So once again we have survived.

Lethal Weapon 4

tn_lethalweapon4LETHAL WEAPON 4 is a family affair. In part 1 we just had suicidal widower Riggs becoming friends with ol’ Murtaugh and his family. We still have them, but also their friend Leo (added in part 2) and Riggs’s girlfriend Lorna (added in part 3) who now he’s thinking about marrying and they live together so now he has two trailers next to each other instead of the one. And he still has his dog from part 1 plus the dog guard he stole from the bad guys and rehabilitated in part 3. And Lorna is pregnant and Murtaugh’s daughter Rianne is also pregnant and also Chris Rock is in this one and also a Chinese family called the Hongs. There’s even four new writers on this one. The cast just keeps getting bigger, like how in a long running sitcom like The Cosby Show or Roseanne they have a bunch of new grandkids and spouses and shit added on by the end.

Because of that it’s unwieldy and kinda forced sometimes how they find all these people things to do, but also it’s kinda sweet that they care about these characters and want to keep revisiting them. And the end credits is a photo album with not just the actors but also the crew members and they play “Why Can’t We Be Friends?” by War and it’s just a good, positive vibe. They wanted to give a happy ending to this guy Riggs who used to wake up every morning and put a gun in his mouth. (Some people just drink coffee.)

The villainy is international again. This time it’s human trafficking. A Chinese general is running an operation where they smuggle people into the U.S. but make them indentured servants to pay off the trip. Through ridiculous coincidence Murtaugh & Riggs + Leo get involved because they’re out fishing (Murtaugh has a new boat) when the ship comes in and almost hits them and they get in a shootout. And they do well in that shootout despite being 3 guys in a tiny boat going up against dozens of heavily armed guys in a huge boat. ‘Cause Riggs is a lethal weapon. And ’cause ‘Nam.

By the way, in this scene there is also a shark. I think Donner knew this was gonna be the last one and he wasn’t gonna fuckin skimp out. He wasn’t gonna not put a shark in it.

mp_lethalweapon4The Hongs, who include among their members a cute young boy named Ping, are one of these families being smuggled on the boat, and they come to live with Murtaugh after he discovers their plight. Riggs points out that he’s an officer of the law sheltering illegal immigrants, but Murtaugh can’t justify not helping them. “I’m freein slaves,” he says. He figures if he could help his people during the slavery days he would’ve done it and if he can help these people now who are being forced to work for bad people then he has to do it.

Part 1 was written color blind, but all three sequels have Murtaugh facing issues that are personal to him because of his race. This may be partly because of Glover’s own activism, or partly because Donner tries to get some of his messages into each of these. This one also shows some anti-handgun/NRA posters in the police headquarters, in the tradition of the anti-fur message on the semi, except that it makes more sense for cops to care about keeping guns off the streets than truckers to care about keeping minks off of lady’s backs.

But if you’re worried it’s “politically correct,” don’t worry, Riggs is pretty racist in this one. It wasn’t as bad as I expected from what I’d heard over the years, but having him taunting an Asian man about the ol’ l’s instead of r’s stereotype is a knuckleheaded addition to an obviously well-meaning movie. And why do racists always go to food for their insults? Just once I’d like to see a racist dipshit draw upon the rich histories of the cultures he’s denigrating instead of going straight to eggrolls or burritos. I’m looking at you too James Carter as played  by Chris Tucker in the RUSH HOUR movies. Maybe something about terra cotta warriors? There must be something you know about China that doesn’t come from a menu.

There’s an interesting time capsule moment here having to do with some gay jokes. It’s well past the ’80s, when straight up anti-gay jokes could be in a mainstream movie without raising any eyebrows, but not quite to today when it would be completely frowned upon. The joke is that Chris Rock is secretly married to Rianne, so he tries to build a relationship with Murtaugh, which is mistaken as him having a crush. The joke is all about Murtaugh’s discomfort, but surprisingly it’s not really played in an “ew, gross” type of way. Playing along, Riggs says it’s okay because “This is not the military, this is the police force.” Yeah, I’m sure he’s acting accepting just to fuck with his partner, but he’s also drawing attention to the unfairness of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” era. It’s interesting I think. Baby steps to progress.

There’s one scene that’s pretty funny to watch in retrospect, considering Gibson’s later reputation as an anti-Semite. Lorna’s about to go into labor and (SPOILER) decides she wants to marry Riggs first, so they desperately try to find an ordained person in the hospital. The guy they find is a rabbi. “You Jewish?” he asks.

“Not necessarily,” says Riggs.

But they go through with it, so Riggs at least seems to be okay with Judaism. Good for him.

Like part 3 there’s alot of comedy riffing that doesn’t necessarily work. But it has some laughs too. Riggs can be a good smart ass. I like when he drives into a tense Triad meeting in a warehouse, obnoxiously honking his horn. He asks, “And who’s a naughty general, huh?”

There is a naughty general (in some countries it’s called CRAZY BULLET 4: THE NAUGHTY GENERAL [parenthetical statement has not been fact-checked]) but the main villain is a different guy played by Jet Li in his first Hollywood movie. It’s usually hard for me to accept him as a bad guy, but he’s menacing in this, acting mostly with glares and seemingly impossible kicks. It’s a funny idea to cast him as the villain after Riggs was supposed to be this “lethal weapon” because of his fighting skills. Let’s see if he can hang with the fuckin fist of legend.

It’s not fair, though. Riggs has to fake a shoulder injury (remember how he could dislocate it to escape from straightjackets?) to get out of sparring in a boxing ring with a younger cop. Now he’s claiming “too old for this shit” status to lower our hopes for his fighting skills. But let’s be honest, even sleek part 1 Riggs would’ve had to think twice about giving Jet Li a shot at the title.

In my review of part 3 I neglected to mention how good some of the action was. I was especially impressed by the chase scene involving a subway, a motorcycle, a freeway overpass. This series might be the ultimate example of the Joel Silver style of big ass spectacle that became synonymous with action movies in the ’80s. But I like the action in part 4 even better. The chase in this one reminds me of another great Joel Silver produced sequence, the one in THE MATRIX RELOADED (a movie he tried to cast Jet Li in, incidentally). Here, Riggs jumps from a fast moving car to an oversized load, a piece of a model home wrapped in plastic on the back of a trailer. He busts through the window of another moving vehicle to snatch a triad, fights him inside the house, they’re bouncing each other off a wall of plastic as its staples start to pop out. Next thing you know Riggs is skidding at 60 mph on a table hanging from a line of twisted plastic wrap and throwing a table leg through the windshield of a guy shooting at him to protect himself long enough to climb back into Murtaugh’s car like he’s part of the Toretto gang. That’s shortly before they jump off the freeway, crash into an office building, plow through an entire floor of cubicles, crash out the other side and plummet back onto the freeway in time to catch up with the guy they’re chasing.

Can you picture seeing a scene like that in a theater in 2014? I can’t. I guess it was a better time for action movies than we realized at the time. Some of the American directors were starting to internalize the lessons of the Hong Kong action boom. That table stunt could’ve been in a POLICE STORY sequel.

This is a movie that opens with fire exploding out of the Warner Brothers logo, and our boys are responding to a block where some fuckin psycho is on a rampage wearing armor and attacking storefronts with a blowtorch and an assault rifle. It’s like when somebody goes wild in a tank, except it’s a guy instead of a vehicle. But when they come across him and see what he’s doing, Murtaugh asks casually, “Who is this joker?”

That’s a hell of a guy to fight at the beginning of a movie, and of course Jet Li is a good one to fight at the end. It’s a great final showdown where Murtaugh and Riggs consider leaving, but decide to stay and take him on. I guess they’re taking their shot at the title this time. Their comeback fight. Of course being the bad guy Jet doesn’t get to win, but at least Hollywood doesn’t make him go out like a bitch. First, Murtaugh impales him on rebar. Then Riggs lifts him by holding each end of the bar. Then the floor collapses and they fall underwater. The bastard is still fighting with no air so Riggs has to unload a machine gun into him! And they don’t make this clear but I’m pretty sure he used silver bullets or it wouldn’t have worked.

We don’t know much about Li’s character, and I honestly think they get more mileage out of him by being minimalistic about it. He doesn’t talk much, I think he only has one line in English. He mostly just glares at people, waits for his moment when it’s time strike, and then he’s very economical about his movement. He’ll throw in a crazy spinning kick but when he’s done he’ll stand and pose again. We know he’s an asshole, because don’t tell me he didn’t notice Lorna was pregnant when he kicked her! If they make LETHAL WEAPON: THE NEXT GENERATION we know that Riggs Jr. is gonna be a bad motherfucker ’cause he survived a kick from Jet Li in-utero. (And he’d live in a mini-trailer next to the other two and Leo would be his nanny.)

And yet there’s this moment where Jet’s partner gets killed and he’s devastated, he even starts to cry a little. And he comes after Murtaugh and Riggs with fiery vengeance in his eyes. So there is some kind of vulnerable human being in there, a guy who cares about some other people in his life. Other than that it’s left to the imagination. I like that.

Once again I’m impressed that they want to show us what happens to all these characters, and build on what’s come before. Murtaugh still likes boats, Riggs still likes trailers and dogs. When Riggs falls underwater there’s a callback to skills established in part 3. There’s a funny/dumb joke that they get promoted to captains, but only because the department can’t fire them but they’ve caused so much damage that they can’t have be on the streets without the city losing their insurance. And of course there is alot of concern about once-young Riggs suffering from getting too old for this shitism. It seems like only yesterday that he was slinking around shirtless and showing off his hair, now he’s falling apart. But Murtaugh gets him chanting “We’re not too old for this shit!”

I was touched by the scene where Riggs, so much older and worn than when we first met him, walking with a cane, goes to the grave of his dead wife looking for permission to remarry. (I’m glad they didn’t put his dead South African girlfriend’s grave there too though, that would’ve been too much).

In fact, they even manage to make the inclusion of Leo kinda sweet, despite his new habit of saying “Whatever” way too much. He seems like a hanger-on in the movie, but it turns out he feels that way in life too. He’s looking for acceptance as a member of the family, and he gets it (SPOILER).

Obviously I didn’t have huge expectations for this or I would’ve watched it years ago. And that probly helps me to forgive some of the less successful aspects, such as the jokes about elderly people not being able to control their bodily functions (getting too old for this piss), or the joke about tricking Murtaugh into stripping to his drawers, although I’m sure some people liked that more than I did. But watching it now, in close proximity to the other ones, it’s like a cop movie UP series, seeing them meet and age and build families and occasionally be involved in gun fights and giant explosions. It’s a pretty good send-off. Alot happier ending than they almost got in part 2. May you forever be too old for this shit, fellas.


VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.
This entry was posted on Monday, January 13th, 2014 at 1:27 pm and is filed under Action, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

148 Responses to “Lethal Weapon 4”

  1. I think it is Jet Li´s brother not his partner and that is why he is upset.

  2. To be honest I thought you would tear this one a new asshole, Vern. But I am glad you could see its advantages.

  3. The fact that Riggs gets married by a rabbi is the thing I always bring up when people talk about Gibson’s anti-Semitism. I know it’s the character doing it, but you can’t tell me he couldn’t have had that part taken out of the script (if this movie even had a script) if he really had a problem with it.

    Anyway, a lot of the comedy is pretty shameless, but I’ll admit that I laughed in the theater. As a movie, it’s not that great, but as a series capper, it gives me a warm fuzzy.

  4. My theory does not hold water entirely, but I suspect the reason Li´s character wants to pull off this elaborate scheme is to free his older brother who is part of the Triads.

  5. I think the banter in this one is forced and trying too damn hard. But the action is pretty solid (that car chase really is pretty great). And I love the Jet Li silent villain character. I would not have shed a tear if Joe Pesci’s character were not brought back though.

  6. The whole freeway chase was filmed in Las Vegas rather than LA, where it’s set. I think you might be able to see the Luxor in it at one point.

  7. Conan Lee who plays Li´s “partner/brother” in LW4 is also in the tremendous LW ripoff TIGER ON THE BEAT starring against legendary Chow Yun-Fat. A fucking phenomenal movie if I may say so.

  8. I’ll reiterate what I said before that it’s amazing that for something that started filming 6 months before the release date without a shooting script, that it managed to be a serviceable end to the series. The banter feels a little forced, and some of the comic beats are a little cringe-worthy now but it could have been so much worse given the circumstances.

