Asian American males have played some positive roles in some movies and television programs. For example, TV program Martial Law features two Asian American police officers helping Los Angeles Police Department to get rid of its criminals. There are some movies portray Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan as the heroes who save the day when they single handedly defeat villains. However, Asian American male characters in popular American movies continue to portray negative stereotypes.
Almost all the time, Asian American males have always played the role of the evil and greedy gangster in popular adventure movies such as Lethal Weapon 4, Rush Hour and The Year of the Dragon. The myth that Asian American communities such as Chinatown breeding with illegal activities like drug dealing, prostitution and gangster movements all get their emphasis in movies such as the ones mentioned.
For instance, in Lethal Weapon 4, Jet Li plays an Asian American villain character who is in charge of smuggling illegal labor force from China, drug dealings and assigned killings, among other things. When his Chinatown-based operation is discovered by two Los Angeles police officers, played by a Caucasian and a Black actor, the chase is on to capture the villain. The end results favored the good guys, of course. Often have other movie producers used this stereotypical movie plot to increase the suspense and sensationalism of the movie. Asian American men are seen as violent, inhuman, property destroyers, and kill mercilessly. This Asian-male-gangster image glorifies male aggression beyond the point of rational.
Another interesting observation is Asian American men in the movies I saw depicted the Asian man as being less intelligent than their white counterparts in the movie. Using the example of Lethal Weapon 4 again, the Asian villains were constantly making the wrong moves in combating their enemies. Asian sidekicks were making tactical decisions that cost them their lives, making the heroes look superior and the killings of the Asian American men justified.
In another popular adventure movie, Rambo (1987), the leading actor and hero, a white male (Sylvester Stallone), single handedly defeated a village full of Vietnamese soldiers in his quest to destroy communism. Such a feat could not be possible in reality. These popular movies do not reflect the true individuality of the typical Asian American living in America.