7. Short Round - Indiana Jones and the Temple of DoomWhy he's hated?
As a movie about an upper class white American who goes to a foreign countries and "appropriates" an artifact by force, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is arguably as culturally insensitive as Hollywood movies come. Factor in Indy's sidekick for the movie, Short Round, a short Asian orphan who speaks in broken English, and... well, I can't see how that can be insensitive. Mind you, a lot of films in the '80s had this same stock character (Revenge of The Nerds and The Goonies, for example), which made it seem both racist and cliche. Why's he underrated?
Well, Short Round's definitely a racially-inclined character, but he's nowhere near as bad as he could have been. For example, in The Goonies, the Asian kid is called "Data" and carries around a bunch of gadgets that save the heroes. Why does he do this? Um... because Asians are good with technology? He has no characterization beyond just having lots of gadgets on him. In Sixteen Candles, foreign exchange student Long Duck Dong has a gong accompany every mention of his name. Why does that happen? Um... because Asians like gongs? The only overtly "Asian" aspect of Short Round is that he speaks broken English, which is understandable, since he lives in Shanghai and is young enough to logically not know enough English. Most of the other stereotypes are avoided: he doesn't reference East Asia or have any "Asian" skills (except a bit of karate). He's just a goofy kid character, really, and a much less offensive archetype than audiences were used to. On top of that, he and Indy actually have some pretty funny banter.