‘Hard pass’: Netflix’s ‘Kate’ criticized for having a white protagonist who’s out to ‘kill Asians’

Protagonist aiming at Asian guy

A number of social media users are saying no to a new action-adventure film from Netflix after learning that its white protagonist is headed for an Asian murder spree.

What’s it about: “Kate,” which releases on Sept. 10, centers on a “ruthless criminal operative” who was poisoned and left with less than 24 hours to exact revenge on her enemies. In the process, she forms an “unexpected bond” with the daughter of one of her past victims.

  • Mary Elizabeth Winstead, who received praises for her performance as Huntress in the film “Birds of Prey,” will play the lead role. As per Indie Wire, Netflix’s official synopsis states that Kate “uncharacteristically blows an assignment targeting a member of the yakuza in Tokyo,” which leads her to being poisoned.
  • The film also stars Woody Harrelson as Kate’s handler. Other cast members include Miku Martineau, Tadanobu Asano, Michiel Huisman and Jun Kunimura.
  • The action-adventure is helmed by French film director and visual effects artist Cedric Nicolas-Troyan. It is written by Umair Aleem and produced by Bryan Unkeless, Kelly McCormick and Patrick Newall, according to Entertainment Weekly.

What critics are saying: “Kate” has received more positive comments as of this writing, with many thrilled to see the involvement of Japanese rock band BAND-MAID and Winstead’s return in an action role. However, some laid out reasons why the film is problematic, and they’re all based on the idea that the lead character — a white person — is killing Asians.

  • One Twitter user accused the film of Asian fetishization: “Shame on Netflix for this. After this past year especially, to then release a film that is literally white people murdering Asian people based on stereotypes and fetishization??? Hard pass.”
  • Another called out the presence of white lead characters in Asian settings: “Love Winstead. But stop putting white leads around Asian culture in an Asian city while every antagonist is Asian. And what’s Hollywood’s obsession with the Yakuza, like, damn.”
  • Meanwhile, one simply wrote: “#StopAsianHate. That’s it. That’s the tweet.”

Check out more tweets below:

Featured Image Screenshots via Netflix

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