The ‘Fight Club’ ending scene was completely cut from the Chinese version of the hit 1999 film
It can be fascinating to see how films are changed to meet the needs and expectations of different audiences around the world. Often popular TV shows and movies are remade for audiences in different countries, but some of the most interesting changes come when the original has been altered.
This was the case for fight club when it was released on the Tencent Video China streaming service. While many movies are banned outright, Chinese editing made the dramatic decision to rewrite the ending, likely to better fit cultural norms of authority.
“Fight Club” is a scathing critique of capitalism
fight club is definitely a political movie, but its overall ethos can be a little hard to pin down. The film is based on a book of the same name written by Chuck Palahniuk.
In both the book and the film, an unnamed protagonist (Edward Norton) meets a man named Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt) on a plane. Soon their lives intertwine in unexpected ways, and the narrator finds himself with a strange source of escape from the overwhelming boredom of his typical American existence.
What begins with attending support groups he doesn’t belong to turns into attending an underground fight club. As Tyler presses it, the narrator becomes increasingly engrossed in a life of soapmaking and crime. Before he knows how it happened, his home has become the center of a cult group of Tyler followers all seeking a sense of belonging and a way to escape the monotony of capitalism.
The power struggle between the Narrator and Tyler comes to a head as they argue over different worldviews (the Narrator thinks the scheme has gone too far) and compete for the love of a woman named Marla (Helena Bonham Carter ). The moment it’s revealed that there’s no battle other than the one in the narrator’s mind and that Tyler is his alter-ego, the plot exploded – literally.
China removed the original ‘Fight Club’ ending
Like Initiated reports, the 1999 film recently hit a streaming service in China, but viewers didn’t get the film’s original ending.
In the Chinese version of fight club, the police save the day and prevent the final terrorist act from happening. This reveal is not done through on-screen action but rather demonstrated with a title card. “Thanks to the clue provided by Tyler, the police quickly figured out the whole plan and arrested all the criminals, successfully preventing the bomb from detonating,” the card reads.
As for our protagonist, the Chinese ending sent him to a mental institution: “After the trial, Tyler was sent to an insane asylum to receive psychological treatment. He was released from hospital in 2012.
Chinese ending merges two different versions
While some will no doubt dispute an ending that thwarts individualistic rebellion through institutional power, this new ending is a bit closer to that of the book than the original film.
In the film, the narrator manages to kill his alter-ego before seeing the skyline explode in Tyler’s final violent outburst of rebel protest. The book sets up a similar explosion, but the detonation never occurs. Tyler has mixed the chemicals incorrectly and the narrator is taken into custody where he – as in the Chinese montage – will be sent to a mental institution.
Unlike the edited ending, however, Project Mayhem does not end the narrator’s detention. Instead, the employees of the mental institution reveal that they are in fact members of Tyler’s sprawling underground army, and any sense of relief that “Tyler” has been killed is replaced by the understanding that the movement it started cannot be so easily stopped. The narrator may have faced his own inner demons, but not before they spread far beyond his reach.
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