Senator Lindsey Graham has decried Top Gun: Maverick for removing the flags of Taiwan and Japan from the lead character's iconic jacket, blaming the influence of 'Chinese money.'
'It's the power of Chinese money in the modern world. It kind of sucks,' the South Carolina Republican told a TMZ camera as he strolled down a hallway on Capitol Hill Tuesday.
'I hate to see the flag removed because of Chinese financing,' Graham continued.
On Friday, a trailer for the new movie revealed the change - which many observers were quick to attribute to a financing deal with Tencent Pictures, a Chinese film distributor and production company.
Tom Cruise's character is seen left in the original with patches of the flags of Japan and Taiwan, and right in the sequel where the flags have been replaced by mystery symbols
'It's the power of Chinese money in the modern world. It kind of sucks,' the Senator Lindsey Graham told a TMZ camera as he strolled down a hallway on Capitol Hill Tuesday
Tencent is one of the main production investors in the film, a sequel to the classic 1986 movie starring Tom Cruise as the ace naval aviator Maverick.
The Chinese government denies the separate governance of Taiwan, which it considers a rogue province, and has fraught relations with Japan.
In the 1986 film, the patch on Maverick's jacket reads, 'Far East Cruise 63-4 USS Galveston' and featured flags for the U.S., the United Nations, Japan, and Taiwan.
The patch references an actual U.S. Navy guided-missile cruiser that was deployed to the waters surrounding Taiwan and Japan.
In the sequel, the patch now reads 'Indian Ocean Cruise 85-86 United States Navy', and the Japanese and Taiwanese flags have been replaced with symbols of similar colors, but which do not appear