Lethal Weapon 4, By Richard Donner

1891 words - 8 pages

As muscle-bound figures such as the Terminator and Rambo stormed big screen, it was also during this period that we witnessed the ostensive arrival of “racially sensitive” buddy cop films. Lethal Weapon 4 (1998) directed by Richard Donner is a buddy cop film, which portrays a more subtle ‘modern’ type of racism. In saying so, the film examines inter-racial relationships attempting to diminish racial issues and present characters with equity in order to give comfort and reassurance to a wider ethnic audience. With calls for more minority representation on screen, black-white interracial buddying seemed to make political and financial sense to Hollywood studios (Chan 110). However, minority representation on screen presented a much more complex underlying notion to be represented on screen. In relevance to Lethal Weapon 4, this essay attempts to examine relevant points from Shoham and______ article .
In doing so it will discuss these varying aspects closely analyzing scenes from the film.

Lethal Weapon 4 is one of the many Lethal Weapon series that amalgamates action, drama, comedy and heart warming stories into a well-packaged film. Part of the success of the film lies within the resplendent chemistry between the two partners Martin Riggs and Roger Murtaugh. The profound relationship between the two characters is built on differences of age, class and race. Through fighting crime and contending demons Riggs and Murtaugh come to find common ground for bonding despite their disparities. Whilst comedy and action play an imperative part in attracting audiences, viewers participate in the evolving lives of the two partners. In the context to the black-white inter-racial relation, the co-operative partnership demonstrates “state of progress within the American racial politics appealing momentously” to mainstream White American audiences (Chan 113). The three dimentional design of the characters present figures with focal concerns well beyond race and racism by characters leading lives that appear to be complex and conflicted thus representing a more ‘real’ life scenario making the question of race an over determined one.

Racism hasn’t disappeared. In fact it’s more apparent in new levels, which seems less visible to those whom choose to believe so. Racism is a sensitive issue, yet as Lee Artz states the apparent equality of black and white characters plants a belief in a non-black member of community to think that “racism has been overcome”. By placing Murtaugh’s family to a percentile of an upper-middle class of the society and Riggs to a working class, social stereotypical norms of both races are distorted. Not only are these characters equal, but Murtaugh seems to be of higher class than Riggis. However, Rigg’s life which doesn’t mold into a stereotypical White frame tends to frame him as the “Social Other”, displacing him outside the ‘White’ superiority. Inter-racial buddy films propel a comforting message to the blacks,...

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