Red Dragon (2002)
Main cast: Anthony Hopkins (Hannibal Lecter), Edward Norton (Will Graham), Ralph Fiennes (Francis Dolarhyde), Harvey Keitel (Jack Crawford), Emily Watson (Reba McClane), Mary-Louise Parker (Molly Graham), and Philip Seymour Hoffman (Freddy Lounds)
Director: Brett Ratner


This movie should be called "We're Whoring Ourselves For Money", except for Ralph Fiennes, to whom this movie is "I'm Whoring Myself Because Damn It, I Want A Big Hit!" Oh, and Philip Seymour Hoffman shows off his underwear-clad body. Hoffman, I hope you get a decent fitness trainer with your paycheck.

Devoid of any suspense or thrill quotient, this movie strips whatever eerie atmosphere present in the original 1986 version Manhunter or even Thomas Harris' overrated book, reducing the whole movie in a really banal movie about serial killer movie stereotypes. Our hero Will Graham captures Hannibal Lecter and is now retired, living happily with his wife and son until he is called forth for one last assignment. A serial killer is killing people in some trademarked gruesome manner, and Will has to ask Hannibal Lecter to help. The usual.

Only this time, Edward Norton seems to be two-thirds petrified in rigor mortis and the other one-third wooden, as he slurs his lines and gaze vacantly at the camera as if he is reading right out of a teleprompter. "Uh... yes, I need a big house, so Hannibal Lecter, tell me, what color is Francis' thong?"

As for Anthony Hopkins, I doubt even the most die-hard Lecterite can forgive him for his over-the-top campy, smarmy drugged-up, over the hill Estella reject from a drag queen cabaret. While I dislike the whole Lecterism hype to the point that I really enjoy seeing Hannibal Lecter coming off as a one-note unintentional joke here, I am also offended that Hopkins has to make it so obvious that he's whoring his smirky face for money and he's not making me having a good time while he's at it. Die, smug pig!

Ralph Fiennes' full frontal nudity is pixellated so that you only see an unnaturally dark "shadow" over that part. Lots of bum scenes though - that man has worked out, oh yeah - and that tattoo is so sexy if you ask sociopathic ol' me. Watching him, even if he's acting like a overmelodramatic crazy kook, is pure guilty pleasure. After all, he's a naked, gorgeous, sexy overmelodramatic crazy kook.

The only decent acting comes from Emily Watson - Phillip Seymour Hoffman by now is acting his trademark vile scum roles that he really should be careful or people may start beating him up on the streets - whose role as Fiennes' psycho's love interest is the only source of restrain and heartwrenching vulnerability. Not that Watson's Reba is weak, but Watson's face conveys her distress or horror so subtly yet so effectively, she puts the entire hammy movie to shame.

I haven't even started on the overblown music yet - those loud ka-chang ka-chang or cringe-cringe-cringe soundtracks that threaten to split my eardrums, as if I don't know that a scene is supposed to be Scary and Eerie unless they blow apart my eardrums first. Or the unforgivable crime of pixellation of Fiennes' greatest glory - come on, I've seen it in Sunshine, and it's not that scary.

Strictly for die-hard Lecterites or people who just want to see Ralph Fiennes get naked a lot. Not that naked Ralph is necessarily a bad thing. Otherwise, Red Dragon is hammy and silly, a typical serial killer movie that is made "special" only because it has the asshat clown Hannibal Lecter chewing scenery in it.

Rating: 74


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