The Bad Guy

Cannonball Run, Chinese DVD Subtitles

Remember Cannonball Run? Wish you didn’t? A few years ago I watched it again for the first time and found to my horror that it was so very entertaining…But not in the way one might think. It was not in the traditional, ironic, “so bad it’s good” sense. No, I found a way to watch this movie so that it became a comedy classic for the ages:

The Asian bootleg version’s English subtitles.

It’s no secret that dialogue is changed when movies are translated for foreign audiences. Some jokes don’t translate well and many cultural references don’t connect. To solve this problem, dialogue is changed so the targeted audience can better relate to the material. Having said that, rarely do Americans get to experience those changes for themselves. That is not the case for this DVD. You see, the subtitles are not the original American script, verbatim, they are translations of the Chinese translation of the American script.

+Highlights+

-For some reason the translators decided the best way to handle Dom DeLuise’s character was to mock him without mercy. They don’t even give him a name, everybody in the movie just calls him “Fatso.” I may not be the biggest fan of Dom DeLuise, but even I know that the man deserves more respect than he’s given by the translators.

The above photo shows that “Captain Chaos” (the alter ego of DeLuise’s character) has been changed to “The Godfather.” I like this change. It shows that the translators threw their hands up early on this and decided to wing it for the rest of the script.

-More “Fatso” mocking ensues later in the film when Farrah Fawcett has a heart-to-heart with Dom about how cool Burt Reynolds is. In a good movie (which Reynolds has made plenty of) this is not necessary, but this is not one of those films. Yes, the audience does need to be reminded of how awesome Burt is when he does a shitty movie. It’s like when you take a friend to see your favorite band and they play a bad show. On your way home you’ll keep telling your friend “They’re usually a lot better…Honest.” Of course the translation makes no mention of the awesomeness of Burt. Instead we get Farrah Fawcett asking Dom about what it’s like to be a fat guy.

Wha, wha, WHAT!!! What the hell were they even talking about? And why did Farrah call Dom a coward? Man, these translators really had it in for DeLuise.

-The forced romance between Reynolds and Fawcett is given an extra boost during their first meeting thanks to the new English subtitles. The original dialogue had Reynolds and Fawcett going on about trees and their beauty. Reynolds obviously is just humoring her, but Fawcett’s character is a genuine tree-hugger. I give great thanks to the translators for calling “bullshit” and rewriting the scene to make it less painful.






– In the original, a middle-aged woman bristles at being called “madame.” She shouts back that she is a respectable woman. Thanks to the new subtitles, she is annoyed for the opposite reason:

A globe-trotting prostitute in a muumuu? I’m intrigued by how these translators think (Note: Kowloon Tong, from what I understand, is a part of Hong Kong known for motels with hourly rates.) .

-Not to mention:

Don’t get your hopes up, pencil-neck. He meant tobacco products.

And:

…Until 2001. Then your’re screwed.

-What’s even cooler about the version I have is that Burt Reynolds is not even given top billing, Jackie Chan is. This makes some sense when you think back to when the “Green Hornet” was broadcast in Hong Kong it was titled “the Kato Show” or something. Anyway, there’s this one scene where Jackie gets bored and decides to watch a porno in the car while driving:

They turned Behind The Green Door into a revenge flick?!?! These translators are awesome!!! I would love to watch the rest of BTGD with these guys rewriting the script:

Marilyn Chambers: You sicken me…Give me that dick!

So if you ever find yourself someplace selling this gem (I bought it for $3 in SF at a Chinatown DVD/VCD store) I suggest you buy this and share it with your friends. Just don’t be surprised if your friends tell you to go to hell.

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May 19, 2007 - Posted by | burt reynolds, Cannonball Run, Dom DeLuise, Farrah Fawcett, jackie chan, movies, translations

6 Comments »

  1. This is really amazing!

    Comment by geltsgirl | May 20, 2007 | Reply

  2. I give Burt’s toupee a 4 out of 10 in this movie.

    Comment by Myrtle | May 20, 2007 | Reply

  3. What would have made his toupee better? Or, what made you subtract stars from the toupee?

    Comment by thebadguy | May 20, 2007 | Reply

  4. It’s too boofy, like “Let’s blow dry it big, so it looks like he has a lot of hair. If you’re a Burt Reynolds fan, you can just tell….

    Comment by Myrtle | May 20, 2007 | Reply

  5. Keep in mind that he had to compete with Farrah Fawcett’s ultra-boofy, proto-Kip-Winger-do. Next to that thing, Burt’s toupee looks tame.

    Comment by thebadguy | May 20, 2007 | Reply

  6. […] Cannonball Run Subtitles I had a lot of stills left over from my last post about the Cannonball Run and I decided that they should not go to […]

    Pingback by More Cannonball Run Subtitles « The Bad Guy | May 22, 2007 | Reply


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