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Red Dragon

A movie directed by Brett Ratner

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Deserving resurrection of "Manhunter"

  • Oct 24, 2007
  • by
I've seen "Red Dragon" years ago but couldn't recollect it from my thoughts. Last night it reappear to me that it's a great film. This of course is a remake of "Manhunter (Full Screen Edition)," the first in the series of films centering on FBI profilers, serial killers, and the infamous Hannibal Lecter, who I suppose is the modern day equivalent of "Jack the Ripper." I haven't read the novel by Thomas Harris so I can't say which is the more authentic, but they're both very good films.

As in the original, "Red Dragon" centers around the character of Will Graham, a retired FBI profiler who is brought back to help find a serial killer (Ralph Fiennes), known as "The Tooth Fairy," preying on women with families. He kills once a month in sync with the lunar cycle, so Graham has time to investigate the two crime scenes and look for evidence that would indicate who the next target is. The beginning of the scene will capture your interest right away, because it sets up the relationship of Hopkins and Norton; it also gives Hopkins, without whom this film wouldn't exist, more screen-time.

Also as in the original, Hannibal Lecter is a supporting figure, not the main attraction, though Anthony Hopkins certainly chews up the scenery in a performance he's gotten quite good at. The relationship between Lecter and Graham never intrigued me as much and I'm not convinced that Norton was the best choice for the part of Graham. Somehow, Norton came across to me as too innocent and youthful for the kind of role he was playing. Towards the end he turns out to be a good performance. The movie doesn't play up his character as much as "Manhunter" did for William L. Petersen, but that's just a style difference in the directors. Weaknesses, though, were compensated for by a marvelous performance from Ralph Fiennes as the killer as Dolarhyde, and he's downright creepy. Michael Mann cast one of his favorites, Tom Noonan, as Dolarhyde in the original, and he played the part brilliantly. Though here, the killer is developed more and you see why he became such a twisted figure. Think Norman Bates on steroids. And that tattoo is down right gorgeous. Emily Watson did a good job as Reba and there's really not much I can say about her.

When Michael Mann made "Manhunter" in 1986, he was at the peak of his success with "Miami Vice" and the movie reflected that genre, with hip characters and rock & roll music on the soundtrack. Who could forget the ending when Will Graham crashes through the window while "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" is blasting away. Here, Brett Ratner (the "Rush Hour" films) directs "Red Dragon" as a more traditional suspense film without the flashiness of Mann's creation. Different creations of the same story, but both very good in their own way.

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More Red Dragon (2002 movie) reviews
review by . February 25, 2008
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: The film quality is better than the original      Cons: Characters and actors playing them were dull, dull, dull      The Bottom Line: HO HUM. Maybe someone will remake Silence of the Lambs so they can keep making each of the Hannibal movies worse and worse.      Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie''s plot.      What do you do with remakes? If they are scores of years apart, …
review by . April 04, 2005
posted in Movie Hype
I really wanted to like this movie. In my opinion Brett Ratner and Ted Tally did a second rate job of bringing the story from print to screen. Everything in this movie is muffin top, with no actual muffin. The duo did a wonderful job of including practically every scene from book to film, but along the way lost everything that made these scenes make sense. Nothing is explained, no motivations are explored, and characters are so thin that they are barely recognizable beyond the basic Killer, FBI …
review by . October 12, 2004
posted in Movie Hype
I have to be completely honest. As interesting a character Hannibal Lector is, I really haven't enjoyed the Hannibal Lector movies that much. This goes against the popular vein, but other than the acting and some interesting cinematographic effects, I wasn't impressed by SILENCE OF THE LAMBS; MANHUNTER (the original film based off of the novel Red Dragon) was a colorful piece of cinematic art quite creative in its use of lighting, sound, and color; and though I enjoyed HANNIBAL the most of Lector …
review by . August 07, 2003
posted in Movie Hype
Previously produced in 1986 as MANHUNTER (by "Miami Vice" producer Michael Mann), RED DRAGON is the adaption of Thomas Harris' best-selling novel and the latest installment in the Hannibal Lecter series.Chronologically the first in the Hannibal series, Edward Norton plays retired FBI agent Will Graham, who is taken out of retirement by FBI Special Agent Jack Crawford (Keitel, taking over from Scott Glenn), because Graham has the psychic ability to see inside the mind of serial killers. Now he's …
review by . April 09, 2003
posted in Movie Hype
For the past several years we have been treated to the bizarre tales of Hannibal Lector. THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS (Part 2 of the Trilogy by Thomas Harris) surprised the public with a formidable tale well acted by Anthony Hopkins and Jody Foster. That film was excellent. The second installment HANNIBAL (Part 3 of the Trilogy) was a sequel to SILENCE and while it veered a bit to the excesses of Hollywood it was still a good film with Julianne Moore stepping in very well for the Jody Foster role of …
review by . October 01, 2002
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: Great cast, good story, well acted and written.     Cons: Gets a bit slow in some parts.      The Bottom Line: A well-acted and written thriller that will delight fans of Lecter old and new.     It has often been said that things in life have a way of coming full circle; I cite the change of seasons, the cycle of life, and relationships as an example. There is a starting point, and end, and a new beginning. Such is the case of the …
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Jen-Jay AKA:JJI ()
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About this movie


In this prequel to "The Silence of the Lambs," the story of former FBI agent Will Graham, who was nearly killed by Hannibal Lecter, is told, and it includes the initial capture of "The Cannibal."

A lot could've gone wrong inRed Dragon, but the movie exceeds expectations. Replacing the acclaimedManhunteras an "official" entry in the Hannibal Lecter trilogy, this topnotch thriller--the second adaptation of Thomas Harris's first Lecter novel--returns to the fertile soil ofThe Silence of the Lambs, serving as both prequel and heir to the legacy of Lecter as portrayed, with mischievous menace, by the great Anthony Hopkins. Familiar faces and locations reappear (along withLambsscreenwriter Ted Tally) as Lecter coaches FBI profiler Will Graham (Edward Norton) in tracking the horrific "Tooth Fairy" killer (Ralph Fiennes), whose transformative killing spree is inspired by a William Blake painting. By dutifully serving Harris's potent material, Tally and director Brett Ratner craft a suspenseful film worthy of its predecessors, bringing Hopkins full circle as one of the cinema's all-time greatest villains. With overtones ofPsychoand a superb supporting cast,Red Dragonsucceeds against considerable odds.--Jeff Shannon
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Director: Brett Ratner
Genre: Action, Adventure
Release Date: October 4, 2002
MPAA Rating: R
Screen Writer: Thomas Harris, Ted Tally
DVD Release Date: April 1, 2003
Runtime: 2hrs 4min
Studio: Universal Studios
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