Live Free Or Die Hard #1 – Racist Moviemaking

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I’ll just get to the point – the movie Live Free or Die Hard could have been a great action movie, but instead – because of its racist language towards Asians and Asian women – it’s racist moviemaking at its best – and I’m proud to say I walked out of that piece of trash before it was done.

Maggie Q – a great actress in her own right – plays one of the villians in what seems to be a great multicultural cast – but alas the screenwriters – and indeed Bruce Willis himself, just couldn’t resist throwing in some of the most offensive language I’ve heard towards Asians and Asian American women in a major motion picture.

Here’s the rundown of language:

1. When Bruce Willis is relaying to Timothy Olyphant (who plays the movie’s main villian Thomas Gabriel) that he just killed his partner/girlfriend Maggie Q he refers to her as his little bitch Asian girlfriend whom he just killed. Now – while I’m all for the hero of the movie kicking the villians ass – nowhere else in the movie is there a line which refers to someone’s race. It’s just for the Asian villian. The plain fact is that in this context, no screenwriter would have written, and no white actor would have agreed to say something to the effect of I just killed your little bitch black girlfriend.

But if they’re Asian – it’s O.K.

2. And that just sets you up for the most horrible line towards the end of the movie where Bruce Willis says to Timothy Olyphant that he killed his “Asian bitch hooker girlfriend” and that “she was hot” and that “he should’t have a hard time finding another one”.

WTF?

This is complete bullshit racist language which keeps the ideas alive that:

1. Asian women – and Asian American women – are whores. They deserve to be sold and traded as commodities. Plain simple hookers. Objects.

2. Asians are expendable. Hey – we’re all alike – don’t worry – you can mame and kill a couple of us because there are more of us where we came from. We’re not individuals – we’re all a collective.

Asian women? They are there to be fucked, raped, and killed – and don’t worry – there’s millions more where they came from.

And the audience – they didn’t laugh either – there were hushes and ohhs – and it makes me wonder if the studio executives – like Bert Livingston who called the character Bruce Willis plays an “everyman” – used a group of white racists for the focus group.

BOTTOM LINE – AVOID THIS MOVIE AND DON’T GIVE 20th Century Fox or Bruce Willis any of your money – SPREAD THE WORD.

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47 responses to “Live Free Or Die Hard #1 – Racist Moviemaking

  1. profbwoman

    I watched the interview with Justin Long on the Tonight Show and was surprised to see that most of his segment revolved around doing a bad Asian “accent” and making fun of the way Asians [supposedly] speak English. It was painful. Reading your review puts his comments in a context that is becoming all too familiar these days. Thanks for the warning!

    • If you look at how Westerners or White Americans and White Europeans try to speak Mandarin Chinese, more and more popular now on TV and in movies now, their accent is even thicker than a native Asian speaking English with an Asian accent, to the point of cannot understand what they’re trying to say at all. It’s funny in its irony (much like most if not all racist views from an educated person’s point of view) that white people, like Rush Limbaugh, make fun of Asian languages, specifically Mandarin Chinese, with offensive imitations like “ching chong ching chong”, when in actuality, that is exactly how white people sound like when trying to speak Mandarin Chinese; that’s the actual Western tongue’s accent, not the real sounding or pronunciation of Chinese language. If they think that’s what they hear, then it only points to their deficiency in their hearing and understanding.

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  3. I sent this article to all my friends and they will definitely give it a miss. Thanks for enlightening us. I unfortunately sat through it, but cringed at those parts (plus the whopping he put on Maggie Q). It took your article to open my eyes and hopefully others.

  4. I wish I could say I was surprised. I am also not surprised that the Asian actors in the film apparently did not protest the script. Sometimes I wonder if Jackie Chan reads his scripts thoroughly before agreeing to some of his roles. Don’t get me wrong though , the focus should indeed be on those studio heads greenlighting this stuff.

  5. First of all, I’m Chinese. But I gotta say Minorities in America are too sensitive and are too trigger happy to pull the race card on any little thing. it’s a huge double standard… for example, how many times are White people portrayed as goofy, nerdy, lacking in rhythm in Black sitcoms, movies? ALL THE TIME. How often is the term redneck/white boy thrown around? ALL THE TIME. But yet you cna’t make one little statement about Blacks or Asians without their groups causing a ruckus and making a scene.