    The climactic fight is pretty great for all the reasons stated, and I also thought the rescue towards the end was something of a nice emotional moment (the point hammered a little with Kamen and Clapton’s music, which segues nicely to the cemetery scene). Without consulting IMDB, I think the rabbi is played by the same actor who was Chevy Chase’s newspaper boss in both FLETCH movies. Also has some brief spots from the Pet Rock guy in OFFICE SPACE and the landlord/performance artist in THE BIG LEBOWSKI.

    The “Why Can’t We Be Friends?” moment was a good closing song, and so glad they didn’t use the Smash Mouth version that was popular around that time. Also the song which follows it up, the title track to Clapton’s PILGRIM album which had come out before LW 4. It’s Eric doing his best Curtis Mayfield, with as little rock in the background as possible other than his guitar playing.

  9. A good film to finish the series on. I’m glad they gave us a good time with all the family stuff. The last two DIE HARDS seem to have taken a leaf out of that by adding the family business.

  10. …albeit with less family.

  11. As people have mentioned, there are some well executed moments in the film. Jet Li is a great at playing an unstoppable force and the freeway chase scene is tops. Lethal Weapon 4 kind of reminds me of a TV finale for a series that went on for too long. It may seem hollow at times, and it compares unfavorably to its glory days, but I can’t help but get emotional about saying goodbye to these people I’ve hung out with for years.

  12. It’s funny when I first saw this movie in theaters in 1998, the audience(which had fair number of women) loved the movie. The freeway chase with the unfinished house Vern mentioned played like gangbusters. Then I go online on places like AICN and find out the majority of fans hated it. It was a good crowd pleaser for the average filmgoer but I guess the die hard film geeks thought it was too light compared to first LETHAL WEAPON. There’s also a great video online showing the first fight between Riggs, Murtaugh and the Jet Li character in Murtaugh’s house and they play audio of the audience reaction and they were so into it.

  13. The Original... Paul

    January 13th, 2014 at 3:56 pm

    Lawrence – “the fans” almost always hate the sequels anyway, you can’t go on that.

    I like this one – I agree absolutely with Vern on the chase sequence – but Riggs’ racism and the rabbi wedding at the end bother me more and more every time I watch it. Jet Li definitely steals the show though.

    Amazingly, Joe Pesci is bearable in it. I can’t remember a scene from LW2 that he’s in that’s as bad as the minute-long diatribe he gives in “LW2” after being given the wrong filling in his sandwich. (Seriously, that scene exists. It’s nothing but Joe Pesci playing Chris Tucker playing Adam Sandler on helium playing a five-year-old who’s really really annoyed about his sandwich order. Go rewatch the movie and check.) Anyway, back to LW4… It’s kinda sweet that it’s his character who does what he does at the very end, and the film does a good enough job of building him up that it feels “earned”.

    And *that* kick was a shockingly brutal moment for me the first time I saw the film. I know the whole LW series is basically about cops going to war, but that one kick really changed the tone of the film for me.

  14. The Original... Paul

    January 13th, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    I can’t remember a scene from LW*4* that he’s in that’s as bad as the sandwich diatribe from LW2, I meant. Messed that one up.

  15. I also saw this in the cinema with about six mates and it was a fuckin perfect time at the movies.

  16. Forgot to mention that I like the little moment during the freeway chase when Riggs says he could really use a siren right now and Murtaugh responds by screaming through the open window of his door (which I think made the trailers and TV spots).

  17. I dunno guys, I found the whole gay joke subplot both unfunny and too stupid for its own good. In fact honestly I found Rock kind annoying in this. Like since he was the hip shit at that time, lets get him to join our ensemble and it’ll get even better! It doesn’t.

    You know one thing I noticed about this when I rewatched some of it on cable recently was that its sure nice to be reminded that Hollywood used to crank out non-comedy big budget R rated actioneers, which in this era of neutered family friendly PG-13 actioneers you’ve been used to, its kinda a nice refresher to how things used to be you know? With the blue collar cop culture in these movies, it adds a nice layer of authenticity with 2 cops and their superior telling each other in fond terms to get the fuck out.

    Anyway unless I’m wrong, didn’t Shane Black write a script for a LETHAL WEAPON 5 several years ago or something that just didn’t go forward? If I remember the alleged details right, Murtaugh is retired and Riggs is in his last days when something comes up that gets them to reunite and you know shoot more shit up. I would’ve liked to read that script.

    If you know, it actually exists.

  18. Mr. Majestyk – Gibson hates Jews. Period. Let’s face it. You just have to watch The Passion of the Christ – one of the most hateful movies of all times (outside Nazi Germany). it’s pretty obvious that he got that shit from home, from his father: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hutton_Gibson
    It’s sad, but like other great artists (Shakespeare, Dickens, Dostoevsky, Fitzgerald, Hawks [not in his movies though]), Ice Cube, Scarface – to name a few), Gibson doesn’t seem to like us…
    Having said all that, I still like to see him do that Maccabean movie.

  19. Does Dean Devlin still consider himself a friend of Gibson’s? I remember when he stuck his neck out to defend Mad Mel, which then backfired when Mel kept going Mad Mel.

  20. I never understood why people make such a big deal out of the racism in this one. In the first two movies (less in the third to my memory), Riggs spends a lot of the time talking smack about some feature of the villains. These guys were Chinese, so he made Chinese jokes at their expense, but I don’t actually see how that’s different than the cultural and racial jokes he made during the first two movies other than that the villains in those movies were white.

  21. imdb tell mes this is from 1998, for some reason I was under the impression for sure that it was from 1997 and it actually being from 1998 blows my mind for some reason

  22. Shoot, since when has Vern ever really laid the smack down on any movie. Vern is a very positive movie reviewer, never being mean about any movie he’s seen. It’s very interesting actually.

  23. Finally Lethal Weapon 4. I’ve waited for you to get to this movie for a long time Vern. Hell I’ve waited a long time for this franchise. To me the Joel Silver produced Lethal Weapon franchise is as much a cornerstone of 80’s action cinema as Die Hard, Indiana Jones, or Rambo. But because Mr. Gibson has burnt every bridge and offended just about everyone who has any empathy for his fellow human beings, hope for further adventures of Riggs and Murtaugh (and Lorna, Leo, Butters, the dogs etc.) is as dead as, well, You Know Whose career. That aside I think that Lethal Weapon 4 holds a special place in the pantheon of action sequels that must be examined more closely. The Lethal Weapon sequels followed quickly one after the other, LW2 in ’89 and LW3 in ’92. But LW4 took six years to reach the screen. In-between those six years Mr. Gibson directing career had taken off with an Oscar for only his second movie, he was “top of the world” (to steal a line) and Mr. Gibson was almost too good for a franchise he was the head of. Money probably helped change his mind but I like to think he had fun making these movies and had good working relationships with the actors and crew. But the stories about no set script and an accelerated shooting schedule didn’t excite me at the time. Memories of the lackluster villain in LW3 who never seemed dangerous enough to be a real threat to the Riggs, Murtaugh, and Lorna trio seemed to be repeating itself when I read that the possible bad guys in LW4 would be Chinese Counterfeiters sounded like more of the same or worse. At the time it came out I’d never heard of Jet Li so when the movie came out and got terrible reviews I decided to stay away. It had been out for 3 weeks when a good friend who knew my taste in movies saw LW4 and adamantly recommended that I see it. On his recommendation I caught the second cheep showing of the day by myself hoping my instincts were wrong. Seldom in life have I been more wrong. LW4 became my favorite of the franchise hands down. I love these characters. Have for years and that emotional investment payed off with a ending climax that destroyed all of my expectations. When I realized that both Riggs AND Murtaugh were teaming up to take on The Silent Awesome Kung-fu Guy (remember I had no clue who Jet Li was or what his name was) I Lost My Mind. Before I continue a little history with how this movie was effecting me leading up to the ending. Riggs was unbeatable and in my mind unkillable. Not the Riggs in LW4. In his first fight on the boat he gets his ass handed to him… Fast.

  24. Chance — if you genuinely think PASSION is “one of the most hateful movies of all time” I can only conclude you just haven’t seen many movies or you haven’t seen that one. That’s a frankly ridiculous and entirely unsupported allegation which I can only assume derives from your perception of Gibson himself, not the movie. Is Gibson personally an anti-Semite? There certainly seems to be some evidence for that, although maybe not exactly an open-and-shut case. But the charge that PASSION is about Gibson’s hatred of Jews (let alone “one of the most hateful movies of all time”) is completely hyperbolic to the point of being meaningless. To make that case you’ve got to go waaaay outside anything actually shown in the movie. I suppose you also think APOCALYPTO is the second most hateful movie of all time?

  25. Riggs with the shit knocked out of him in the first thirty minutes of the movie? What the hell’s going on? It wasn’t the loss of the mullet was it? A 1990’s version of Samson? Or was it the now very pregnant Lorna who had stripped Riggs of his Lethal Weaponess? The next time we see the Bad Guy who kicked Riggs ass He himself is killed even faster than Riggs take down and with a move I’d never seen before. What the hell was the hooking the Bag Guys mouth move called? Wow. Later still the Super Awesome Kung-fu Guy takes out both of our heroes, looks like he’s about to lose, some how gets the best of them and knocks out Lorna (still very pregnant.) And that trick with the gun. How did he do the trick with the gun? So when I got to the climax I was jazzed to the max. The sound track during the Fight was heavily Asian influenced, something so different from the saxophone an electric guitar. Somehow it gave the Fight a different weight than previous fights in the franchise. It was so clear, in the years since the Fight in LW4 seems to grow as the shaky cam and quick cutting have taken the poetry out of a simple one on one duel. Or in this rare case one on two. The rain was almost a call back to the broken fire hydrant during the duel at the end of LW1. In that moment I was transported into that world. Two friends who had been part of my life for more than ten years were in a fight that seemed winnable. In the midst of all this I broke the arm of the theater chair. It was and old theater and I guess I’d gotten the drink holder in a death grip and pulled during a series of vicious head butts and the arm rest came off. Noticed only for a second and kept all my attention on my friends. All these years later and I tell the story of LW4 and the broken arm rest I always wish I’d smuggled it out and kept it as a souvenir of one of the best experiences I’ve ever had at the movies.

  26. Shane Black once said in an interview that everything he writes is based on his love for DIRTY HARRY. “But by the fourth one he had a farting dog!”

  27. I started this ramble by saying that LW4 was special in the pantheon of Action Franchises and as the years have gone on I’ve only found it to be more true. LW4 was the first time we saw I heroes grow old, lose a step, become human. Murtaugh was always “to old for this…” but never was. This was the first time we saw the bad ass go from a Lethal Weapon to human weapon. He wasn’t as cool eleven years later, by LW4 Riggs had been in a relationship for six years had to many donuts and was about to be a father. Something his late wife and he never had a chance for. In a lot of ways Riggs mirrors Mr. Gibson life. Watch LW4 and you notice right away no mullet but other things too. There’s now a bit of a gut where once there was washboard abs. In action scenes the switch to the stunt double is much more noticeable than it once was. The formally hungry and lean Mel Gibson had changed into the highly paid actor who was middle aged and an Oscar winner. He didn’t need to try so hard. He’d earned the right to let the stunt double take the bruises. In this way too LW4 would reflect other franchises that come back a forth time after a break albeit with much longer breaks. Think about it. Live Free or Die Hard came out 12 years after Die Hard With a Vengeance. Indian Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull 19 years later. and Rambo 20 years after Rambo 3. Arguments of quality aside they all have something in common with LW4, the characters are dealing with there age. Not one of those films is free of the time that’s past. All the work Stalones had done to his face can’t hide that there’s a weight of age in those eyes of his. The same goes for John McClane. By DH4 he’s given up on fighting the hairline, gave up on fighting with Holly and possibly on being a hero. Indiana has lost his boss Brodie, his Father and within thirty minutes his job. This addition of time makes me want to make comparisons to Ulysses By the time he got home he was ten years older and not the same man how sailed of to fight in Troy. All these years later our heroes are back and they’ve been changed. By time, box office, and the men who play them. Lethal Weapon 4 got there first.

