in media, it’s some damn re-centering.
A young Asian American female who is not marked by hypersexuality, passivity, or deviousness but by fierce strength and actual character development in a non-martial arts movie? We don’t have too many role models that fit that criteria, from any age range. Maggie Q is fairly sexed out as a spy in Nikita as was Michelle Yeoh during her stint as a Bond girl. Lucy Liu and her other Charlie’s Angels often used their booties to help them solve cases. Liu’s O-ren Ishii had some depth in Kill Bill, though that depth was presented to us via anime flashback (cuz she’s part Japanese, y’all!). Ishii’s sidekick Gogo Yubari, she who donned the school girl’s uniform, was crazy good at combat but also just straight up crazy. Kelly Hu was virtually silent as villain Deathstrike in X2. In Sucker Punch, Jamie Chung and Vanessa Hudgens get to battle but in an imaginary brothel world in skimpy costumes. African American, Latino, and other racial/ethnic groups have a similar laundry list of female archetypes that they wish they could finally shake.
– From “Lust Action Hero: Movie Heroines and Why I Wish Hanna Had Been Asian-American,” by Sylvie Kim