    You Asians being upset at the stereotype are hypocrites. I don’t see you complaining about the stereotype that “All Asians know kung fu”. The filmmakers made Maggie Q RIDICULOUSLY TOUGH and was able to beat McClane in a one on one fight, I bet it was her being Asian that had to do with the filmmakers making her a kung fu expert, right? But I don’t see you complaining about that stereotype… becuse THAT’S A POSITIVE ONE. But you will make a big deal about Mcclane throwing his usual insult… and for the record, judging from McClane’s character and past films, he would have insulted the girl regardless of if she was Asian, White, or Indian. McClane made cracks about German terrorists in Die Hard 1, no? Sam Jackson made cracks about White people in Die Hard 3 no? So why is the one with the “asian” such a big deal?

    Stop the double standards. Do you think you’d be getting upset if Denzel called someone a White dumb ass in a film? Probably not.

    • Whether you are Asian or not is besides the point; one person does not represent or speak for an entire race of people.

      There are some subtleties you have missed:
      At first, Bruce Willis remarked “enough of this Kung Fu sh*t”, which in the context of that movie fighting sequence is understandable. But then, by referring to fighting as “Kung Fu sh*t” then he’s suggesting all fighting styles are “Kung Fu sh*t” and since Kung Fu is from Asia or China to be exact, then Bruce is saying only Chinese knows how to fight or that all other races including white Europeans don’t know how to fight or don’t fight. That’s obviously false. So, you can see how that remark was racially tainted. There are many ways to describe someone who is kicking the living sh*t out of you in a movie fighting sequence without bringing “race” into it.

      Sometimes, it may be hard for someone, who is in a privileged environment (for not having to deal with or go through these subtle you’re-inferior-type oppression) by being part of the majority in America, to see or notice how they’re tainting everything racially, which essentially is saying minority Americans are outsiders to them or are therefore not Americans like them, by bringing race into it. On the other hand, what majorities do deal with or go through is hearing these criticisms or complaints from minorities, but there is a big difference between being oppressed and dealing complaints. Yeah, from a majority’s point of view, it feels like minorities are being overly sensitive; hence the negative feeling or resentment towards the term PC or Politically Correct. But that’s from lack of understanding of the situation and the degree of that frustration towards sensitivity (kind of like the First-World-Problems meme) is far less suffering than what minorities go through in oppression (in the context of whites vs non-whites in America or Europe or predominantly white society, even though out of the world, Asians have the largest population, mostly in China and India), be it mental oppression or otherwise, growing up in an environment where you’re taught or told that you’re not one of us, that you’re an outsider, that you’re inferior, that there’s something wrong with you, just because you’re “different”, etc… That sort of mental oppression, be it subtle or unnoticeable or not, can really do a number on a child while growing up and can really cause serious harm or permanent damage when they’re adults. Talk about brainwashing like in North Korea. Just like you wouldn’t tell a rape victim to tough it out, it’s insensitive to dismiss these racist charges as being overly sensitive. It’s not just about sensitivity issue. It’s about appropriateness, about being a decent human being, compassionate towards others’ oppression. I know it may be hard to see it that way from a majority’s point of view, since majorities don’t experience or go through that particular oppression by default, being part of the majority, but as a society, only way to grow or move forward or progress is to understand from other people’s or other side’s point of view.

      Back to the movie, so, at first, the “Kung Fu” remark may have been in the context of the movie, even though the wording was poorly used since not all fighting are Kung Fu and simply kicking and punching which Bruce did a lot of that himself too is too generic to be called Kung Fu, but then in a later scene, Bruce said “can I get another dead Asian hooker bitch over here right away, but seriously, all that kicking aside, skinny little ninja chick was smoking hot, one of those must be real hard to come by, right”, which solidified the suspicion that Bruce was coming from a racist and sexist point of view. In the context of the movie, Bruce Willis/John McClane was saying: is that all you got, taunting Timothy Olyphant/Thomas Gabriel, you can send all these henchmen at me but I’ll still defeat them and you. What made Bruce’s remark racist was by bringing race into it: “Asian” hooker bitch, instead of “feisty bitch” or any other terms to describe a fighter or an opponent that’s difficult to handle. In the remark, “skinny little ninja chick was smoking hot, one of those must be real hard to come by”, that’s viewing and treating women as sex objects and as commodities, and again, the “ninja” part makes it racially charged. He didn’t have to bring race into it to make his point. So, instead of complaining about why minorities keep complaining and bringing up race or pulling the race card, tell the original speakers who started it to stop bringing race into their conversations. Saying “that Asian chick” is bringing race into it. Bruce would/should know better from Die Hard 3, but apparently Die Hard 4 is okay to be racist.