  28. Anyway, sorry for going on. Love the Movie and the site. I’ll wait another couple of years before I comment again.

  29. Mr. Subtlety – Well, yes, I genuinely think it is “one of the most hateful movies of all time… toward Jews”.
    And I love APOCALYPTO, MAD MAX, LW1 and PAYBACK. They are all classics in my book.
    And, I’ve seen some movies in my lifetime. Some racist and hateful ones too (from Griffith to Riefenstahl, and so on).
    I really do think that Gibson’s background is crucial in understanding PASSION since it is his most personal movie.
    There had been many scholars who commented on this movie and who share my opinion. People who actually read the gospels in their original dead languages (and I did that too, btw), and dedicated most of their lives to the research of the history, theology and philosophy of Christ and the gospels (no I didn’t do that).
    You can get some learned support for my view here:

    http://www.bu.edu/religion/files/pdf/History-Hollywood-and-the-Bible.pdf

    But really, It’s anywhere, just do your homework.
    Or watch Scorsese’s take and realize that the same story could be told in more modern and complex ways. Not just the stupid-racist way (I did enjoy PASSION as a mindless horror movie).
    And I didn’t even mention the cop incident. Or other incidents that prove he is what he is.
    But, seriously, why even try defending that guy or his venomous philosophy/Theology? Unless, deep inside, or not so deep inside, you hate Jews too.
    Also, I don’t really think you need a Near Eastern Studies PHD to get that racist vibe from PASSION. Just study more on the subject and please use some of your famous subtlety next time. Especially, when you don’t know what the hell you are talking about.

  30. This whole racism speel is bugging the shit out of me. To watch a movie and draw themes and ideas from it that rub you the wrong way doesn’t mean you are right about the film-maker, it just means he’s stirred up some shit inside of you that’s been laying dormant. I’m not trying to be rude, but maybe the issues are just yours and the other bunch of people that Gibson pissed off.

    I think Gibson made the film he wanted to make and it was an awesome piece of film-making. I think he succeeded in telling a story about the last few days of Christ, who was himself JUDGED by CERTAIN Jewish leaders(not the whole Jewish race) of the time and crucified by the ROMANS.

    And I prefer to not assume, speculate or judge on anyone’s personal life famous or not. What are we, Mel’s best mates?

  31. I always had a soft spot for LW4. It’s not as good as 1 or 2, but at least it’s a return to form after the big disappointment of LW3.

    Part 3 had an underwhelming villain and the comedy-to-action ratio seemed to be really out of whack (too much forced comedy and less action). Part 4 brought that back into balance and gave us a memorable villain again.

    Like some of the other posters. I also have fond memories of seeing this one in the theater. I was living in NYC at the time and saw it on opening night. It was a packed house, very diverse crowd racially, I think because the Riggs/Murtaugh duo had a lot of appeal to both black and white audiences by that point. This movie was a real crowd pleaser, bringing a lot of cheers during the big action beats. There’s a scene where a pregnant Rene Russo kicks some ass with martial arts, and the audience pretty much lost its mind.

  32. Shit man, I suffer from depressions and recently had my worst episode in years, which caused me to say some pretty awful things and I apparently lost some friends. I don’t think I said anything discriminating about certain groups of people, but believe me, as someone who has been out of control more than once in his life, saying and doing things that simply look to strangers like I’m a hate filled weirdo, I feel bad to point at Mel and say things like that.

    I never saw PASSION. Not into religious storys. People say it’s anti-semitic, but I also heard people say that LORD OF THE RINGS is Nazi propaganda in disguise. I think EVERY movie has been accused of being something awful, so excuse me for not believing it unseen, doesn’t matter HOW many people say it is.

  33. Well, Darren, This whole racism speel is bugging the shit out of me too. Since not so long ago people who share Mel’s and his father’s views put a ‘bunch of people like me’ in concentration camps and gas chambers. Millions of them. Sorry for ruing the fun.
    Also, as far as I know, many Americans, who are not necessarily ‘like me and my bunch’, lost their lives fighting those guys and their racist views. So, yes, ‘people like me’, and not just like me (I hope), definitely have some issues with ‘people like him’.
    According to the story, Jesus was judged and executed by the Romans. And by the way, he was ‘Jewish’ too. King of the Jews, as the Romans named him.
    What your best mate Mel did is not just another mindless cool horror movie. He wrote a whole new Gospel.
    THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO MEL.
    He did it by copy-pasting the most historically inaccurate, hateful and gory (which is actually cool) parts of the gospels. And he presented that whole shit to the press as authentic historical truth . For example: the use of ancient languages in order to establish the historical authenticity – while anyone who know a little bit Hebrew, Aramaic, Latin, or Greek, will tell you his use of those in his Gospel is completely laughable and historically inaccurate.
    THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO MEL. It is now more influential than those of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
    And much more harmful and hateful than any those.
    That was my point. I’m not saying he is not a great filmmaker. Just like Disney, or Griffith, or Riefenstahl. Great filmmakers. But I wouldn’t call a KKK Clan guy or Neo-Nazi my ‘best mate’. I just don’t think racism is cool.

  34. Sherriff – I agree that racism is not cool, that wasn’t my point. I was trying to say we as the movie-going public have no right to judge a person based on behaviour in isolated incidents. I’m talking about Gibson’s public meltdowns and comments of course. Judging is like reading a paragraph from a book and calling that the whole story. We don’t know what came before, we don’t know what comes after. We weren’t there.

    I’m not defending Gibson’s or anyone’s bad behaviour. Listen to what CJ above said. He’s clearly had a fucking hard time in parts of his life and suffered for reasons known only to him. If I were to sit down with CJ and shoot the shit, get to know him, I would begin to get a clearer understanding of where he is coming from, of why he suffers. Two members of my family struggle with mental health issues. Occasionally they launch hate-grenades at whoever is around. Because I know them, I know this is not the real them. It’s not the final word on their life. Don’t judge is all I’m saying.

    Obviously Sherriff, you are rightly affected by the racism that has led to hatred of Jews and mass-genocide in the past. I’m truly sorry if I offended you. That wasn’t my intention.

  35. The Original... Paul

    January 14th, 2014 at 5:24 am

    Sternshein – “Chaos”, “Cursed”, or “Transformers”. Which are actually some of Vern’s most fun reviews to read. My personal faves are either the ones where Vern absolutely loves a film and goes into great detail about why, or where he performs a proper evisceration, again going into great detail about why.

    CJ – ask the right people and it’s clear that “Lord of the Rings” IS Nazi propaganda. (Despite the fact that it was written before the Nazis came to power.) It’s also about nuclear proliferation (despite the fact that it was written before the atom bomb). My personal theory is that it’s a warning message regarding World War 5, and that Tolkien was actually a time-traveller.

    RRA – agree about the gay subplot. Rock seemed to be curiously neutered – why was he even in the movie, really? It’s a waste of your Chris Rock.

  36. Paul: Yet they still found time to stop LW4 two or three times, to let Chris Rock do a quick standup act. (Which is actually my biggest problem with that movie, so I guess it’s clear that I like it a lot.)

  37. I seem to remember Chris being put in because of some kind of survey WB did of who they’d like to see in the next LW film and his name went through the roof because he was a hot stand-up at the time.

  38. That says a lot about your average LW fan. Why the hell would they want another comedian in the movie? Why not Bruce Willis, Steven Seagal or Arnold Schwarzenegger?

  39. Personally I think we’ve debated Gibson’s outbursts quite enough here on outlawvern, but the Sheriff’s right. Please do not defend anything the man said and did in his drunken rants. Yes, he may have had mental problems and he was certainly intoxicated. But racism, homophobia and hate towards women aren’t things that just pop up in your head because you have a bad day or you’ve had a few drinks to many. They are more deeply rooted than that. And the best thing we as fans can do is to say “take a vacation, grow a beard and come back when you’re more at peace with the world. And please don’t make any more religious or political movies.”

  40. I don’t think anyone is defending Gibson’s hateful words or actions. He clearly has lots of issues he has to work through, and I think it’s clear that he has some mental illness to throw on top of his shitty upbringing and drinking problem. I brought up the rabbi thing not to prove that he’s not anti-Semitic (which I, having never met the man, am not qualified to do) but just to suggest that it’s possible that he’s not merely a Jew-hating supervillain, but a fucked-up guy with some fucked-up notions in his fucked-up head that, at least for a time, he was trying to combat. This is a man who supposedly hates Jewish people, black people, and women, yet his staunchest defender was his friend Whoopi Goldberg, who’s all three. Again, I do not have a portal into Mel Gibson’s soul, so I can’t claim to know what lurks there. Perhaps he’s a high-functioning psychopath who had everyone fooled for decades. Either way, his flaws and contradictions are what make him an interesting actor and filmmaker. Is a man who carries hate in his heart necessarily a hateful man? Or is hate like a phobia, an irrational mental disorder that must be combatted every day for the person afflicted to live a normal life? I don’t know, but Gibson has given me a lot of entertainment over the years. The least I can give him is the benefit of the doubt.

  41. Loved this movie, so glad they did not let the series end with the disappointing part 3, I’m sure this inspired Stallone to add the final chapeters to Rocky and Rambo. Jet Li is fantastic as the villan, so much gravitas, like Goro in Ninja 2 he just makes the whole movie better. I’ve watched all of these again and it was a fun trip down memory lane. Part 3 had some great action sequences but Riggs is never terrifying, he never really impresses with either marksmanship or fighting. You are expecting him to just kung fu 5 guys into oblivion and then they just smack him around and throw him across the floor and Rene Russo has to take care of business. Right of the bat in this one, at great distance in the dark, he takes out two guys with AK-47s, a spotlight and a cappuccino machine.

  42. Harvey: Thanks for sharing your epic LW4 story. I would love to get into a movie so much that I tear off an armrest and keep watching. That’s what it’s all about right there.

  43. pegsman, I don’t agree that everyone who says something racist, homophobic or misogynistic is a racist, homophobe or misogynist. I think that sometimes it’s possible someone says something when they’re angry because they know it’s the most vile thing to say, even if it’s not what they truly think. I know I’ve been guilty of thinking some pretty horrible things, but I’m lucky enough to have a filter that hasn’t been eroded by alcohol or mental illness that tells me not to say them.

    I’m not saying this in defense for Mel’s outbursts. It’s definitely not okay to go around spewing hateful things. I’m not even saying this is the case for him because I don’t know him. I’m just saying that sometimes thinks aren’t so black and white.

  44. I forgot to mention that Renee Russo gets to kick ass while pregnant, unlike the poor wife in NINJA II.

  45. Maggie, I don’t believe that at all. If racist, homophobic and/or misogynistic labels comes before the usual swearwords in your inner vocabular you have problems that goes beyond eventual holes in your filter. But Gibson seems to be back now, so let’s just wait and see.

  46. This feels like it could be one of those situations where the more I try to explain what I meant, the worse I’m going to end up looking, but I’m going to give it a try anyway. I didn’t mean to imply that racist/homophobic/misogynistic labels were the first things that popped into my head when I got angry. I didn’t mean to imply that they ever popped into my head. I just meant that I can understand someone saying something in a fit of anger precisely because it was the absolute worst thing they could think of, not because it was something they truly believed.

  47. Chance — See, the problem is that the link you sent, just like the description you gave, is all about stuff *other* than the actual movie. I read about this extensively after I saw the film and was completely baffled by all the people shrieking that it was a hate crime in movie form. But to make that case, you’ve got to go almost completely outside the actual movie, and start saying, “well, you know Mel’s dad…” and “But the bible doesn’t actually specify” and “the movie is partially adapted from an account by a nun which has a history of….” and “but the history of passion plays in the 19th century…”. All true and relevant points to discuss. But when you come down to the actual film, the best anyone can do is say that the Pharisees come off looking like assholes. Which, uh, isn’t too surprising considering this particular story. They seem like assholes in JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR too. I don’t get the moral panic over the fact that Gibson takes liberties and freely interprets the source material, and I don’t see the least bit of evidence that the film itself unfairly targets Jews (especially considering, as your link points out, Jesus and his followers were also Jews). Simon de Cyrene –essentially the hero of the second half of the film– is (probably) a Jew.

