Maybe black Americans and foreigners are cast as stereotypical characters in Hollywood as a result of equal opportunity employment. Or, in the case of Derailed, maybe they're filling in for prevalent racist and xenophobic notions that already torture the guilt-ridden white American psyche.
Clive Owen plays a white everyman who, after a lapse in marital fidelity that finds him entangled with lower-class criminal forces, must reclaim his peace of mind by exterminating a three-pronged threat of criminal otherness: the Homicidal Foreigner, the Black Criminal, and the Two-Faced Woman. Translation: Owen, who works in an ad agency where the RZA plays the mail boy, attempts an affair with Jennifer Aniston. But they get interrupted—and by an armed Frenchman, no less, who breaks into their hotel room, robs them, and rapes Aniston (the Frenchman turns out to be her boyfriend, of course, because real rape doesn't exist in Hollywood). We later discover that Aniston has lured Owen into an elaborate con, through which the Frenchman and his black sidekick (Xzibit) rob him blind. (C'mon, guys! Owen was saving that money! For diabetes medicine! For his daughter!) Owen is thus allowed to exact justice.
But while Owen's character always has sufficient motivation (Diabetes medicine! Daughter!), the criminals have no reason to torment Owen—other than their gender, nationality, race, or class. And according to Derailed, we're to assume that no further justification is necessary. Just once, I'd like to see this movie: RZA stars—not as a mail boy, but as the advertising exec with a diabetic daughter (played by Xzibit) and a wife. Owen plays a reformed criminal sorting mail in an office. Aniston plays an evil conwoman who bursts into a hotel room—where her French boyfriend has swindled RZA into an affair—holds them at gunpoint, and pretends to rape her Frenchman. Then maybe RZA kills them all to regain his peace of mind.
Never mind. That'd be too weird.