      Notice also the negative description used to describe Maggie Q compared to positive or neutral description used to describe white actors/actresses. Yes, Maggie Q was playing a villain, so negative and nasty words should be used against her character, but when describing another villain, that white henchman who was quick and jumping around like he was on the monkey bars in a jungle jim’s playground, Bruce called him a “hamster”, instead of a “monkey” which was more of an obvious choice of word to describe that guy’s action. “Hamster” doesn’t have a negative connotation to it like “monkey” does, but he’s a villain. So, why not trash this villain too like Bruce did with Maggie? Is this favoring white people?

      In Die Hard 3, Bruce complained to Samuel Jackson that Samuel Jackson kept on bringing race into it, but in this Die Hard 4, Bruce is the one who brings race into his insults. So, in Die Hard 3, Bruce was submitting to Samuel Jackson and the Harlem community. But in contrast in Die Hard 4, Bruce looked down on Maggie Q as subordinate.

      Maybe to white people, you gotta fight for respect and stand your ground, instead of having a common unspoken understanding/acknowledgement that people should get along as equals and live in harmony since we’re all human beings. If that’s the case, Asian Americans, rise up like the black community and be vocal, instead of expecting white people to know what is right and what is wrong. Let it be known that we’re not gonna stand idly by anymore.

  6. Thank goodness Maggie Q ‘s character spoke fluent English, eh? Because lord knows what a big deal you would make if she spoke accented English.

    By the way, Maggie Q is not a good actress. You’re blindly praising her cause she’s Asian? Hae you seen her HK films? She was a joke in Hk because she couldn’t act.

    And if you think her being cast in “action roles” in Hollywood has nothing to do with her being Asian, you’re naive.

    But let me guess, you have no problem with “those stereotypes” , since they’re positive stereotypes (that Maggie Q was more likely than a White actress to be tough kung fu bad ass), right?

  7. wow. thanks for the heads up. thats crazy!

  8. ben honestly, your so disillusioned, being the fact that she was being normal and treated like a piece of meat doesn’t bother you? The fact of the matter is, she was only called so because she was asian.

    And you don’t realise either that people DO protest the big kung fu shit being thrown around.

    There is always “some” double standard, only because it’s impossible to be absolute. When “whites” as you called them act silly, theres always a positive image to counteract it.

    Where’s the positive asian representation in the media? There is non, its so unbalanced, and trying to tell me all that kung fu crap compensates, your so lost. Just supporting the stereotypes.

  9. model minority is not a good stereotype for a number of reason, all of which you can find out by spending 5 minutes of google search, the fact of the matter is that “asians” make up less then like 6 percent of the population so if there was a minority to pick on it’s them. It’s harder to organise anything because of sparser numbers. It’s not like other ethnic groups (ie. everyone white, black, etc.) who could bolster numbers without a problem, yet you seem to enjoy just ignoring that fact don’t you?

  10. Yeah, that was damn racist.

  11. Not racist at all its not like the asian chick didnt kno that he was saying that, its just a fucking movie get a life

  12. Go, given McClane’s character, he would have insulted the villain regardless of she was asian or whatever. Yeah she would have said something else other than “Asian hooker” if she wasn’t Asian, but that still doesn’t change the fact McClane the character is known for making snappy insults that are mostly un-PC. He clowned Germans in Die Hard 1, he made fun of people for being overrate, for having small feet, he called that one guy hampster boy, it’s his character.

    What was said was in the context of the film, and McClane’s character was obviosuly upset at the evil character.

    Stop being dumb, if you think that line had any ill intent towards Asians and somehow the filmmakers put that line in because they like to pick on Asians, you’re just reading too much into this.

    There are million movies with things that would upset a minority. I’m sure a fat person can complain about fat jokes or negative portrayal of overweight people in hundreds of films. White people can complain about being portrayed as goofy on Black sitcoms/movies, there were insults at the Irish in die Hard 3, insults at the Germans in Die Hard 1, and I’m sure if people wanted to, they can find a line in die Hard 2 that’s “insulting too”. The only difference is Asians and Blacks comlpain the most and are most likely to pull the “racecard” because they overreact.

    I guarantee you if Denzel called a white villain “dumb ass white boy hick” in a movie no one would bat an eye. But if it’s “Asian hooker” you guys get all riled up.

    And how exactly was Maggie Q treated like a piece of meat? Was she not actually the second-in-command, highest order of the henchman? If she was being treated like a piece of meat what about all those hackers that were used and then killed by the main villain? Oh wait, but you don’t care cause they White, right?