    Your anger that Gibson, as you put it, “wrote a whole new Gospel” is frankly baffling to me. What did you expect him to do, make four versions which include no detail whatssoever which is not specifically mentioned in the text? Maybe make some kind of minimalist Christian DOGVILLE? Of *course* it’s a unique take on the material, he’s a director and a crazy person. Do you really think it would surprise him to be told that there’s no mention of Satan carrying around a hairy baby puppet in the text? That the bible doesn’t focus on the violence very graphically? Of course not. He decided to make a film which has a particular point of view, as all films do. His claims that this is “really” what happened? Well of course he believes that, he’s a religious nutcase. Guess what, in all probability NONE of it really happened. Any depiction of a biblical story is utter horseshit, so why freak out over this particular one, as if it’s going to change history?

    I’ve seen a lot of writers worry that the film “could be used” by people to fuel anti-semitism, as Passion plays unquestionably have in the past (or, for that matter, just as the Bible itself has been –and probably much more commonly– used to fuel horrific violence on a wide range of people). But fuck, if that’s your concern, then don’t you also worry that LETHAL WEAPON 4 “could be used” by people to fuel anti-Chinese sentiments? I mean, the villains definitely come off as total assholes. Like Vern said in his review of WOLF OF WALL STREET, I refuse to believe we need to dumb films down just to be absolutely sure that idiotic assholes won’t get the wrong idea. I refuse to believe that we must never tell stories that have been used for shameful purposes in the past.

    What it comes down to, then, is a simple assumption on your part: Mel Gibson is an bigot, therefore his portrayal of Jews is inherently bigoted. I don’t know if he is or not, but I believe the film (which I don’t even fucking LIKE, by the way, due to it being a incredibly one-note anti-narrative shot [it feels like] entirely in show motion) should be judged on its own merits. Review the art, not the man. And I have yet to see even the vaguest convincing argument that the film ITSELF –absent the history lesson and the review of Mel’s public life– is anywhere NEAR the vicinity of “most hateful film ever.” I have most assuredly done my homework, and I still find that statement shamelessly hysterical to the point of being harmful to genuine criticism of racist and bigoted media representations. It’s certainly an unpleasant film, a gory slog. But hateful? I have yet to see an argument which is even remotely convincing.

  48. Maggie, I got that. And I’m really sorry if you thought I was talking about you. I just don’t believe that people with a certain amount of social skills will use those terms, even in a heated discussion, if they don’t accept them deep down.

  49. Majestyk & Darren: I was not talking about his personal life, nor his mental and drinking problems. I don’t care for all that tmz shit. I was also not talking about some ‘isolated incidents’. I was talking about his THEOLOGY. Which is represented in his magnum opus. Which is PASSION.
    I don’t think you have to personally know someone who wrote Mein Kampf, or someone directed The Birth of a Nation, in order to know where are they coming from. You don’t have to have ‘portal into their soul’. I think it is safe to assume that these guys are racist assholes.

  50. Thanks, pegsman. I thought I was going to have to start jumping up and down and waving my hands, saying, “Guys! I swear I’m not a racist, homophobic, misogynist!”

    I think where we divert is “people with a certain amount of social skills”. You expect people to have social skills. I don’t. That’s not exactly true. I do think *most* people have them, but I do volunteer work in the mental health industry and, not to get all technical jargony on you, there are a lot of wackadoos out there.

  51. The Original... Paul

    January 14th, 2014 at 2:45 pm

    Pegsman:

    “Racism, homophobia and hate towards women aren’t things that just pop up in your head because you have a bad day or you’ve had a few drinks to many. They are more deeply rooted than that.”

    Maybe not “a few drinks too many”, but the assumption that alcohol can’t flip your personality inside-out is naive going-on dangerous. I’ve had that happen to me (which is a nice way of saying that I fucked up really, really badly). I’ve only been “blind drunk” twice in my life, and on one of those occasions I think I lost a friend permanently. I wouldn’t have believed what people said I was spewing then, if I didn’t know it was true. I’m a really, really bad drunk. And I know other people who have had the same problem.

    I’m not saying that this is what happened to Mel, nor am I saying that getting drunk can suddenly turn you into a misogynist or a racist if there isn’t at least SOMETHING there from your upbringing or social prejudices or whatever. But drink doesn’t always just remove a “filter”. It can do a helluva lot more than that.

  52. Subtlety: I don’t have issues with the gore. I love gore (in movies and in the bible) just like anyone else here.
    Scorsese’s version is no less gory and I love it. It represents Jesus as a human being, a sinner, not as a Nazi super-Hero. So what did I accept Mel to do? I don’t know. Maybe, not focus on the antisemitic-medieval aspects of the story? That would be nice.
    Also, It is really easy to accuse minorities for being ‘hysterical’. It also very typical and not very subtle.
    For the record, I’m not trying which-hunt Mel. He is very talented and I think he should get some work. Just like you, I’m against moral panics. But if you honestly judge this movie/gospel in its context, I think you will come to realize it is a very mean-spirited and dangerous one. It’s not just his psych, it his whole world-view.

    Here is a better more entertaining link: http://www.southparkstudios.com/full-episodes/s08e04-the-passion-of-the-jew

  53. Maggie, I work within the justice system, and I know that there’s a lot of wackadoos out there. But they’re not the ones we’re talking about here, is it?

    Paul, I’m sorry about your experience, but alcohol is an “enhancing” not a “changing” drug. It removes the filters and dulls the senses, yes, but it does not flip your personality inside-out. And I’m talking from years and years of experience.

  54. LW4 might be problematic. But it’s not even his movie and it doesn’t have the impact of PASSION. Artists are expressing something thorough their art. So you can focus on the formal aspects of their work. That’s cool. But in order to understand what they are trying to say through their art, and in order to speak more intelligently about their work, you have to be informed about the context from which the artist is coming from.

  55. Chance — but is he actually focusing on “antisemitic-medieval aspects of the story”? They certainly told this story in medieval times, and they certainly were anti-semitic. But are they necessarily the same thing? As I said, I understand the history that Passion Plays have had in regards to anti-semitism and even pogroms. I know “The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ” has been used as an incitement against Jews. But I guess to me, that simply means “these things have been used for anti-semitic reasons” not “these things are *inherently* anti-semitic, and hence any depiction of them is, too.”

    I take Gibson at his word that his depiction of the suffering of Jesus is intended to, you know, depict the suffering of Jesus. Not that Jesus is incidental and that the important thing is that you see that Jewish religious figures inflicted the suffering. Especially, since, –again– pretty much everyone in the movie is Jewish, good and bad alike. Given that Christianity at it’s heart is essentially a Martyrdom cult, I don’t find it surprising or offensive in the least that Gibson’s film focuses on suffering, and frankly I think it’s rather bizarre to suggest any other motive than the immediate and obvious one, that the movie’s focus on blood is completely in keeping with a psycho Christian’s obsession with Jesus’ sacrifice. Nazi Super-hero?! What are you talking about? Only movies which depict Jesus as a “human being and a sinner” are acceptable? Geez, I just don’t think Gibson sees the story that way. I think he probably does see Jesus as a hero, don’t you? And I don’t think his depiction of Jesus suffering heroically is a particularly radical interpretation.

    Where is the hate, I ask? Gibson has said, “If anyone has distorted Gospel passages to rationalize cruelty towards Jews or anyone, it’s in defiance of repeated Papal condemnation. The Papacy has condemned racism in any form… Jesus died for the sins of all times, and I’ll be the first on the line for culpability.” That’s completely in keeping with his particular religious beliefs, and there’s nothing in the movie which suggests more sinister motives. Like I said, to try to make that case, you have to focus nearly the *entire* argument on the historical context of this kind of story, and moreover you have to assume that because it has been used in the past for sinister purposes, it can ONLY be used for those purposes. That seems ridiculous to me.

    MITIGATING FACTOR: I’m a total atheist, so I don’t believe ANY of it, and frankly find the whole thing pretty dull. But I simply don’t see how Gibson’s portrayal of Jesus’s story is a fundamentally invalid one, and I particularly don’t see how it *in and of itself* has anything to do with the Jews in general. I’m not unsympathetic to claims like this, but to me most of Mel’s public explanations for what he was trying to do with the movie seem like they pretty much explain the whole thing. He’s way into Jesus and wanted to try and make a movie that focused on the suffering he endured for the love of all mankind. Given that goal, I don’t see the problem with PASSION, and if you’re going to get me to accept that it’s secretly a film meant to inspire religious hatred, you’re gonna have to make an argument that goes a little beyond “other people have used this story to inspire religious hatred!” because if that’s your criteria, we’re gonna need to throw out the entire Bible too, and pretty much any related story which isn’t a complete re-imagining. However, I see that this issue is important to you, so I’m definitely willing to listen to you make that case, if you’re interested — I’m completely willing to be convinced. But so as we don’t hijack any more of poor LETHAL WEAPON 4’s comment section, I hope you’ll join me in the forum thread I’m starting titled “Let’s all talk about how crazy Mel Gibson is here”.

  56. Vern brought up a great point up there. This film is pretty groundbreaking for how it treats pregnant women. It has to be said.

  57. Subtely- Thank you for your kind invitation, I really appreciate it.
    I agree with Vern about WOLF. It doesn’t need any dumbing-down. Because it is a SMART and truthful movie. PASSION, on the other hand, is already a DUMB movie. So you don’t need to dumb it down too, but for exactly the opposite reasons. It is already dumb enough.
    Yes, I think the antisemitic-medieval imagery is central to his gospel. And I think it is not just imagery. It is his way of thinking. And it is happening now, not in the past. It is not some conspiracy theory I copy-paste from tmz news. And it is not just me. The experts say so. His background says so. Common sense says so. His fucking movie says so.
    Yes, I think Jesus was a hero. But he was a human too (if he was at all, as you say). And I think this last aspect is neglected in Mel’s gospel. That’s my opinion. You have said it yourself, I can get some support from you: ‘an incredibly one-note anti-narrative shot’, and so on. Basically I remember it as one long torture porn in which evil der stürmer style Jews had fun with the poor tortured Christ. Very unpleasant. But the gore and some of the imagery were cool.
    Also, more important, as far as I know, no other director (DeMille, Ray, Scorsese and others) focused so much on The Christ suffering. They left some room for other aspects in his legacy. So you have to ask yourself why did he pick this particular aspect and made it so central. Do you honestly believe he did it for purely artistic reasons and his background has nothing to do with it? Don’t you feel he is inciting revenge here? Do you really think that he is not trying to say SOMETHING? Just have some fun with sensual splatter as a background for Christ story? Don’t you think his claim and pretense for historical truth is a lil tiny bit dangerous considering the fact this was one of the biggest blockbusters of all times? More popular now then all other gospels combined?
    Also, I didn’t know he said what you say he said. I remember he also said something like that the people who feel blame after seeing the movie should feel that blame, or something like that.
    I’m far for being religious too. But after seeing that movie I couldn’t help but to feel exactly the same way as Kyle from South Park felt.

  58. The Original... Paul

    January 15th, 2014 at 6:57 am

    Pegsman – well I can’t argue the point because I have only my own experiences of alcohol to go on, and you’re not privy to them personally. All I can do is describe them, and I would say that experience is pretty extensive. I grew up in an industrial town in Wales right after Thatcherism, where many of the kids were alcoholics by the time they were thirteen. (This is what happens when you don’t think you have a future.) One I remember had liver damage before he hit his seventeenth birthday. I once had to help stop a guy who wouldn’t say “boo” to a goose when sober from beating his girlfriend to a bloody pulp when he was drunk. Now I’m not saying that there wasn’t SOME kind of resentment there when he was sober, but I am saying that if there was he never so much as expressed it in words, let alone actions.

    Look, I’ve joked about drink before on this forum, but the plain fact is that I’m very, very careful about it. I drink lightly and rarely. The alternative isn’t a road I want to go down.

    Also can I just point out how bizarre it is to be arguing about “The Passion” in terms of “accuracy”? Guys, every bit of evidence that Jesus even existed is anecdotal. Now I’m not saying that he didn’t; I think it’s very likely that he did (if not, how did Christianity even come about?) although I’d obviously dispute his lineage. I’m just pointing out that pretty much the only reason we know anything about him at all is because of the Bible, which I hardly regard as a trustworthy source.

