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Pet Sins January 2000

Lethal Weapon 4

I went with a non-Chinese friend to see Lethal Weapon 4 -- we all agreed it was stupid and racist. Mel Gibson said "Enter the drag queen" when he first saw Jet Li. Although I have nothing against drag queens, the way Gibson said it could only have been derogatory, like the way people say, "so gay". Throughout the movie, the hero directs similar slurs at ethnic characteristics of Jet Li.

Almost all the Chinese in the movie were either cold-blooded killers or triad members or waiters or illegal immigrants. There was one Chinese cop character who seemingly did not mind Mel Gibson calling Jet Li's Chinese suit "white pajamas."

It won't be too far a stretch to say movies like this reinforce racist sentiments in the general public. Read the Bad Movie Night review of Lethal Weapon 4, in which the reviewer, a white male, says:

One thing in its favor-surely this is the first and only movie to show us a pregnant woman beating up a Chinese guy.

What's so favorable about beating up a Chinese guy? Why does he bring up the race of the person being beaten up? The pregnant woman in question, is of course European American.

Also, Danny Glover rescues a BIG Chinese family off the boat of illegal immigrants. The family consists of 2 parents and many children. Clearly the screenwriter has no idea of China's internationally-known one-child policy. The stories of government officials entering the homes of pregnant women and taking them to abortion clinics are real. Though the one child policy has been violated often in rural areas, typically even rural Chinese cannot get away with more than a couple of extra kids. Many families deal with the regulation by abandoning baby girls. This portrayal of a large family in Lethal Weapon 4 says, "Because they're Asian they must be poor and desperate and have no knowledge of birth control."

Have you also noticed how Danny Glover is always getting to do the humiliating things like do a dance in his underwear, or knocking stuff over. Mel Gibson never gets put through stuff like that. It seems the Lethal Weapon series uses the black man for the comic relief a lot more often than it does the same thing to the white man.

7/98