    Man get outta with your paranoia crap. There was no intent at Asians from the filmmakers, Bruce Willis, script writer, whatever.

    • “hamster” is not negative. calling him a “monkey” would have been more equal to calling her a “hooker bitch”

  13. Could it be part of an attempt to show that the character isn’t really a very nice person? It might take seeing the whole film even to know that (and even then you don’t necessarily know for sure what’s in the mind of the screenwriters, who may have just been pretty poor at executing something that was supposed to have come across in the film but didn’t).

    • except the unequal or unbalanced use of negative slander against an Asian female villain (“Asian hooker bitch”) compared to a white male villain (“hamster”), which suggests intentional use of words or favoring the white actors/actresses. Why didn’t they call that white male villain a “monkey” or something along that line? because that’s what he looked like he was doing, playing on the monkey bars. But “monkey” has a negative connotation to it, so they used “hamster” instead, which sounds cute not villainous?

  14. Slanty Slant

    From past experience I’m going to take a stab and say Ben is a white guy who is trying to pass himself off as an Asian guy to help his argument – or he’s in serious need of therapy because he uses the same subtle rhetoric as white racists do (just read their manifestos and the literature) , and then I think he needs therapy because he’s probably been brainwashed.

    Either way though – if his excuses for the movie and his point of view in general have you going “Hmmm….maybe he’s got a point” – then welcome to the world of subtle racism – it’s easy to get hooked.

    For everyone else that gets it – keep on spreading the word.

  15. blackromancereader

    I’m black (as obvious by my username) and I have learned, based on my experiences dealing with racism and sexism against black women that Ben, if someone is offended, they have a right to be offended. This world has too volatile a history with minorities for people–even if you’re of the same race–to deride someone if they are offended due to their disappointment over ethnic stereotypes and/or racism (however underhanded) has passed beneath the radar. Even if you’re Asian and don’t understand why some of the people on this blog are offended, it doesn’t give you the right to accuse them of being “sensitive”–after all, is that what white people say to us minorities when we speak out about racism?

  16. dear ben,

    The issue at hand here is not whether the filmmakers are racists or had an agenda to “keep the yellow man down” as it were. The issue here is how totally oblivious, how insensitive they appear to be and that they need to be informed of this lapse in judgment. They made choices about the dialogue that really didn’t need to be, they were lazy, and as a result they are informing people of a really terrible model of what is acceptable language (sic) to use in regards to Asian women, and implying Asian women as inferior to women of other races. Their apparent lack of knowledge or awareness is perhaps even more disturbing than if they were active members of a racist organization.

    First, the counter examples you provide aren’t really reinforcing negative stereotypes – For one, Samuel L. Jackson’s insults in DH3 compete with the heroic image provided by John McClain. This contrast effect really makes null any insult. I can’t comment on every film ever made, but while the contrast nullification effect can explain away a lot, I will grant you that you are correct in stating that there is a double standard – white people have more power in American society as a whole. Consequently, to really insult takes some effort. Seriously – insulting German heritage? Making cracks about German heritage would probably land more laughs than anger from German-Americans. Even Germans could care less. Still, there is a line and if it’s crossed then I will speak up about it. In regards to DH1? The debate is European vs. American, race is not of issue, national identities are at stake.

    And let’s keep this to action/drama films, comedy is an entirely different animal.

    Now, let’s look at what John McClain says. I will even give him a pass on the first comment, explaining that he killed the “little bitch Asian girlfriend” – let’s just assume that John was aware of the bad guy’s latin, white and black girlfriends on the side and was trying to be specific. I could have let that slide if they left it at that, but they didn’t.

    Per the article above, in round two, John says: “Asian bitch hooker girlfriend” “he should’t have a hard time finding another one”

    In short, he strikes at identity so as to strike at Mr. Olyphant’s masculinity. It is unequivocally clear, by saying “Asian” and “hooker” in the same phrase, that John is referencing the sex industry in East Asia. If you don’t see this, then good for you, you are oblivious and it must be nice to be so unaware. Unfortunately for you, a large number of people are aware and get the insult and know why it should sting Mr. Olyphant. John basically is saying, “Hey, you are so desperate for a girlfriend that you had to go to Thailand and buy one. Given this, you shouldn’t have a problem purchasing another.”

    Mr. Olyphant’s masculinity is busted! He had to settle for an Asian whore!

