When the trailer for “The Great Wall,” the latest movie directed by Zhang Yimou, was released, quite a few eyebrows rose around the world. The film, like many of Zhang’s work, seems to be set in Ancient China. However, Matt Damon stars in the movie, and it is said to involve a battle between Chinese and Western soldiers against a horde of demons lurking north of the Great Wall. Also, a group of people on Twitter, especially Taiwanese American actress Constance Wu, are pretty sure that the movie is racist.

The basis of this accusation is somewhat unclear. Ms. Wu seems to object to the idea of a “white man” saving the world.

Besides Damon, Pedro Pascal of Game of Thrones fame and Willem Dafoe star with a vast Asian cast in what is said to be the most expensive movie ever to be filmed in China. The cast for the movie has been known for over a year, though the complaints started more recently.

The production is international, with Westerners, including Edward Zwick who directed “Glory,” “Legends of the Fall,” and “The Last Samurai,” having written the story. Zhang is most famous for his internationally acclaimed Chinese language films that include “Raise the Red Lantern,” “Hero,” and “House of the Flying Daggers.”

Part of Constance Wu’s rant is derived from the idea that not enough starring roles have been created for Asian actors.

Zhang’s body of work would seem to contradict that idea, not to mention the immense popularity of “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.” Asian actors such as Jet Li, Chung Yun Fat, Michelle Yeoh, and Zhang Ziyi have become internationally celebrated film stars in the 21st Century. Even before this century, actors such as Jackie Chan and, of course, the great Bruce Lee have shone on the big screen.

The accusation of “whitewashing,” the practice of casting a Western actor in a traditionally Asian role does not seem to fit. The story is original to the movie, set during the Northern Song Dynasty of about 1,000 years ago. European merchants and diplomats did occasionally make their way down the Silk Road to China, the most famous being the Venetian explorer and trader Marco Polo.

Damon’s character appears to be a mercenary who finds redemption fighting a war he can finally believe in.

The outrageous outrage seems to be motived by the need to feel angry about something. “The Great Wall,” which opens in China in December and the United States early in 2017, may be a fun movie or may turn out to be a bomb. The film has now become controversial.

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