  59. Sheriff: You see what you see in the film and nothing is going to change that. I think there is some evidence in the way that the Jewish elders were portrayed, but they are the villains of the piece. They’re scared old men desperate to stop this young rebel from stealing their power, and they reacted the way scared old men have reacted in every society through history. I would also like to point out that none of the torturing is done by Jews. It’s done by Roman soldiers. That guy who helps Jesus carry the cross, though, that’s a Jew. In fact, Gibson’s interpretation of the Bible turns that into a sympathetic act on the part of that character, whereas in the actual text he does it merely because he’s ordered to by the Roman soldiers.

    Personally, I do see hatred expressed in PASSION, but it’s not for Jews. It’s for Gibson himself. It’s in all his work. When you see Jesus whipped and scourged, you’re seeing the most extreme version of something that happens to Mel in many, many of his movies. Punishment and martyrdom are crucial aspects of Christianity, and Mel seems to have taken it deep into the realm of masochism. He clearly sees himself as a sinner who must be cleansed through pain. Gibson isn’t saying “Look at what these bastards did to our Jesus? Aren’t they the worst?” That makes no sense. If they hadn’t have done that, Jesus wouldn’t have thrown open the Pearly Gates, and nobody would ever go to heaven. The crucifixion was all part of God’s plan. So when Jesus says “Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do,” he’s saying “Do not punish them for merely doing what you wanted them to do.” Gibson portrayed the gore and blood and torture as graphically as possible not to rile people up over the people who did that to Jesus (who, I must reiterate, were not Jews) but to show the full extent of what Jesus went through so that the rest of us could go to heaven. Every time he takes a whip to the back, Gibson wants you to think “Am I worth that pain? Have I earned the gift that Jesus has given me through his suffering?” Not “Dang, I’d better go rough me up some Jews for what they done.” Because they did God’s work, in their way.

    And you know what? Mel’s strategy worked. I’m a hardcore atheist now and have been for more than 20 years, but I was raised Catholic. I went to CCD for nine years, got confirmed, the whole bit. But PASSION was the first time I really “got” Jesus. You can read me the stations of the cross until your eyes cross but seeing with my own eyes the torture and horror that Jesus had to be big enough to forgive made me understand for the first time how this skinny little revolutionary got his own religion. I still don’t believe, but it’s a good story.

    Or maybe it’s just torture porn. But that’s okay, too. We don’t discriminate around here.

  60. Alcohol seem to affect people in different ways, some people get annoyingly talkative or incredibly jovial and can never shut up, some get angry and violent and some people seem to have been affected by the despair squid. At least these are the observations and experiences I have encountered. Maybe some part of teh darker moments of alcoholism stems from childhood issues I don´t know. But it is more índividual because a lot of unresolved issues can pop up to the surface while you are drinkling. That is an indication that you should not drink at all!

    When taking drugs those kind of emotions only seem to appear when you are going cold turkey.

  61. Paul, stop me if this gets too personal, but the bleak existence you describe is just what brings out the demons in people when they drink too much. In England (and Norway) we’re brought up believing that it’s a good thing to keep all feelings to ourselves. And when we drink (and we do!) it all comes pouring out – for good or bad.

    The thing with PASSION – like all other religious Movies, really – is that it’s impossible to watch if you don’t share the director’s beliefs. You just can’t belive that a normal human being believes this, frankly, moronic shit. Ignoring all the facts that’s easily available to everyone with a computer or a library card Gibson goes for a very catholic version of the story, with emphasis on a vengeful god and human suffering. Is it a hateful movie? Yes. Towards everyone who isn’t a catholic. That’s how religion works (listen to Steven Seagal’s song “My god’s better than your god” for proof). And that’s why you should stay away from it, kids. Religion that is. The movie is at least good for a laugh. When Jesus stumbles for the tenth time on his way to Golgata, you’ll be in stitches.

  62. “Crucifixion?”
    “Yes.”
    “Good. Out of the door lying on the left, one cross each”

  63. By the way, pegsman, wasn´t LIFE OF BRIAN banned in Norway because of blasphemy?

  64. It sure was. For a couple of weeks, anyway. And when it was released it became a huge success.

  65. >”Yes, I think the antisemitic-medieval imagery is central to his gospel.”
    What, specifically, are you talking about? Just the Pharisees being villains? This is the problem I always have with this argument, no one seems to want to get specific about exactly what imagery they’re referring to. The closest I’ve seen is people claiming they look “too Jewish” which seems like a weird complaint about an actor playing a Jewish religious official. What, they should have cast a Korean guy?

    >”And I think it is not just imagery. It is his way of thinking. And it is happening now, not in the past.”
    So, again, this is about Gibson the man, not the actual movie. His “way of thinking” is bad, therefore the movie is inherently bad. I’m not sure that argument always holds true.

    >”It is not some conspiracy theory I copy-paste from tmz news. And it is not just me. The experts say so. His background says so. Common sense says so. His fucking movie says so.”
    Well, you’re definitely not the only one saying so, but I think it’s safe to say there’s a good deal of diversity of opinion on this topic. A quick browse of the wikipedia page on the subjects finds quotes from different “experts” who vehemently support both positions. As you mentioned before, your perception of Gibson as an anti-semite clearly colors your experience of the film, but I can’t help but wonder if you would feel the same way if you hadn’t already made up your mind about the director. And no, common sense does not say so, otherwise it would be much more obvious to me what you’re talking about.

    >”Yes, I think Jesus was a hero. But he was a human too (if he was at all, as you say). And I think this last aspect is neglected in Mel’s gospel. That’s my opinion. ”
    That’s a perfectly valid opinion. When you make your own movie about Jesus, feel free to portray him that way. But I think it’s a little ridiculous to ask a serious evangelical Christian to make a movie about Jesus that fits your particular perception of him as a religious figure. Lots of Christians were really offended by his overly human portrayal in LAST TEMPTATION, after all. I think there’s room for different interpretations of this story.

    >”Also, more important, as far as I know, no other director (DeMille, Ray, Scorsese and others) focused so much on The Christ suffering. They left some room for other aspects in his legacy.”
    That is certainly true.

    >”So you have to ask yourself why did he pick this particular aspect and made it so central. Do you honestly believe he did it for purely artistic reasons and his background has nothing to do with it?”
    Yes?

    >”Don’t you feel he is inciting revenge here?”
    No.

    >”Do you really think that he is not trying to say SOMETHING? Just have some fun with sensual splatter as a background for Christ story?”
    I think, as Mr. M eloquently pointed out above, that he was trying to say something about Christianity, not Judaism. Which would sort of make sense, in a film about Jesus. In fact, I’d argue that this makes a lot MORE sense than your alternate theory, that a serious hardcore evangelical Christian made a feature-length movie about his own religious deity as a cover for inciting hatred against the another group.

    >”Don’t you think his claim and pretense for historical truth is a lil tiny bit dangerous considering the fact this was one of the biggest blockbusters of all times? More popular now then all other gospels combined?”
    Dangerous? I know that historically this sort of story has been used in dangerous ways, but it has been more commonly used for prosaic religious reasons. That seems to me to be the case, here. Do you know of any violence against Jews that were even remotely linked to this movie? I don’t. Almost as though people understood that it was a film about Christianity, not Judaism. And more popular than the other gospels combined? Give me a break. You can’t seriously think that’s true. It was a popular movie, but dude, the Bible is the fucking BIBLE. There are 2.2 billion Christians in the world, most of whom probably have access to a bible. The movie made 600 million. Do the math.

    >Also, I didn’t know he said what you say he said. I remember he also said something like that the people who feel blame after seeing the movie should feel that blame, or something like that.
    I believe you’re referring to the his response to criticism of the inclusion of the line “His blood [is] on us and on our children!” which has sometimes been historically interpreted as a curse on the Jewish people. Of that line, Gibson explains: “It’s one little passage, and I believe it, but I don’t and never have believed it refers to Jews, and implicates them in any sort of curse. It’s directed at all of us, all men who were there, and all that came after. His blood is on us, and that’s what Jesus wanted. ” Which seems like a completely believable explanation completely in keeping with his brand of Christianity.

    >I’m far for being religious too. But after seeing that movie I couldn’t help but to feel exactly the same way as Kyle from South Park felt.
    I’m sorry you felt that way, but I wonder if the problem was with the movie, or with the things you brought with you to it? I’m glad you’re aware of the historical context of this sort of religious performance, and I think it’s extremely important we don’t lose that history and risk returning to that sort of sectarian religious violence. But in my view, that doesn’t mean that every iteration of this story is necessarily malicious, and I simply don’t find any evidence anywhere to convince me that this one is an exception. Antisemitism remains a real and destructive force in the world, but that doesn’t mean PASSION is part of the problem, even if Gibson himself is.

  66. ”Yes, I think the antisemitic-medieval imagery is central to his gospel.”
    What, specifically, are you talking about? Just the Pharisees being villains? This is the problem I always have with this argument, no one seems to want to get specific about exactly what imagery they’re referring to. The closest I’ve seen is people claiming they look “too Jewish” which seems like a weird complaint about an actor playing a Jewish religious official. What, they should have cast a Korean guy?

    XXX
    Ok, Let me give you 3 examples of the antisemitic-medieval imagery FROM THE MOVIE:
    1) Latin: Why is this language is the most dominant in the movie? The locals spoke Aramaic, and Romans Greek. The source material, the gospels, were originally written in Greek (between 70 to 100 years after this mambo jumbo supposedly happened and in entirely different place from where the story ‘happened”). Why is Gibson insisting on Latin when it has no relevance to historical world he is depicting (while lying that he is all about historical accuracy and the truth)? Because Latin is central to the anti-Semitic-medieval imagery of his gospel.
    2) Satan/anti-Christ inciting the killing of Christ = ULTRA Hateful Medieval imagery.
    3) Pharisees: What does that mean “they look too Jewish”? How do you think a Jewish person look? There are black Jews from Africa, There are white Jews from Europe, darker-skinned from the middle-east? But for you and for Gibson all these kikes look alike, Right? something like the depiction of Jews in middle ages art? ring a bell? Which is a major influence on Nazi propaganda and on Gibson’s movie. So this how you think we all look, Subtlety?
    Like this?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lPV7TlPxnkA
    or like that?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jud_S%C3%BC%C3%9F_(1940_film)
    or maybe, check this out?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Jheronimus_Bosch_or_follower_001.jpg
    Really, Subtelty, How did you know? Aren’t we handsome?
    Maybe you should change your name from Subtlety to H. LANDA or something?.

    XXX
    So, again, this is about Gibson the man, not the actual movie. His “way of thinking” is bad, therefore the movie is inherently bad. I’m not sure that argument always holds true.
    .
    You cannot talk about the themes in this blasphemy separately from the man who committed it. And this asshole belong to this church, which is no better then KKK Clan : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcel_Lefebvre
    One of the main reasons this church separated from the Catholic Church is because they refused the reforms regarding, guess who? The Jews. They refused to forgive the Jews for the killing of their dear Christ. A church of holocaust deniers. They really think the blood of Jesus is still on our hands (and it doesn’t matter what kind of Jew, all Jews, his blood is on our hand. isn’t it gory?). And Mel said when directing the movie he was guided by the holy spirit and that he is peaking only the truth. So do you really don’t see any connection between his racist beliefs and visions (not his personal life or his past) and his Gospel/movie?

    XXX

    As you mentioned before, your perception of Gibson as an anti-semite clearly colors your experience of the film, but I can’t help but wonder if you would feel the same way if you hadn’t already made up your mind about the director. And no, common sense does not say so, otherwise it would be much more obvious to me what you’re talking about.

    It’s funny that you think it is MY perception of him as an Anti-semite. As I said, he belongs to a church who refuses to forgive ALL the Jews for the killing of the Christ. He thinks that now. And he expressed it in his movie. You already said how: By the inclusion of :

    Matthew 27:25
    And all the people answered, “His blood be on us and on our children!”

    After being warned by a group of Catholic and Jewish scholars about this, he lied and said it won’t be in the movie. In an interview for New Yorker before the movie came out he expressed regret for deleting the scene because this was the truth. He eventually did put it in the movie. In Aramaic. Without translating it to English in the subtitles. Like a sneaky, lying, Nazi fuck. And there is no clearer evidence then that for who he is and what this movie is about – from the inside and from the outside.
    Because there is no proof that such thing ever happened outside Matthew 27:25. All the other gospels don’t have it. But Mad Mel thinks it’s the truth and he is guided by the holy fucking spirit. Never mind that this little scene led to slaughter of billions of innocent lives through the ages. Mel Just gotta have it in his gospel. Because it is a beautiful story and it is the truth.