    Basically, the hero of the story, the guy with whom the audience is supposed to identify with and understand/commiserate with has indirectly told us that Asian women are second rate. The insult is premised on her being Asian – it would not be effective or mean enough, if he just called her a whore, the implied reference to the East Asian sex trade, adds that extra something to make Mr. Olyphant look like a sex tourist pervert. If she was black, white or latino the line about “you can just get another one” would have been remarkably less potent. The implication is there whether you see it or not: if Mr. Olyphant had not been such a rice-chasing pervert and dated a “superior” white or black woman, John’s ability to lash out would have been more tamed and Olyphant’s masculinity might have remained in tact.

    While it seems like a throw-away remark – it isn’t. This is NOT is an offhand statement, it is still a conscious decision written into the dialogue that didn’t need to be, the writers didn’t have to do choose those lines. They chose to make an issue of her race so they could make it sound all the more nasty and bad-ass and get that “Damn! he told that fool!” from the audience. Using this type of dialogue, in turn, has repercussions. Not everyone is an idiot and going to immediately run out and imitate Willis, but with a huge star like Willis using this type of language, others see that it is ok, they imitate and eventually it becomes commonplace – it is subtle, consistent jarring like this and a lack of acknowledging the implications of John’s words that will make it ok for people to insult you, Ben.

    And if you seriously think that her ten lines of dialogue and bad-ass kung-fu cat fighting in stilettos really rounded her out as a character and made null international superstar and action hero Bruce Willis’ jabs, then you are kidding yourself. You point it out yourself, she’s not that great an actress.

    This isn’t about PC or not PC – it’s about saying something dumb and racist when there are a million other, better punchy lines that are not offensive to be had. The writers/creators should be made aware of this and have it explained to them why it was wrong so that they can do better.

  17. movie watcher

    I saw this movie in Texas. When the line about jamming the car up Gabriel’s Asian girlfriend’s ass came up, it got the biggest response from the audience. This is pathetic and irresponsible scripting/directing, at it’s best, stirring up people’s latent racism/insecurities for the sake of a cheap laugh. Boycott Wiseman’s (director) movies!

  18. Gotta agree, Ben, you really haven’t clue about the reality for people of color, in particular, women of color. The racist stereotype of an Asian woman as a whore has been used for decades whether Suzy Wong, geishas, Vietnamese women in Vietnam war films, or the me-so-horny crap.

    Telling someone that he or she is being overly sensitive is bull. It’s really the fact that you’re unsensitive to other people’s feelings.

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  21. I sat through the whole thing and, generally, enjoyed it a lot, though I did cringe at the lines about the Asian bitch hooker. I find your read of “you shouldn’t have any trouble finding another one” interesting, as I remember the line taking place in his little shpiel about dialing 1-800-Henchmen, the idea being that he’s pretending like he thinks she’s totally dispensible like the other goons to make Gabriel feel worse, because he senses that Gabriel didn’t find her dispensible at all. Sort of, “Hey, well, it’s not like she really matters to you, right? Right?” while knowing that she does. Your read is interesting, and I definitely don’t think you’re being oversensitive (hate that word a LOT) and agree about the rest of the stuff you say being cringeworthy, but I’m not convinced on this one.

  22. SOLCALIBER

    Alright, a lot of people seem to think that the racist comments were striking ,which they were, but what about the brutal and vicious way he treated her in the fight. It seemed way too ugly and misogynistic for a major Hollywood movie. I’ve seen a lot of movies in my time but I have never seen such brutality of an woman by a man in a film before. That was the most disturbing part. The racist comments at the end was like putting salt into a open wound.

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  24. I’m a Japanese-American female and agree with ben. People seem to look for reasons to be insulted. I am not a docile walk 10 paces behind and speak up when I need to. There are alot of things in movies that are racist, sexist, violent etc. But – they are just movies. If one finds them offensive, the best response is not go and go see them. Money talks. There are so many things other things in life and reality to get upset about. I feel that movies are just that, not real life and not all true. Michael Moore’s so called documentaries have alot of fiction in them and should be called docu-dramas, but people don’t seem to get so upset and attend in droves. My statement is to not go see his movies. I go to movies either for learning or entertainment not to find the meanings in life.

    • except movies like this are a propaganda for people to copycat racial slurs and/or racist views. you may not watch this movie (and it’s not about people looking for reasons to be insulted, that seems arrogant), but it’s a mainstream movie and other people will encounter it, subjecting to its racist and sexist views, learning from it, copycatting racial slurs, ideas, and views from it, and reinforcing racism.

