We know that the first rule of Fight Club is you do not talk about Fight Club, but forgive us; we have to talk about Fight Club. More specifically, how the film was recently released on China’s streaming platform Tencent Video with a brand new ending.
The 1999 film’s original ending is iconic and is considered one of the best plot twists in movie history; we find out that the Narrator, played by Edward Norton has been imagining the smooth-talking Tyler Durden, played by Brad Pitt, the entire time and Tyler is nothing more than an alter ego of the Narrator himself.
Not only this, the Narrator goes on to ‘kill’ Tyler and allows the ‘Project Mayhem’ plan — bombing a number of buildings in the financial district in order to erase all bank and debt records, essentially destroying consumerism — to go ahead. Fight Club ends with the Narrator and his girlfriend Marla, played by Helena Bonham Carter, watching as the explosions detonate and buildings begin to collapse.
However, this ending has been completely removed from the Fight Club that’s just been released in China. Instead, a caption appears onscreen and explains that police figured out the bombing plan, prevented the bombs from detonating, arrested all the criminals involved and that Tyler Durden was sent to an asylum.
While China is notorious for having strict film censorship rules, meaning the China Film Admistritation (CFA) can either ban films entirely or remove certain scenes that are deemed ‘unsuitable’, this is a rare instance in which an entire ending of a film has been altered. And people are not happy.
Chuck Palahniuk, the author of the book Fight Club on which the film was based, sarcastically tweeted how wonderful everyone getting a happy ending is:
While Human Rights Watch has called the change “dystopian.”
One user on the Chinese social network service, Douban was very displeased with the edited ending to Fight Club and wrote:
“This is disrespectful to art.”
It looks like the CFA was influenced by the Narrator’s line “I felt like destroying something beautiful” and decided to destroy Fight Club‘s ending. The irony is that Tyler Durden’s character wholly embodies rule-breaking, so we wonder how many Chinese viewers will be influenced by Tyler to break the CFA rules and watch the original ending…