    XXX

    Dangerous? I know that historically this sort of story has been used in dangerous ways, but it has been more commonly used for prosaic religious reasons. That seems to me to be the case, here. Do you know of any violence against Jews that were even remotely linked to this movie? I don’t. Almost as though people understood that it was a film about Christianity, not Judaism. And more popular than the other gospels combined? Give me a break. You can’t seriously think that’s true. It was a popular movie, but dude, the Bible is the fucking BIBLE. There are 2.2 billion Christians in the world, most of whom probably have access to a bible. The movie made 600 million. Do the math.

    XXX
    No, I won’t give you a break. Right now, Mel’s Gospel IS the most popular gospel among living people. More people in the world today know this story through Mel’s eyes, then living people who actually read the gospels. I don’t have to do math in order to know that.
    XXX

    There were threats toward people who dared to criticized the movie. If you think it is not wrong, and even dangerous, that he lied about Matthew 27:25 and insisted on it – then I’m starting to think that something is wrong with you.

    XXX

    I believe you’re referring to the his response to criticism of the inclusion of the line “His blood [is] on us and on our children!” Of that line, Gibson explains: “It’s o sneaking it tnis little passage, and I believe it, but I don’t and never have believed it refers to Jews, and implicates them in any sort of curse. It’s directed at all of us, all men who were there, and all that came after. His blood is on us, and that’s what Jesus wanted. ” Which seems like a completely believable explanation completely in keeping with his brand of Christianity.

    Well, I don’t believe him. I believe to what’s in the movie to be his real truth. I believe his ‘brand of Christianity’ is a very dangerous and repulsive one.

    XXX
    which has sometimes been historically interpreted as a curse on the Jewish people.

    How else can you interpreted it!!!!:

    And all the people answered, d“His blood be on us and eon our children!”

    This SHIT is in the movie. He insisted on it. And I’m one of these children those crazy motherfuckers talking about.. I live today. And Mel believe that today. So fuck you and fuck him if you believe it is just a beautiful story and it’s ok to put it in a blockbuster and lie about it. He is not talking about Jews? So why does he go to a church of holocaust deniers who separated from Catholic Church because of this little scene he sneaked to his movie? You have to be either stupid or ignorant to believe his lies. His truth is in the movie. And it is Matthew 27:25. And it is the most lethal weapon of all times. This justified countless of genocides through the ages. More then any other text.

  67. The Original... Paul

    January 16th, 2014 at 8:51 am

    Shoot:

    “Alcohol seem to affect people in different ways, some people get annoyingly talkative or incredibly jovial and can never shut up, some get angry and violent and some people seem to have been affected by the despair squid. At least these are the observations and experiences I have encountered. Maybe some part of teh darker moments of alcoholism stems from childhood issues I don´t know. But it is more índividual because a lot of unresolved issues can pop up to the surface while you are drinkling. That is an indication that you should not drink at all!”

    Absolutely agreed on all counts.

    Pegsman:

    “Paul, stop me if this gets too personal, but the bleak existence you describe is just what brings out the demons in people when they drink too much.”

    Also agreed, completely. And don’t worry about it. I brought up the subject in the first place.

    Sorry for bringing this jovial light-hearted thread (!) down with my tales of substance abuse. Always seems to happen when Mad Mel is involved, doesn’t it? Although I’m kinda surprised it happened in the LW4 thread rather than the LW1 one – that had Mel Gibson AND Gary Busey, how much more crazy do you need? (Actually don’t get me wrong – I actually find Busey quite likeable as a person outside of his film roles, most of the time. It’s just that he’s stark raving bonkers.)

  68. Holy shit, that escalated quickly. OK dude, listen, I can see this is really upsetting you and I genuinely didn’t mean to do that. I was just trying to suggest an alternate interpretation for this movie, but I’m getting the feeling that this is a topic which is way too personal for that to be a useful course of action. I have a different interpretation of the facts than you do, but in the long run it’s just a stupid movie –which neither of us even liked– it’s absolutely not worth getting this angry over, and I am sincerely sorry to pushing it. Please, accept my apology for bringing it up and pursuing it to this point.

  69. Next time when Vern reviews Birth of a Nation, maybe you can start a conversation with black man or woman and tell them that’s it’s ok that Griffith justifies black man lynching as part of the American master-narrative because it his truth, part of his aesthetics, and he had a drinking problem or something. You’ll get exactly what Saint Mel wished upon the mother of his child.
    And this exactly the only thing you can get for me.

  70. *From me

  71. Chance — jeez man, that seems a bit harsh. Please try and remember that I was only trying to have a civil conversation with you about the subtext to a movie. In absolutely no way am I trying to defend prejudice (I would hope that would be immediately obvious), just hoping that maybe by talking about something we disagreed on we might be able to better understand each others’ points of view. Again, I’m genuinely sorry to have upset you so much; I very much value this particular site as a bastion of civility and sanity amid the hyperbolic hate that fills so much of the internet, and I really feel bad to have made it less so for you. Pleased be assured that I never intended anything personal by it; I often find that arguing about movies helps me better understand them and understand my own response to them, and that’s all I was trying to do here.

    “If we shadows have offended,
    Think but this, and all is mended,
    That you have but slumber’d here
    While these visions did appear.
    And this weak and idle theme,
    No more yielding but a dream,”

  72. Civil turned primal when I realized who you are. You were aware of Matthew 27:25. You were aware of what Mel did with it. And you justified not only what he did but also Matthew 27:25.
    What exactly is CIVIL about endorsing and justifying the most harmful religious text of all times?
    You call that CIVIL?
    Or do you still have a ‘CIVIL alternate interpretation’ for ‘And all the people answered, “His blood be on us and on our children!”’
    So at this point all you can do is kiss my kike ass and suck my circumcised dick.
    And don’t you think that Vern would have censored me long time ago as an evil maniac troll if I didn’t have some merit in my argument and if you were not so wrong? Or maybe you are not so stupid, you are just pretending?

  73. Is this the part where you ask him to IM you his home address so you can go fight him in his driveway?

  74. You comin with me?

  75. Hey Sheriff, I have stayed out of this because I haven’t seen the movie and don’t know any of the religious and historical references you’re talking about. This seems like it’s been an intelligent debate but in this last one I think you’re out of line. Mr. Subtlety just apologized six ways to Sunday for an unintentional offense, and you responded by suddenly flipping out on him. I know you can make your point of why you find it so offensive without telling him to suck your dick. If we must discuss this instead of LETHAL WEAPON 4 let’s do it like the smart, positive individuals we are and not typical internet people telling each other they’re evil so they have to do stuff to dicks and butts.

  76. Much like Jet Li’s LW4 character, I prefer to stand silently above & beside the situation, merely observing as it escalates, until a swift roundhouse & gun-dismantling becomes necessary to grant my side victory.

    It’s possible I wouldn’t have hated LW4 if Jet had been new to my eyes, as he apparently was to much of the American moviegoing public in 1998.
    By ’97, I had already raided the guy’s entire available VHS filmography from the several video rental joints in town. I was a total martial arts movie hipster back then. (“Oh, that’s the guy from BLACK MASK, yeah, you probably haven’t heard of it.”)

    In conclusion, I’m an atheist & anti-theist and PASSION OF THE CHRIST is a masterpiece.

  77. Well, I just explained that. Also, I’m third generation from a family of holocaust survivors. So it is a defense mechanism, basic instinct. When I hear Neo-Nazi shit, I attack. So I’m sorry if you think that I am the one who bringing negative vibes here. I came here to enjoy your LG4 review like everyone else.
    However, you must understand that this is beyond style and theoretic. If you judge the conversation by its content, and put it into context, you’ll see I had no choice but to react the way reacted. Since I have some self respect in me. What am I suppose to do? This guy just justified ‘And all the people answered, “His blood be on us and on our children!”’, Justified Mel putting in his blockbuster, called me Hysterical (which is common typical stereotype towards Jews, woman and other minorities). It’s all on record. Check it out. And you expect me to sit here and pretend like he is my body? be nice to him? The Jews are to blame again? They are not positive and civilized enough for your website?
    How dare you defend him and what he said, and at same time attack me? did you read the conversation at all? Because he was more polite? How come you are not ashamed that regulars in your site even dare to express such views? Really, Vern, I thought this was a cool and intelligent place. I’m out of this motherfucker.
    Somehow I lost the mood to talk about how pathetic is the idea that dear Mel can even try to fuck with Jet Li, How great is LF4 compared to today’s action, how lame it is compared to real old school Jet Li movies, and so on. I wonder why that happened.
    Also, he didn’t really apologize about WHAT he said. Just expressed regret over this whole saga not being ‘civilized’ enough for his taste. So I cannot and will not treat him as a legitimate human being.

  78. “I cannot and will not treat him as a legitimate human being.”

    Your holocaust-surviving ancestors must be so proud.

    It’s also interesting to learn that “woman” is a minority.

  79. Well maybe not literally. But they are discriminated just like all other minorities and even more. Have you ever heard on white slavery? or Couldn’t own property or vote or work until not so long ago? Just like Jews, but even for a longer time.
    And I didn’t get that joke about ancestors. You must think it’s hilarious.
    Jesus, I didn’t realize this website is a closed club of supremacists.

  80. I mean, I honestly think some people have should have swastikas sculpted to their brainless head.

  81. You don’t “get” the irony that you regard a segment of humanity as subhuman, as stated in your “I’m third generation from a family of holocaust survivors” screed?

    And you don’t “get” the hilarious, painful irony that you want to brand dissidents’ heads, even as you rage against the historical monsters who actually literally tattooed & carved the skin of the people they thought were less than people?

    Oh shit, I’ve been trolled by some satirical online commenting, haven’t I?
    Oh well, twas good for a laugh.

    Please continue. I’m uncircumcised. However, as a white man with a black girlfriend, I’m confused as to where I should insert my manhood. Please give guidance, thanx.

  82. >accidentally left out the word “supremacist” in my follow-up
    Sorry, please continue to assume I am one and proceed.

  83. Hey Sheriff, I think you should take a few deep breaths and maybe step back from the keyboard for a bit. It’s clear you feel strongly about this, but you’re breaching this site’s “don’t be a dick” policy. Mr Subtlety apologised profusely and has been much more polite than I probably would have and you’re still giving him shit. I don’t possess the Rosetta Stone of theological and historical context to decipher PASSION as the anti-Semetic screed it apparently is, and I appreciate your attempt to enlighten us, but you’re being a real asshat about it. This is the last site you could possibly accuse of bigotry.

  84. “…maybe you can start a conversation with black man…” “You’ll get exactly what Saint Mel wished upon the mother of his child.”

    That’s my favorite part of Sherrif’s response. Apparently if Mr. S (whom I know in real life and is a lovely human being and certainly not an antisemite or racist and in fact has self-identified to me as a feminist at one point) said something racist on here, he would be raped by a bunch of black men. Because that’s totally something that happens.

    Anyways, dudes, no need to get worked up about any of this. If this dude isn’t a troll, then he’s just a moron with poor reading and viewing comprehension skills. Much like parts of his interpretation of TPOTC, he’s basing his criticisms of Mr. S on things in his own head and not on things that actually happened.

  85. Don’t be a dick policy? I agree with that policy. I don’t think I’m the dick here. How about don’t be a Neo-Nazi policy?

  86. I’ve killed more anti-semites than you’ve ever conversed with, Sheriff.

  87. Sounds cool. Is it ironic? I actually meant Scalped earlier.

  88. The racism in this one bothers the hell out of me. Gets pretty cringe-worthy. But other than that, I really like this movie. Here’s that awesome clip of the audience reaction to the Jet Li / Triad home invasion sequence someone mentioned:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7D1CqVrGXdo

    Oh, and the “table on the highway” sequence is fantastic. Pretty much every action scene in this one is top notch.

  89. Oh jeez everyone, I sincerely regret starting this whole debacle and dragging everyone in with me… please, carry on about your business while I try to set things right here (also I apologize to LETHAL WEAPON 4 for ruining it’s comment section this way… I tried to bring people over to the forum, I really did!)