  25. Racism? Yeah, right. If he had been non-white, he probably would have said something about the “white bitch girlfriend”, and nobody would have said anything. Most of the non-whites in the theater probably would have laughed even. But when it’s someone else, it’s racism. Not everything that mentions race is racism. Another issue in the United States of the Offended.

    • you telling me “Asian hooker bitch” doesn’t sound wordy like he’s trying too hard, when “Asian hooker” or “Asian bitch” or “bitch” or “hooker” would get the message across just fine. Why didn’t he say “White hamster douchebag” instead of just “hamster”? Better yet, why didn’t he call him a “monkey” instead of a “hamster”? that would roll off the tongue naturally than calling a villain who was monkeying around a “hamster”.

      It’s more than just mentioning race. Look at Die Hard 3, the interaction between Samuel L Jackson and Bruce Willis. That was more equal than Bruce with Maggie Q in this Die Hard 4.

      Also, Bruce/McClane insulted Gabriel’s girlfriend and threatened Gabriel, but Gabriel doesn’t retaliate by shooting McClane’s daughter in the leg. But later on, was capable to shoot Justin Long’s character in the leg? that’s not favoring white characters?

  26. Uh, ocho2520, I don’t know where you’ve been but Michael Moore will tell you himself that he upsets a lot of people. He gets a ton of criticism every time he releases a new movie, and the people who go see his movies are not likely to be his critics.

    You also say “it’s just entertainment” but a lot of people are influenced by entertainment. For crying out loud, look at people like Ellen DeGeneres and Oprah. They would never have been accepted on TV 60 years ago! Whether or not you like it, things like movies and TV do have the power to change feelings and attitudes in society.

    And Ben & James, wake up. Look at movie sites like IMDB if you have to. There are plenty of white people complaining about the things they don’t like to see in movies. Besides how hypocritical are you to complain about people complaining?! You’re annoyed that people feel offended but then you get all offended enough to post! Hilarious!

  27. Aregular Human

    As a black American, I thought that what John McClain (Bruce Willis) said was racist. The first line about Asian women was bad enough. The second one had to go. I was really into the movie at first but when you here lousy crap like this then I feel that people should stand up and say something. I can understand being a black American woman. Every time people turn around there’s some stereotype . I think people have seen enough. Dab and Ocho2520 can say that people can not take things too seriously and people are making double standards. How can you decide or tell someone not to be offended if they are?
    If there are people in the Asian community and outside that are offended then they have the right to complain. People do have feelings. We all have eat, sleep, and live just live everyone else. Bruce Willis is no better than anyone else and should have not agreed to say these lines. He should have worked more closely with the script writers and studio heads. Why the hell did he choose to pick on a particular racial group? That’s stereotyping alone. I feel that certain people feel that certain prejudices and racism are the acceptable norm. This is beginning to seem like the good ‘ol American way. So to the studio executives he really must be the everyman’s man. It seems like stereotypes sell more tickets than non-stereotypical roles. I really wonder what Maggie Q thinks.

  28. I am a white American guy and just saw this film in a large theater in an East Asian country, and guess what? During all the aforementioned scenes, the entire audience, which was nearly all Asian and about half female, exploded with laughter. Lighten up, western civilization.

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  30. Brian,

    I wonder if the version of this movie you saw in that East Asian country was dubbed or subtitled? You’re assuming that they translated the dialogue accurately OR that the entire audience is fluent in English. I am writing from a major East Asian city (Beijing) and I can tell you that is not even close to being the case. Your argument in defense of those racist lines makes not a lick of sense to me.

  31. I saw Die Hard 4 a few weeks back. I’m in the UK of Indian parents and eventhough I enjoyed the movie I did find those lines offensive. When I heard the first one I just thought ‘oh well’ but it didn’t stop at that.
    Let’s say the hero here had been Asian or whatever and referred to some white lady as a white bitch and the rest, trust me, there would be a major stink about it.
    The film was otherwise great, why the need for all the racist crap?

  32. thirdflooruk

    not gonna wath it now, VERY suprised that hollywood is still like this after recent world events and attempts to bring peace. I thought they’d never write such racist dialogue after Lethal Weapon 4 with Jet Li, anyone see THAT?? Mel ‘I hate Jews’ Gibson mocking Jet Li’s Chinese accent and other racist comments towards Asians. It’s true, orientals are easy targets as they put with more shit than the rest, a lot of people would quite happily mimick an Asian accent but to mimick a black persons accent would be frowned upon (quit rightly).

