‘Four Lions’ Reminds Us to Laugh at Extremists
The dark comedy is 'This Is Spinal Tap' meets Islamic terrorists
The terrorists gather in a small house in Sheffield to discuss their plot. Fasail pitches his first. “My plan is, right, to put a bomb on a crow and fly it into one of them towers full of Jews and slags.”
Barry, a startlingly white and fanatical recent convert, has a better plan. He wants to blow up the local mosque. “We go in dressed like kuffar,” he explains. “They think it’s the unbelievers attacking so all the Muslims rise up and fight back. Stoke things up proper big time, fast-track the final days. Total war.”
Fasail hates the plan. His dad goes to that mosque. “Has your dad ever bought a Jaffa orange?” Barry asks. Fasail admits he has one or twice.
“Right, he’s buying nukes for Israel bro. He’s a Jew,” Barry explains.
This ignorant jihadi back and forth comes from the 2010 British comedy Four Lions — a powerful movie that proves we should stop fearing radical Islam and start making fun of it.
News about the Islamic State is a never ending horrorshow. Men in black garb decapitate captives. Gaunt prisoners shuffle into cages to be lit on fire. Slickly produced magazines and videos depict hordes of saber wielding madmen tear-assing across the desert delivering death to the unbeliever.
The message is clear — fear us and die. The Western media, and some politicians, buy into this game. Black-hearted goons such as Donald Trump push terror on the public like a pusher selling junk to the hopeless and hapless. The Islamic State wants to scare the world and a lot of us are buying it.
It’s bullshit. The soldiers of ISIS are losers, lost boys who found a death cult to give purpose to their empty lives. The proper response is to point and laugh at their silly ninja costumes and disgusting threats. They are dangerous and the world must eliminate them … but it should laugh while it’s doing it.
That’s what Four Lions is about — exposing the hypocrisy of radical Islam and mocking it mercilessly.
Four Lions centers around four idiot Muslim Brits who want to blow themselves up in the name of jihad. Omar is the leader, a jaded Pakistani with a solid and loving home. Barry is the crazed fanatic, intent on proving himself to the group and the world. Poor Fasail and Waj aren’t smart and just want to do the right thing … which is whatever Omar and Barry say it is. Along the way they pick up Hassan, a young kid who thinks the whole jihad thing might be cool.
It plays a lot like This Is Spinal Tap. The ‘bros argue jihad, slap each other around and fumble every plan.
Early in the film, Omar and Waj get a chance to travel to Pakistan and enter a real Al Qaeda training camp. After a few days of screw ups, the other extremists realize the pair will never make good soldiers. When a powerful Al Qaeda leader comes to the camp for a meeting, the other soldiers leave Omar and Waj behind. They know they’ll only embarrass them in front of their leader.
When the pair hear the buzzing approach of a drone, Omar decides to blast it out of the sky to prove himself to his Al Qaeda brothers. But Omar doesn’t know how to handle the missile launcher, and he fires it backwards … right into the meeting of his fellow soldiers and their leader.
“Was this God’s will, bro?” asks a panicking Waj. “Tell me this was God’s will, bro.”
Four Lions is a wonderful film, and its impact and importance has grown since its initial release in 2010. It exposes the madness at the heart of the extremist philosophy. And it would be easy to point to Barry — the grandstanding fanatic — as the prime example of that ridiculous, death-loving madness.
But we all know a guy like Barry — a loser who blames the world for the problems he brings on himself. Omar is a far more interesting character, one that exposes the banality at the heart of terrorist ideology.
He’s a normal, middle class British guy. He has a wife and son who love him and support his dreams. He toils daily as a security guard and hates every minute of it. He rails against the capitalist machine, but really he’s upset with his station in life.
He’s also a hypocrite who picks and chooses the parts of the Koran he wants to follow. Omar’s brother is an ultra-conservative pacifist who serves as a foil for Omar’s nihilism in a few key scenes.
Midway through the film, the brother drops in on Omar and complains that the jihadi’s wife is in the same room as the men. Omar mocks his brother’s strict adherence to Islam and squirts him with a water pistol.
Omar isn’t interested in being a good person or making the world around him better. It doesn’t matter what he does in life as long as he dies fighting the infidels with a smile on his face. To Omar and his ilk, a good death is far better than a good life.
We must expose and deride such ridiculous ideologies. Laughter will go along way toward dispelling the myth of the Islamic State while soldiers and bombs remove them from the battlefield.