The patriotic themes of the movie, however historically justified, have unsettled some critics, who felt that Chan’s script comes a bit too close to aping the Communist Party line.
“Entire pages of pedantic dialogue sound like they were scripted by a government official,” said Andrew Sun of the South China Morning Post.
“Regardless of what one believes about historical propriety and national rights, “CZ12″ is not the place to debate them, and after the third lecture on the foreign raiders and auction houses that profit from 19th century pillages, the subject simply becomes exhausting,” said Hollywood Reporter.
Jackie Chan’s evolution toward a more vocal pro-Beijing stance has become more pronounced in both his movies and his politics. His previous film, the patriotic epic “1911,” diligently and solemnly portrayed the military uprising that led to the overthrow of the Qing dynasty. While not quite propaganda, the movie was criticized for mythologizing its heroes, and neglecting aspects of history deemed unsavory to the Communist Party narrative.
Westerners don’t really understand that there is a hell of a lot of dislike for the West, and especially America, which has taken to lecturing China over a whole range of issues, such lecturing not being taken with anything like good grace.
China and the Chinese, even a large part of the overseas Chinese population, consider this sort of this to reek of hypocritical disrespect, and as the economic, military, and other powers of the mainland continue to grow, the irritation with western condescension grows as well.
Is Chan “ungrateful?” He made a lot of money here, certainly, but as noted philosopher Willie Sutton once remarked, he robbed banks because that was where the money was. I’m not sure he “owes” us anything, certainly not respect for a nation that feels entirely free to lecture his own country, while ignoring the log-sized motes in its own eye.