Friday, November 16, 2007

Ocean's 十三

So I was watching Ocean's 13 last night-- a thoroughly mediocre heist flick-- and couldn't help but notice that all the characters suddenly knew Chinese.

One of the gang, of course, is a thieving Chinese midget, so hearing him chime in with the occasional 没有办法 or 好久不见 seemed reasonable enough. But it was strange that everyone else in the gang (except Bernie Mac, for some reason) seemed to understand what he was saying; not just the short phrases, but clever jokes and technical explanations, too. The Chinese character speaks in rapid-fire Mandarin, and everyone else in the apparently bi-lingual gang reacts accordingly.

Watching George Clooney and Matt Damon pretend to understand Chinese somehow offends me. I spend years studying this language, and those handsome bastards just kind of "get it."


But the cast of Ocean's 13 does represent the hottest, sexiest machismo of American pop-culture, and it's interesting that Hollywood now considers speaking Mandarin to be a requiem for skunk-hunks movie stars.

AND ANOTHER THING: Matt Damon, acting as an arrogant translator for a Chinese real-estate mogul, scores a one-liner with "We own all the airspace south of Beijing: try building anything above three-stories in the Tianjin province and see if our name comes up in your database."

Of all the provinces south of Beijing, they had to pick the one that's not actually a province... Tianjin is a city and federal municipality. Didn't ANYONE on the set (like, the Chinese guy) think to correct this?

No comments: