sao feng, the jolly yellow peril pirate

Well, the third Pirates of the Caribbean movie opens in theaters today (technically, last night) and it's sure to make a boatload of money (har har). Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End apparently takes the story into Asia, where Captain Jack Sparrow and his mates encounter Singapore pirate Captai Sao Feng, played by Chow Yun-Fat. Now, when I first heard they were taking the franchise into the "Orient," I was dreading the usual stereotypical imagery that would probably follow, but at the same time kind of excited that we might get to see Chow Yun-Fat sink his teeth into a really fun role. Based on what I've been reading here and there, it's pretty much everything I was dreading... From the Boston Globe:
Chow Yun-Fat shows up as the sneering Singapore pirate lord Sao Feng, but Verbinski is never sure what to do with the character and the movie drifts close to yellow-peril cliche when he lusts after Elizabeth.
Scary, marauding Asian pirate lusting after pretty white girl. Did it really have to go there? And according to this snippet from Ain't-It-Cool News:
3. Chow Yun-Fat makes a great sleazy pirate. I wish he was in the movie more. And maybe a little less rape-y there at the end.
I'm actually okay with sleazy, but "rape-y"? Great. Not what I wanted to hear. And I definitely don't want to see Chow Yun-Fat getting all Bride-of-Fu-Manchu with Keira Knightley. Yellow peril, indeed. Here's another good one from the Village Voice:
Ah, but I have forgotten Captain Sao Feng! Luxuriating in the hysterical chinoiserie of his exotic Singapore lair, this outrageous Oriental (played by Chow Yun-Fat) has been wedged into the Pirates panoply in order to exude colorful slant-eyed menace, enable the destiny of a white woman, then die. Impaled by one of the many large wood splinters incessantly flung about the narrative, Sao Feng bestows a totem of Super Piratehood to Miss Swann. Off she goes to join a reunion of the Super Pirates and fend off the snooty imperialists of the Dutch East India Company.
This SPOILER HEAVY other review from Ain't-It-Cool pretty much gives away the whole movie, including what happens to Sao Feng (DO NOT READ IT IF YOU DO NOT WANT TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS). Looks like I won't be rushing out to the movie theater this weekend.

Speaking of Chow Yun Fat, here he is telling the world what we already knew—Hollywood doesn't have good leading roles for Asian men: Chow Yun-Fat wants to take the lead in U.S. films. And speaking of leading roles for Asian men—Asian American men, that is—here's a Washington Post article on Jeff Adachi's documentary The Slanted Screen, airing on PBS this month: 'Slanted Screen' Rues The Absence Of Asians

angry archive