Tension between Right and Wrong
A mentor’s tension between right and wrong, is very much like
how The Hollywood Model describes a teacher’s tension with
administration. The Hollywood Model attributes this tension to the fact
that the “good teacher” “must choose students over schools and other
societal institutions” (Dalton 35). I believe at its root, a mentor’s tension
between right and wrong can be attributed to something similar. As
opposed to choosing their student over schools and societal
institutions, they are choosing their protégé over ethics and societal
In Lethal Weapon this characteristic shows itself as Murtaugh
wrestles with proper police principles. A man of the book by nature,
Murtaugh is accustomed to following every legal procedure to the tee
and causing as little death and destruction as possible. As the movie
progresses and the gravity and danger of each situation they find
themselves in increases, Murtaugh wrestles with this moral principle.
While the movie begins with Murtaugh shooting a suspect in the leg
and explaining how keeping him alive was the primary goal, it concludes
with Murtaugh telling Riggs, “You do this my way…You shoot to kill.”
In this instance, Murtaugh has evaluated the severity of the situation
that Riggs will shortly be in, and has decided that in order to shoot him
safe, he must “shoot to kill.”
The tension between right and wrong in Men in Black is a central
theme that is constantly put under the microscope. As Agent Kay uses
the amnesia inducing neuralyzer on countless civilians to keep them
unaware of the alien presence on their planet. Agent Jay constantly
questions his frequent use of the neuralyzer in regards to the ethics of
not allowing people to know vital information about the world they live
in, and the affects that constantly being subjected to the neuralyzer
could induce. Each time this happens, Kay explains its use as a vital way
to keep the world happy, and to protect people from the evils that they
do not need to know exist. Time and time again, Kay explains to Jay
that for their own protection, the general public cannot know what it is
that they do, thus making use of the neuralyzer vital.
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