People have been getting Fight Club all wrong since its release in the fall of 1999. Based on Chuck Palahniuk’s 1996 novel, the film’s themes of anti-fascist, anti-consumerism, identity, and masculinity have been misinterpreted by critics for year. However, according to Vice, a recent online release on the Chinese streaming site Tencent Video reportedly features a tacked-on title card that may be the most egregious misunderstanding of the film to date.
I am Jack’s sense of curiosity.
In the original theatrical cut of Fight Club, Edward Norton’s Narrator and Marla Singer (Helena Bonham Carter) gaze out a high rise and hold hands as the buildings containing the major credit companies explode and crumble. Tyler Durden’s—Norton’s alter ego—plan to destroy consumerism has started: all credit card debt will disappear and everyone is going to start back at zero. Pretty cool ending, right? Certainly for anybody who had dodged calls from Capital One or MasterCard.
But in the new climax, a title card is added stating that the plan was foiled, his accomplices arrested, and Tyler Durden was sent to an asylum for treatment before being discharged from the hospital in 2012.
I am Jack’s feeling of disbelief.
Alright, we guess? When they say “Tyler,” it can be assumed they mean Norton and not the figment of the Narrator’s imagination portrayed by Brad Pitt. The new ending completely undermines the themes of the film and feels more in line with a Dick Wolf cop show than one of the coolest, subversive, major Hollywood pictures of the ‘90s. And while in the original novel, Durden’s plan does fall apart due to faulty explosives and he does wake up in a mental hospital, suggesting that the police stop him and he pays his due to society reeks of the Hollywood’s Hays Code that made it that all criminal acts in film must be punished.
I am Jack’s total feeling of disgust.
China’s censorship system is strict and makes sure that all media fall in line with Communist Party ideals. Films from Hong Kong, the United States, and beyond are altered by the censors to cut out subversive concepts, nudity, and gore... you know, the good stuff.
Some filmmakers even make it a point to shoot alternate versions of the film so that it can play in the mainland Chinese market. In this case, the law enforcement do-gooders have to defeat the diabolical Tyler Durden.