Red Corner

In spite of all the publicity, Red Corner is rather a roundabout
apology for than a criticism of the Red Chinese regime. Richard Gere may be
personally hostile to the Chinese gerontocracy, but the movie he wishes to
showcase his opposition takes its politics in a depressingly familiar direction
which leaves Jiang Zemin and his cronies untouched. For the real bad guys here
are not so much the party hacks and bureaucrats and generals but that old
Hollywood favorite, the entrepreneurial capitalist, a man who is prepared to use
the corrupt Chinese system to enrich himself, even if it involves murdering and
bearing false witness. Moreover, the system itself, in spite of some limitations
from the point of view of Western justice, is capable of being opened up by
appeals to the consciences of ruthless generals and judges who have executed
thousands but who suddenly decide that it is time for the killing to stop when
it threatens an American lawyer, come to China to sell, by his own admission,
“pornographic, violent and
superstitious” TV programs.

Yeah, right.

Gere plays the lawyer, Jack Moore. He tries to sell the Chinese authorities
on his company’s satellite system by
the ludicrous claim that, although the programming it will bring in is trash,
watching the trash will actually
“discourage the pursuit of Western
values.” This may be meant to seem a
clever sales ploy (what suckers, those Chinese!), but Jack gets a moral
education when his best Chinese friend, a member of the governing élite
who is secretly taking kickbacks from his German competitor, has him framed for
the murder of a bar girl—who also happens to be the daughter of a high
ranking general. Jack then gets to appeal theatrically for justice, in spite of
torture, lies and skullduggery, to a Chinese court which never quite manages to
live up to its
billing and to fall in love with his court-appointed attorney, the delectable
Bai Ling.

That will make those Chinese butchers think twice!

Not only does the anti-business bias of Hollywood politics prevail over the
unfamiliar anti-communist surtext, but Bai Ling even adds a feminist dimension
when she claims (and who could doubt her?) that she
hasn’t got a boyfriend because
“I have been unable to find a man who
is not threatened by a woman’s
intelligence.” She also dumbfounds the
poor American by telling him that, because
“we hold the interest of the state
above that of the individual,” the
Chinese crime rate is one tenth the American. And the Chinese infant mortality
rate is lower too. The first of these statistics is meaningless, merely showing
what is possible if you are willing to execute or torture even petty criminals,
and the second is untrue, but poor hang-dog Jack has no answer for her.
“How many people are killed each weak
in your
country?” she taunts him.

He can only stammer, “Too

See there? Hollywood has always known that the Commies were onto

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