It's great popcorn entertainment, but bad politics. It's also part of a broader pattern of recent anti-American claptrap. 2007 brought us "Shooter," directed by 9/11 conspiracy theorist Antoine Fuqua, an inane Mark Wahlberg vehicle in which a Dick Cheney caricature (Ned Beatty) -- the character is a tubby, balding six-term senator from Montana who fancies hunting, remarks casually that democracy is problematic, and laughs maniacally that the war in Iraq is about oil -- organizes the slaughter of an African village and the assassination of an Ethiopian archbishop in order to secure the building of an oil pipeline. The film's dialogue is atrocious -- one of the villains, played by Danny Glover, growls at one point that he can't be found guilty for his actions because "this is the land of the free and the home of the brave."
"Shooter" received plaudits for its politics from the movie reviewers. Richard Corliss of Time magazine lamented that there wasn't a real hero to face down the "monstrously real problems" and "plausible" conspiracy theories addressed by "Shooter." Manohla Dargis of The New York Times saw the film, remarkably enough, as a combination of "live-free-or-die vibe [and] deep-fried gun-and-flag fetishism."
"Shooter" and "Bourne" are just the beginning. Later this year, Hollywood will release "Lions for Lambs" (Tom Cruise, Robert Redford and Meryl Streep), in all likelihood an anti-war on terror screed; "Grace is Gone" (John Cusack), an anti-war flick about the husband of an American soldier killed in the war on terror; "Rendition" (Reese Witherspoon, Jake Gyllenhaal), another "the CIA is so evil, they're torturing my husband" piece; and "The Torturer," sloganned "In a post-9/11 world, no one can hear you scream."
America should scrutinize her own policies. There is a difference, however, between self-scrutiny and self-flagellation designed to cripple the will to action. Hollywood recognizes no such distinction.
For Hollywood, self-criticism is heroism. Hamlet is a hero while he vacillates, a villain once he acts. The only heroes worth their salt, according to Hollywood, are those who resist the government's war on terror; those who fight terror simply aren't self-reflective enough.
There's only one problem: When it comes to destroying America, the self-reflective anti-heroes of Hollywood and Islamic terrorists join hands. Terrorists will take allies wherever they can find them. And Hollywood is certainly a convenient ally.
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