Red Dragon (2002)
I’ve been having the most difficult time putting my thoughts down on paper, so to speak, for this movie. I watched it again over a month ago and usually try to write my reviews within the next day or two. This particular one has just been weighing on me. What are my thoughts? Do I even have any thoughts?
The answer is: not really. “Red Dragon”, directed by Brett Ratner of shrimp cocktail fame, is neither great nor horrible. It just is. It’s much easier when I hate or love a movie to discuss the good and bad things about it. When I’m indifferent, that’s where the problem lies.
If you want a summary of the movie you can go back and read my review of “Manhunter” which is what this movie is essentially a remake of. What I will tell you is that it is based on the book of the same name by Thomas Harris. Here’s the thing: I feel like this story has been told much better throughout the third season of the TV show “Hannibal.” I don’t even want to admit that I think Mads Mikkelsen is a superior Hannibal Lecter. In fact, I won’t admit it.
That being said, Brett Ratner is a competent director that made a decent movie based on an original story by Thomas Harris. Am I repeating myself? Perhaps, but what can I say? Let me think about it. Ah yes, the actors. I found Edward Norton to be a bland Will Graham. I preferred William Peterson’s version in “Manhunter” and very much grew to love Hugh Dancy’s portrayal in “Hannibal”. If you want to see Norton shine I suggest you watch “Fight Club.”
I think that Ralph Fiennes’ Francis Dolarhyde rivaled that of Richard Armitage’s from the TV series. He was played with a convincing duality of strength and vulnerability. I am not saying that I disliked Tom Noonan’s “Dollarhyde” from “Manhunter” because I did appreciate his version. Each performance, though of the same character, was nuanced by the individual actor and by the persuasion of each director.
As for Dr. Lecter himself, old Anthony Hopkins was laying it on super, duper thick. He was almost a caricature of his former self from “The Silence of the Lambs.” They added in scenes just so there would be more Lecter in the movie, due to his infamous performance. I felt that his minimal presence in “Manhunter” was appropriate and that Brian Cox’s toned-down, yet still creepy, version was a good fit for the film.
I know it’s starting to sound like I didn’t enjoy the movie, and that’s just not true. “Red Dragon” is not a bad movie. It looks good, I wasn’t bored and it had its moments. I think my patience for watching the same thing, not once but three times, has worn a bit thin. That is causing me to become blasé and has turned this review into more of an opinion piece.
Overall rating: 6/10