    Chance — OK, let’s get this straight. I’m not a neo-nazi, I’m not a regular nazi, I’m not an anti-semite, I’m not a holocaust denier, I’m not your enemy. I swear, I’m a nice guy who genuinely wants to understand where you’re coming from, that’s why I asked, that’s why I continued the conversation. I’ve apologized for offending you as many ways as I know how, and I don’t know how to do so with more sincerity, or how to make you believe I mean it.

    I guess what I was trying to articulate to you is that I think that sometimes symbols can have different meanings to different people. Where I grew up, in Virginia, tons of people had Confederate flags displayed all over the place. To me, this feels very weird and disturbing… after all, this is a symbol which stands for one of the most divisive and bloody conflicts in American history. It stands for a group which was willing to go to war, to kill by the hundreds of thousands, to preserve their “right” to make laws governing slavery. I don’t like seeing it, it automatically makes me feel defensive and skeptical about the person displaying it, makes me instinctively make assumptions about who they are and why they would display that particular symbol. And even more so, I know it makes my black friends extremely uncomfortable. A lot of them are literally somewhat afraid to leave DC for Virginia. And I completely understand why. Virginia has a long history of vicious racism. Danville, VA, near where I went to school, had some of the most brutal civil rights suppressions in all of the United States. That was only 50 years ago! The people who committed those shocking acts are still alive today!

    I say all this, because I also know a lot of the people who actually displayed those flags. You meet them in the South, there’s not really any way to avoid it. And you know, they really don’t see things the same way. To them (the ones I got to know, anyway), the Confederate flag genuinely doesn’t have anything to do with racism. They see it as a symbol of their culture, their heritage, no different than the Irish flag. They deplored racism, and in many cases actually have much more progressive ideas about race than many Northerners I’ve met. They know the history of that symbol, but their understanding of what it MEANS has shifted. Their perspective has colored their interpretation. They see it as something positive, something which symbolized independence and self-reliance, and has nothing whatsoever to do with slavery.

    I know that sounds crazy, but it’s true. I had my doubts for a long time, but I swear to you, that’s how they feel. They take great offense if you suggest that their symbol is a tacit endorsement of slavery, which they find every bit as repugnant as you and I do. Even though they know, just like you and I do, the history of that symbol.

    Now, does that mean it’s OK to throw that Confederate flag everywhere? Especially on government stuff, as they always want to do? In my view, no. I understand how they see things; but I also have consistently asked them to be sensitive to the kind of fear and pain that symbol still conjures for a lot of people, and a lot of my close friends in particular. I think it’s rather myopic of them to believe that because they see it as one thing, *all* people should see it that way. And I think that continuing to do so hardens people’s hearts, turns them against each other. Turns us from humans –who have so much in common and so much love for each other and this world– into factions, tribes, enemies. People who would needn’t listen, people who need not consider each other as fellow humans, but as adversaries.

    This is a long way of saying, I understand why you find THE PASSION (of the christ, not to be confused with Brian de Palma’s recent film) so deeply upsetting. You’re not wrong to feel that way. You’re absolutely correct that stories exactly like this have been used to incite people to bitter hatred and brutal violence, and that the line in Matthew, in particular, has been used specifically for this purpose. I can completely understand why the minute you see that included in a film, you immediately associate with every horrific story you know where that line, this story, played a key role.

    I also grew up Catholic, though (and I’m glad that I did — it made me the atheist I am today. Nothing like learning the specifics about religion to turn you away from it!). I went to Catholic school. The nuns there told me exactly what Gibson said — that the line from Matthew was true, but that it had a history of being used by evil people to trick them into becoming hateful, violent bigots. That it wasn’t about Jews, it was about all mankind. And that anyone who said otherwise was twisting the holy word for cruel and evil ends. And they didn’t say it, but I found out later on my own — a lot of the Bible is like that. So many parts of the Bible have been used to validate mankind’s worst inclinations towards bigotry and violence. Slavery, misogyny, rape, murder, genocide. You can find justification for all of them in the Bible, and people have done so frequently and blatantly. Again, it’s all in your interpretation, isn’t it? People still read the line from Genisis 9:20-27, the “curse of ham”. You know that that justified for centuries? Fuckin’ slavery! I sometimes wonder how any Jew or Christian or Muslim can read those lines and believe in the infallibility of the scripture. But they do, they do. Cognitive dissonance is an amazing thing. There are just as many rationalizations for it as there are people who used it to commit evil, and many of those are by people who know the history, but dispute the meaning. They repudiate the people who used that as justification for evil, even though, if we come right down to it, both interpretations are probably equally logical to pull for the text. The bible advocates all sorts of fucked up things, so why NOT slavery? The only answer is that anyone with even a shred of human decency has no choice but to be empathetic towards all people, since after all we are all one– and horrified at the idea of intentionally doing harm to them, especially based on something as petty and meaningless as race, color, gender, or creed.

    Symbols. They have such power to move us and to focus us. Their power lies in their simplicity, doesn’t it? Their ability to take complex, nuanced life and distill it down to a single image. But what they mean to you derives so much from what you bring with you. You have to have a strong basis in a particular culture to unpack them in the same way; little wonder then, that they can mean such disparate things to different people.

    I don’t know Mel Gibson. Perhaps you do, I don’t know. I can’t pretend to know what is on his mind now any more than I can pretend to understand why he’s done all the things he’s done. But I do know that people are complex. Even awful people, in my experiencer, have some core of humanity within them, undernourished as it may be, that may somehow, under some circumstances, be reached and appealed to. This is the very heart of nonviolent resistance, no? The very soul of that most profound of all Christian statements, which, fittingly for our conversation is found in Matthew (5:38 – 5:42):

    v38 Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:

    39 But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.
    40 And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also.
    41 And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.
    42 Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.

    As I have said, I am not a Christian. But I find profound, profound power in those lines such that I sometimes find tears rising to my eyes simply in the reading of them. It compels -begs, even– you to appeal to that core of humanity, of goodness, of empathy that exists within everyone. It begs you that rather than answer violence with violence, you instead not only allow an evil against you to go unpunished, but you respond by compelling those who would do violence against you to do so again. Not to further your masochistic suffering (though that might be the way Gibson sees it, judging from his films) but rather to break that cruel escalation of enmity. If you fight, your attacker has an opponent to contend with. But if you refuse to follow violence with violence, your opponent is left railing against only himself, and has no choice but to come face to face with his own action, and ask himself if he truly has the bitterness in him to repeat it, unprovoked.

    I guess, if I must be completely truthful with myself, that’s what I want to see in Gibson, who, after all, is an artist I have admired and enjoyed over the years. I want to believe that he’s like me, and like you too I suspect, a mixed up guy who has a lot of pain and a lot of bad ideas, but who is trying, struggling, to be better, to be good, to be worthy. In his case, worthy of God, in my case, worthy of my fellow humans. I don’t know what’s in his head, but I know that beliefs are complex, that perspective makes all the difference. If I had directed THE PASSION when I was a Catholic, I think it might have looked a lot like Gibson’s film, it’s very likely would have included very similar scenes, played the same way, and I can promise you –which since you do not know me or anything about me, is alas the best I can offer– that it would not have had even an iota of animus towards the Jews, or anyone else. It would have looked that way because that’s how conservative Catholics teach the story of the Passion. And they teach it that way because to them, the personal suffering of Jesus Christ is of absolutely paramount importance. The idea of blood sacrifice is not one which originated in Catholicism, or even Judaism, but for some people it has particularly powerful meaning, and when given willingly, well, it is the very essence of Messianic power. Watching THE PASSION, even knowing what I know about history, that’s genuinely how it read to me: an ultraconservative Catholic trying to impart to fellow believers the depths of Jesus’s suffering for the sake of mankind’s soul. I think that’s why the movie was so powerful for Mouth as well — seen in that light, it’s an utter condemnation of ALL violence, against anyone. The ultimate expression of pure, humanistic self-sacrifice in the name of pacifism and love. I have a very strong feeling that most people who were moved by the film experienced it that way, and would be shocked, confused, and mortified if anyone implied that in doing so they were supporting any sort of antisemitic message.

    I don’t expect you to interpret it that way. Symbols again; truth me told, they probably say more about us than they ever do about the world. But I hoped that by sharing that interpretation with you, I might convince you of a more optimistic way of looking at this controversy. Since neither of us can really know what was in the mind of it’s creator –and since ultimately it only really matters how we personally interact with art– I genuinely thought it might bring you some comfort, and perhaps a different perspective on an actor and artist who I think we both at least have some affection for. I fully acknowledge that it’s possible that you’re right, that PASSION is actually an insidious cover for a subterranean agenda of hate which (while invisible to most people) would be immediately obvious to those who seek affirmation of their darkest nature. I mean, I’ve been to the youtube comment section, I know those guys are out there. But I hope you can also see why I would say — based on my own experience, which you now know a little more about– that there may be another possibility as to what all of this means. A possibility which, maybe, is a little less disheartening, a little less liable to turn people against each other.

    Well, I’ve gone and written a novel now. You’re just some box on the internet, I don’t know you, and I suppose I never truly will. But I wanted to write all this, tell you some personal things about me, so that maybe I’ll be less of a box on the internet to you, and more of a real person –flawed, deeply flawed, I’ll be the first to admit– but someone who is genuinely trying to be kind, to be honest, to understand where you’re coming from. If you still see me as an enemy, I suppose there’s not much more I could say or do to convince you otherwise, but I hope to part from this exchange in friendship, and I hope you stay on this site and we have many more, much happier interactions. This is the longest post I’ve ever written on this website, maybe on ANY website, and it’s the last I want to say here. But if you wish to talk further on this matter, click on the link on my name; contact me there and I’ll send you my real email and we can go from there. I say all this in the most sincere possible spirit of hope that we can argue, even disagree about important things, and still manage to see the things we have in common (an annoyance with the one-note brutality of PASSION OF THE CHRIST for one, an appreciation for the action cinema of the 80’s for another, just to name a few). Peace and love,

    you pal,
    Mr. Subtlety.

  90. oh boy, we got an internet tough guy here, just take a chill pill Broseph Stalin

    I have a lot of sympathy for guys like Mel Gibson or to use a similar example Doug TenNapel, that is talented guys who had the misfortune to be exposed to toxic ideas (and to be clear they ARE toxic) at a young age

    I mean Mel got all these crazy ideas from his dad, right? I can relate, while my dad is not racist he is very devoutly Religious and when you grow up under the shadow of that you either have to just go with it or just pretend that you do, it’s hard to escape

  91. Guys, maybe it’s time to change the subject to something lighter, like abortion or the Israel-Palestine conflict?

  92. Or go watch LIFE OF BRIAN instead.

  93. Hands down the best movie about religion ever!

  94. I really liked MASS APPEAL, with Jack Lemmon, Charles Durning and a young Zeljko Ivanek. Kind of ahead of it’s time in terms of what’s politically correct now.

  95. Subtely. Ok,fair enough. I accept your apology. Like all of us you are product of your environment and it looks like you doing everything to better yourself and be a kind human being. You don’t seem like a practicing neo nazi, that’s true. But you defended some neo nazi ideas so I had to attack you. Sorry for being rough. But I’m the Sheriff. I got to maintain order.
    Although I’m tired from this debate, I still got some questions for you, I’ll post them later. For now I just wanted you to know that we are back to human mode.

  96. Hey, Subtelty, I really appreciate what you wrote and that you wrote your such a detailed and personal post just for me. You may be a box but I know more information about you now then on some of my non-virtual friends.
    I had a virus for a few days and I was sitting at home with high fever. And I was really upset by what you said and the fever probably turned my reaction to over-reaction (especially when talking to virtual box you don’t really know). So I’m really sorry for the style I was using and some things I said. If I caused you any real pain I don’t want wish it upon you now or in the future.
    I’ll see you on blog, Thanks for invitation, amigo.

  97. There are some seriously bad action editing in JACK RYAN: SHADOW HUNTER.

  98. Chance — no harm done, man. Thanks for taking the time to read all that, I always figure if we can remind each other there’s another person on the line out there, it makes for a more civilized world. Not the internet’s strong suite, currently, but hey, one convert at a time!