  33. Ben, i really doubt that you are even asian, if you were you would understand the way some people feel about what was said. I mean there was no reason to bring in the race card in the movie, he could have just called her names that were not race specific but no they just had to make fun of her race. You know what the sad thing about this whole thing is? Maggie Q is only HALF-asian and a born american yet she is treated like some cheap import. It makes me sad when I see stuff like this and it makes me sadder when there are people who don’t recognise the hurt that it can cause.

  34. Meanwhile in Asia they think all Amercians are stupid, call us “roundeye” or in India “gora”, and when they come to the US they continue to keep white Americans out of tech jobs due 1) jealousy and 2) their centuries-old hangups over the Brits colonizing them.

    Got news for all you “minorities”: America changed on 9/11. Anyone who is not white or black is no longer welcome in USA. Get over it because that’s the way it is now. We tried to let you in and be nice and enjoy America but certain ethnic minorities couldn’t play nice and acted like children.

    So now it’s game over in America for you. Too bad. You had your chance.

    • Whack Job, your comments are whack and childish and you are acting like a child.

      Asians helped build this country, America, just like white and black people who first settled here. Also, in recent discoveries, UK scientists have proven that Chinese came to America along before Christopher Columbus too.

  35. Maggie Q didn’t mind taking the studio’s $ in exchange for being treated racist. But then again she was probably on a mission like most Asians in America: stay employed and ship as much cash back to the old country as possible, as fast as possible.

    Do the words “sellout” mean anything?

    • What do you know about Maggie Q’s intentions? You’re not her, nor her family member. What do you know?!

      “old country”? She’s an American.

  36. When I first saw the film, I was liking the premise, but the dialogue sounded like an afterschool special or propaganda, getting people to be “that guy” or a model citizen. Then when I heard Bruce mention “Kung Fu sh*t”, although it sounded dismissive, I let it go, giving it the benefit of the doubt that it fit in the context of the movie at the time. Then when the demeaning of Asian race came up the second time, I was disappointed with the movie, director, writers, studio execs, actors, actresses. It completely ruined the movie. Why did they have to bring “race” into it? Could have insulted in so many different ways to achieve the effect, but they chose to bring “race” into it. It instantly degraded the film into smut. Something that was made in the backwoods KKK store. It’s not good for business.

    Whether you are Asian or not is besides the point; one person does not represent or speak for an entire race of people.

    There are some subtleties you may have missed:
    At first, Bruce Willis remarked “enough of this Kung Fu sh*t”, which in the context of that movie fighting sequence is understandable. But then, by referring to fighting as “Kung Fu sh*t” then he’s suggesting all fighting styles are “Kung Fu sh*t” and since Kung Fu is from Asia or China to be exact, then Bruce is saying only Chinese knows how to fight or that all other races including white Europeans don’t know how to fight or don’t fight. That’s obviously false. So, you can see how that remark was racially tainted. There are many ways to describe someone who is kicking the living sh*t out of you in a movie fighting sequence without bringing “race” into it.

    Sometimes, it may be hard for someone, who is in a privileged environment (for not having to deal with or go through these subtle you’re-inferior-type oppression) by being part of the majority in America, to see or notice how they’re tainting everything racially, which essentially is saying minority Americans are outsiders to them or are therefore not Americans like them, by bringing race into it. On the other hand, what majorities do deal with or go through is hearing these criticisms or complaints from minorities, but there is a big difference between being oppressed and dealing complaints. Yeah, from a majority’s point of view, it feels like minorities are being overly sensitive; hence the negative feeling or resentment towards the term PC or Politically Correct. But that’s from lack of understanding of the situation and the degree of that frustration towards sensitivity (kind of like the First-World-Problems meme) is far less suffering than what minorities go through in oppression (in the context of whites vs non-whites in America or Europe or predominantly white society, even though out of the world, Asians have the largest population, mostly in China and India), be it mental oppression or otherwise, growing up in an environment where you’re taught or told that you’re not one of us, that you’re an outsider, that you’re inferior, that there’s something wrong with you, just because you’re “different”, etc… That sort of mental oppression, be it subtle or unnoticeable or not, can really do a number on a child while growing up and can really cause serious harm or permanent damage when they’re adults. Talk about brainwashing like in North Korea. Just like you wouldn’t tell a rape victim to tough it out, it’s insensitive to dismiss these racist charges as being overly sensitive. It’s not just about sensitivity issue. It’s about appropriateness, about being a decent human being, compassionate towards others’ oppression. I know it may be hard to see it that way from a majority’s point of view, since majorities don’t experience or go through that particular oppression by default, being part of the majority, but as a society, only way to grow or move forward or progress is to understand from other people’s or other side’s point of view.

