We all know that Asians as the leads/protagonists in Hollywood movies is a rare thing, but I remember a time—not too long ago—when it was not so rare to see Asians as the villains. Whether it was the insidious Fu Manchu plotting revenge against some pasty British white dude or the Vietcong general biding his time before Rambo or Chuck Norris killed him, there seemed to be a regular stream of “Oriental” baddies. Sure, many of these roles were stereotypical, but at least they were real roles. Not like the nameless, faceless yellow hordes you see today in films like Red Dawn…
Torn between my love of Benedict Cumberbatch as King of All Nerds along with my dislike of the creepiness of Richardo Montalbon’s weird plastic chest, and the fact that this article is completely right!
One of the most interesting things about the character of Khan Noonien Singh is that the Great Bird of the Galaxy chose to portray an augmented superhuman— the ultimate product of a Eugenics War— not as the blonde hair, blue eyed Aryan stereotype typical of post-WWII American cinema. Khan has always been distinctly and, until this movie, undeniably Sikh. And though Montalbon’s Mexican ethnicity isn’t exactly a perfect fit, it sure beats Cumberbatch’s “almost-albino” melanin sensibilities.
Well, I guess we should all be glad that it wasn’t as bad as Short Circuit.