  99. Trailer for the LETHAL WEAPON: TV Series
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cXZdEmvcFdU

  100. Wow, this came out of nowhere! I don´t know how I feel about this one. You simply can´t replace Mel and Danny. Riggs and Murtaugh feels like family and this looks like Lethal Weapon Jr if their kids became slightly less duplicates of their parents. I know their parents, but not these guys.

    I might watch the series if nothing else is on or out of curiosity. It does not look that bad to be honest. That is my spontaneous reaction.

  101. I looks kinda cool, but I don’t get the LETHAL WEAPON feeling from the trailer…at all.

  102. Don’t know what’s weirder. A Wayans Brother as the straight(-ish) man or a Riggs who looks more like Johnny Depp? The action looks alright, but those are just scenes from the pilot, so the show will most likely have a smaller scale from episode 2 on.

    Basically I’m not against it, because I’m generally open minded when it comes to remakes and cover versions, but I predict that it will last as long as the RUSH HOUR show (which was cancelled a few hours ago).

  103. (Not joking) The Rush Hour show already came out?

    As for Lethal Weapon Jr., looks like a generic cop action show they slapped the LW name onto, just like how that Rush Hour series looked.

  104. Sounds like they… RUSHed it out…and then it rushed out again..

  105. Clayne Crawford/new Riggs have been in some really cool shows over the years, but I can’t say I remember him fram any of them. And Wayans as the older, wiser one is just…weird.

  106. He was cool in BAYTOWN OUTLAWS.

  107. Trailer for 24: LEGACY is up as well.

    24: Legacy - TV Show Trailer

    http://www.joblo.com 24: Legacy - TV Show Trailer The clock ticks again with 24: LEGACY, the next evolution of the Emmy Award-winning “24.” From Emmy Award-w...

  108. At least they didn´t recast Jack Bauer.

  109. “24” in its heyday was known as The Jack Bauer Power Hour. He was far from the only intriguing character on that show, but he was always the focal point. Take Jack Bauer out of the equation, and it’s no longer “24”. Have someone other than Kiefer Sutherland playing the main character, and it’s REALLY no longer “24”.

    They should’ve titled it “CTU” and made it a spinoff. “24: Legacy” makes it seem like a continuation of sorts, and as there are exactly zero cast members returning from the original series… former fans will be curious at first and then feel duped, and then turn elsewhere. Maybe Fox thinks they can corral enough new fans to make up the slack, but DAMN this show better be something special to do that.

  110. I love 24. Even in its later seasons, it was always a damn entertaining piece of Television. But I also acknowledge, that they kept repeating certain plots and situations until the former ground- and rulebreaking show became a bit of a self parody. So I’m not against seeing a brand new character being the centre of attention, I’m just scared that nothing else will change. Seeing that it’s apparently about an ex-soldier, who is on the run from people who want revenge for one of his missions, is refreshing, even if the bad guys are the same as always. But something tells me within less than 4 episodes, he will be on an official mission to stop a terrorist attack and maybe after 10-12 episodes, he will get help from Jack Bauer again.

    I will watch anyway.

  111. I chuckled a few times at that LW trailer. I’m probably not alone when I say that I had the sort of knee-jerk reaction when one reads about a beloved franchise going to television like this. But then again there are times that it’s worked too. Will this be M*A*S*H (or to use a much more recent example, FARGO)? Probably not, but at least this means we likely will not ever be getting LW 5 now.

  112. I’m going to continue to believe that this alleged LETHAL WEAPON television program is just an elaborate North Korean hoax designed to undermine American morale.

  113. I agree on every point CJ. 24 is one of my favorite shows, even when it got silly it was really fun. But it will be good to reset the status quo and return to a point where I genuinely believe that any character could be killed off at any point. I’m super excited about this. Especially with Stephen Hopkins returning to direct. He directed most of the first season including the pilot (still my favorite season).

  114. Mel Gibson is rolling in his bed.

  115. The funniest looking of the new Fox shows is the one with the Thundarr/He-Man knock-off trying to reconnect with his kid. It was hilariously inspired and has my attention. I will check out 24: REDUX and PRISON BREAK 2.0 as well. LETHAL WEAPON on the other hand just made me weep on the inside even more than I imagined.

  116. For the record I think Keenan would’ve worked better as the straight man than Damon, Sr (feels so weird to type out his name like that). Besides Dame already met his “Shane Black influenced buddy cop” quota when he worked with Bruce all those years ago.

  117. Broddie, I think you mean in his giant bed made of money.

  118. I am looking forward to seeing Wentworth Miller back in PRISON BREAK.

    Official Trailer | PRISON BREAK

    Check out the official, new trailer for the upcoming season of FOX's hit show, Prison Break. Subscribe now for more Prison Break clips: http://fox.tv/Subscri...

  119. I liked 3/4 of PRISON BREAK. Season 4 was at least 20 episodes too long and made even the craziest 24 season look like THE WEST WING in comparison, but I’m not against a revival either. But the impression I got from the trailer is:

    “Okay, Mr FOX executive, here is out outline for the new 24 season, where Kim Bauer and some of Jack’s old friend travel around the world to bust him out of prison.”
    “Well, we decided to go into a completely different direction for next season, without Jack Bauer. But can you re-write it into a PRISON BREAK reunion?”

  120. Any mention of PRISON BREAK brings me straight to this

    Prison Prison Break - Acceptable.TV

    Each year, millions of Americans are sentenced to prison. Prisoners found guilty of committing crimes in prison are sent to prison prison - a special prison ...

  121. The show got convoluted as hell once every one of their family members was involved in the conspiracy. However I love Purcell and Miller together so much I can’t miss the revival. Same reason I can’t stop watching DC’s LEGENDS OF TOMORROW on The CW.

  122. Shane Black talked about writing LW 5 on a podcast recently. Riggs and Murtaugh fighting Blackwater private military types in the middle of a terrible snowstorm in New York City.

  123. So anyone going to catch the LETHAL WEAPON TV series this week?

  124. Not if you paid me.

  125. I’m going to watch. It won’t be as good as the movies but it could be an entertaining enough tv show.

  126. There is a review for the show from Entertainment Weekly that is filled with some really weird swipes at the movies. Here are quotes.

    “The film has a great reputation, because anything popular becomes a classic when enough people get too old to love anything new. The first Lethal Weapon is, like, okay: an aggro-cute action film from Hollywood’s High Cocaine Era, grounded by Glover’s regular-guy professionalism, dependent on you being charmed by Mel Gibson acting crazy. It vibed clever because most action films in the ’80s — bad, good, or great — had grade-school-terrible bad dialogue. Lethal Weapon was adolescent, but even fifth graders look smart to preschoolers.”

    “There were three more Lethal Weapon movies after that. Fans say they get better and worse; there are connoisseurs for everything nowadays”

    “new Lethal Weapon TV show, which features everything you loved about the Lethal Weapon movies besides Danny Glover and Mel Gibson, who were literally the only things anyone loved about the Lethal Weapon movies.”

    “The only thing that made Lethal Weapon work on the big screen was the pairing of Gibson and Glover. There is no mythology to the franchise besides their performances.”

    “There were no budgetary concerns in the original Lethal Weapon. The original movie runs on a decadent cuteness that feels impossibly innocent — or just naive — today. While the credits roll on the first film, a nameless half-dressed blonde snorts a line and dives off a skyscraper before the camera lingers on her beautiful corpse, with one breast tastefully exposed. Later, a madman Vietnam vet-turned-heroin smuggler attacks a cliffside mansion in Palos Verdes with a helicopter. These are violent cartoon visions from an age of careless excess, when Hollywood’s biggest movie fear was that someone might attack our big houses and our babes, when “LAPD Officer Who Doesn’t Play By The Rules” wasn’t a pitch for a horror movie.”

    “This new TV show is Easy Listening, but Lethal Weapon was never truly rock ‘n’ roll.”

  127. Yeah, because when I want to learn all about real rock n’ roll, what I do is I read a magazine that’s had like 14 TWILIGHT cover stories. This guy couldn’t come off more desperate to prove how fucking cool he is despite working for the most superficial, sell-outiest publisher of “film criticism” that’s ever existed if he tried.

    Hacks gonna hack, I guess.

  128. Yeah it’s weird how “legitimate”/print publications rage against the dying of traditional media by hiring insufferable snarky assholes who sound exactly like the free bloggers they should be trying to distinguish themselves from. And what do you want to bet this cool guy probably couldn’t shut the fuck up about The Nice Guys this summer while he shits on Shane Black’s greatest creation.

  129. I just want to know what “aggro-cute” means. He mentions the cuteness of LETHAL WEAPON in two of those quotes.

    In his defense, those excerpts are technically better written than the thing I wrote a long time ago making fun of the music and hair in LETHAL WEAPON. He doesn’t sound like a guy who would ever come around, but you never know. He’s obviously young.

  130. I looked at his Twitter. He’s what you thought. I agree that his sentences are okay, while also reflecting the worst of “blogger criticism.”

  131. Jesus, that EW review seems like it was carefully engineered to be as aggravating as possible.

  132. The second-to-last paragraph in Sternshein’s highlight reel (“no budgetary concerns”) is pretty well-written and insightful, I think. However, the overall vibe is very much the standard dimestore, self-important millenial revisionist snark.

  133. I’m glad the TV show made me eat my words. Find myself watching it every week.

  134. Yeah, it’s a pretty entertaining hour of television. Fox is pretty good at having beginning, middle and end of episodes that aren’t mythology based. They do what so many have bitched about in the other talkback.

  135. Unfortunately I missed out on it, when it started over here a few weeks ago. I expected it to get cancelled after one season and didn’t want to commit. Well, let’s hope for quick reruns or a streaming appereance.

  136. I’m still convinced that it’s just a prank the American television industry is pulling on me specifically. Like one day morbid curiosity will finally get the better of me, but when I try to watch it, it’ll just be a blank screen that says “PSYCHE! MADE YOU LOOK!”

  137. Stop pranking me , assholes. There is no LW television series. Stop watching shit that is not real

  138. Next you’ll be telling me there was/is a TV show for MINORITY REPORT, RUSH HOUR, TAKEN, THE TRANSPORTER, and THE EXORCIST. Next you’ll tell me there’s TV series for LAST STAR FIGHTER, THE LOST BOYS, MARLEY & ME, BLUE CRUSH, and THE DEVIL’S ADVOCATE in development.

  139. The Last Starfighter should be a tv show.

  140. Like LETHAL WEAPON Fox’s THE EXORCIST was also surprisingly good. Glad I gave them both enough of a chance to find their grooves as the season wentnon cause they were some of the better surprises on TV as of late truth be told.

  141. LETHAL WEAPON is like a greatest hits version of the first 3 movies. Mixed in with some 21st century flair and it just worked. Like Thomas Lennon’s Leo Getz was nothing like Pesci but still FELT unapologetically Leo. It’s the one reboot that got that you should keep atmosphere and tone of any property intact even when introducing your own changes. Just like Bryan Fuller’s HANNIBAL.

    Which is why it had a lot of moments in the traditional LW spirit without just straight up biting. The way they set up season 2 should be even more fun. They’re basically about to invert the Riggs and Murtaugh dynamic in a promising way. Glad I kept an open mind after the pilot. That was some quality TV.

  142. THE LOST BOYS could actually work as a TV show. It’s not a finite a story as say NEAR DARK. There are many places you can take Peter Pan meets modern vampires. Just keep CRY LITTLE SISTER as the theme song though.

  143. Cry Little Sister will probably be some shitty cover though.

  144. You people are off the chains. I am gettin the fuck out of here.

  145. LETHAL WEAPON 4 is, I believe, the only film to feature the Gary Cherone-led incarnation of Van Halen on the soundtrack. As far as I know that hasn’t quite qualified it for the National Film Registry yet, but it’s a moment in time nonetheless.

  146. I wonder why they never turned that Denzel Washington/Val Kilmer/Tony Scott joint DEJA VU into a TV show. The plot (Government agency has the technology to look 24 hours in the past and tries to solve crimes with it, but they need to find out where to look at the right time, because they can’t rewind that shit.) is made for a weekly crime show with Science Fiction touch! Although now that even FREQUENCY was a TV show, we might only be a few years away from it.

Leave a Reply





XHTML: You can use: <a href="" title=""> <img src=""> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <b> <i> <strike> <em> <strong>