    Back to the movie, so, at first, the “Kung Fu” remark may have been in the context of the movie, even though the wording was poorly used since not all fighting are Kung Fu and simply kicking and punching which Bruce did a lot of that himself too is too generic to be called Kung Fu, but then in a later scene, Bruce said “can I get another dead Asian hooker bitch over here right away, but seriously, all that kicking aside, skinny little ninja chick was smoking hot, one of those must be real hard to come by, right”, which solidified the suspicion that Bruce was coming from a racist and sexist point of view. In the context of the movie, Bruce Willis/John McClane was saying: is that all you got, taunting Timothy Olyphant/Thomas Gabriel, you can send all these henchmen at me but I’ll still defeat them and you. What made Bruce’s remark racist was by bringing race into it: “Asian” hooker bitch, instead of “feisty bitch” or any other terms to describe a fighter or an opponent that’s difficult to handle. In the remark, “skinny little ninja chick was smoking hot, one of those must be real hard to come by”, that’s viewing and treating women as sex objects and as commodities, and again, the “ninja” part makes it racially charged. He didn’t have to bring race into it to make his point. So, instead of complaining about why minorities keep complaining and bringing up race or pulling the race card, tell the original speakers who started it to stop bringing race into their conversations. Saying “that Asian chick” is bringing race into it. Bruce would/should know better from Die Hard 3, but apparently Die Hard 4 is okay to be racist.

    Notice also the negative description used to describe Maggie Q compared to positive or neutral description used to describe white actors/actresses. Yes, Maggie Q was playing a villain, so negative and nasty words should be used against her character, but when describing another villain, that white henchman who was quick and jumping around like he was on the monkey bars in a jungle jim’s playground, Bruce called him a “hamster”, instead of a “monkey” which was more of an obvious choice of word to describe that guy’s action. “Hamster” doesn’t have a negative connotation to it like “monkey” does, but he’s a villain. So, why not trash this villain too like Bruce did with Maggie? Is this favoring white people?

    In Die Hard 3, Bruce complained to Samuel Jackson that Samuel Jackson kept on bringing race into it, but in this Die Hard 4, Bruce is the one who brings race into his insults. So, in Die Hard 3, Bruce was submitting to Samuel Jackson and the Harlem community. But in contrast in Die Hard 4, Bruce looked down on Maggie Q as subordinate.

    Maybe to white people, you gotta fight for respect and stand your ground, instead of having a common unspoken understanding/acknowledgement that people should get along as equals and live in harmony since we’re all human beings. If that’s the case, Asian Americans, rise up like the black community and be vocal, instead of expecting white people to know what is right and what is wrong. Let it be known that we’re not gonna stand idly by anymore.

  37. IronyOfLiveFreeOrDieHard

    Ben, German is not a race. Asian is a race. Because Maggie Q’s character spoke fluent English without a foreign accent, there’s no reason or no basis for Bruce Willis’ character to even mention “Asian” or “Asian women as hookers or mail-order brides stereotype” when referring to her. For all he knows, she’s an American. That’s what made Bruce’s comments racist.

    I think some people still can’t distinguish between Asians in Asia and Asian Americans. You don’t see or hear people refer to Americans of European descent as Europeans or European Americans.

    I don’t think this was subtle racism. I think people just don’t want to acknowledge what they see. When you compare apples to apples, it’s clear what Bruce said was racist.

  38. Slanty Scandinavian

    If you watch Die Hard 1 and Die Hard 2, there’s no mention of race or alluding to race in a derogatory manner. They focused on the story and each character as an individual person, not as a race. There were minority actors and villains in both Die Hard 1 and Die Hard 2.

    It seems as though Hollywood movies started to focus on race and mention race mostly in this recent decade from late 1990s/2000s-2012. Maybe it’s because of 9/11 which made some whites, the cling to guns and religion type bigots, turn on non-whites, and Hollywood is capitalizing on that demographic, like what the other person has said about Texas movie goers cheering after that racially hateful insult. Or maybe these folks feel threatened by change now that China has become the new superpower and US has been in decline ever since Bush took office and started the disastrous debt after 9/11 with two wars, economic collapse, bailing out of financial banks, stripping away of human rights and civil liberties one by one under the excuse of 9/11, and folks needed someone to blame so they blamed anyone unlike them or non-whites.

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