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Overall Rating
3.48

Awesome: 24.19%
Worth A Look39.52%
Average: 14.52%
Pretty Bad: 4.03%
Total Crap: 17.74%

8 reviews, 76 user ratings


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Red Dragon
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by Chris Parry

"Believe the hype. This is a damn good flick."
4 stars

Fans of Silence of the Lambs who felt let down by the crummy sequel, Hannibal, are in for a treat. Red Dragon, while still not on a par with the inspired original, is as good a prequel as anyone could hope for. Impeccably cast and well directed, this moody thriller will shock, disgust, but ultimately intrigue all but the most cynical viewer. Sir Anthony Hopkins is, as always, tremendous as Hannibal Lecter, but thankfully ample room is also given to the co-stars - Ed Norton, Ralph Fiennes, Harvey Keitel and Emily Watson - so that they can take their story and make it convincing without the entire film being hijacked by Hopkins' screen presence. Indeed, you could almost say this is a story unto itself, with a single character that audiences have come to adore being used to give it added spice.

A serial killer is killing entire familes around the USA and though a famed former FBI serial killer chaser is long retired, without any solid clues to go on the feds opt to call up the man who put away Hannibal the Cannibal and beg him for one last case.

Ed Norton, as said FBI man, is completely as good as you'd expect him to be. Of course, he'll never burn through a film again like he did in American History X, but if there's one thing Norton can always be counted on, it's to turn up and be convincing in a role.

Leaving his family behind, Norton takes on the famed mind of Hannibal Lecter in a series of jailside interviews (a la Silence of the Lambs) that at once give him clues, but also suck him and his family deeper into the crime itself.

While Red Dragon does have its flaws - Lecter all but disappears after act one, but for a cursory closing scene to tie the sequels together - they can largely be forgiven due to the fact that this is indeed a movie worth the ticket price. Director Brett Ratner, yes the same guy who helmed the Rush Hour films and the awful Double Take, pulls off a tough gig by allowing the actors to act, giving each ample room to do their thing without being battered by musical scores or music-video jump cuts or fake scares. If anything, Red Dragon sometimes drags into predictable ground, but if that's the fault of anyone, you'd have to blame the original source material, not what was done with it.

The cynics will claim this one isn't terrifying enough, but those people are missing the point. This isn't a horror movie, it's a thriller. It's a psychological dickfight between cop, killer and the man stuck between both. If you look at this film like it should be Silence of the Lambs 2, you'll be disappointed because that's not what it's going for. What it goes for is a little thought, a little intrigue, a little terror and a bit of a mind-fuck.

In fact, Ratner does such a fine job with his cast that you might even be surprised to find yourself rooting for the bad guy (Ralph Fiennes) from time to time, especially when he seems to fall for a blind co-worker (Emily Watson). Their brief romance is played out so well by Ratner that I'd almost forgive him for the rampant racism and hokey humor of the Rush Hour films.

Fiennes makes an incredible villain, far more interesting than any of the 'good guys' of his past. In fact, it wouldn't surprise if both Fiennes and Norton found themselves in Oscar contention at year's end, though you can bet that politics will see Hopkins bump one or both out of the spotlight.

Yes, it could have been better, but that doesn't mean it's not very damn good. In a sea of awful films this year it stands out like few have as well worth a few hours of your life.

link directly to this review at https://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=6176&reviewer=1
originally posted: 10/05/02 05:29:09
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User Comments

3/25/18 morris campbell not bad but the book is the best version of this story 3 stars
6/27/14 Monday Morning Biting someone's lips off - definitely will hurt the guy on the dating scene. 4 stars
2/09/14 Captain pooper-scooper. Aww yeaa. U get wit dis, u get wit dat, u get wit dis. Shoots dang! Ting! Is good film! 5 stars
2/08/13 Jeff Wilder Entertaining but pointless. Wathc Manhunter instead. 2 stars
2/10/10 Alex Thorne better than it has every right to be. Fiennes is the highlight here 4 stars
4/24/09 GordonD Dull, lifeless cash-in, made solely to have a trilogy with Hopkins. 2 stars
5/25/08 PAUL SHORTT THE FILM HAS VERY LITTLE MOMENTUM, NOTHING FRESHLY IMAGINED 1 stars
3/03/08 ladavies I preferred Manhunter. 3 stars
10/15/07 Sandy Sussman Bestest movie I ever Seen 1 stars
8/02/07 Indrid Cold At least Hannibal was fresh and entertaining. This is competent but just a retread of SOTL. 3 stars
6/20/07 Muted Orbz Michael Mannhunter was Lifetime network dull. This was a 360. 5 stars
1/10/07 harry fucking shit 5 stars
12/31/06 del What was wrong with MANHUNTER? Everything - sadly, this IS superior. Deal with it. 4 stars
12/16/06 David Pollastrini good gore. 4 stars
9/22/06 Alyssa Hale Excellent movie! The actors were great! 5 stars
6/22/06 TB Little okay suspense movie 3 stars
4/04/06 Billy Joe Williams Awesome movie. Had to watch it a couple of times but it was great every time. 5 stars
12/26/05 chris truly a masterpeice.... 5 stars
9/25/05 Hotdog Lazy..Desperate..Cash Grubbing...Cynical...Amateurish...Criminal Rehash of a Classic 1 stars
8/18/05 ES Better than silence and hannibal 4 stars
4/26/05 E-FUNK Brett Ratner takes 'Manhunter' and turns it into 'Man-chowder'. Unnecessary and insulting. 1 stars
3/25/05 dwarzel what was wrong with Manhunter? 1 stars
3/07/05 R.W. Welch About as good as Manhunter though it gets pretty hokey towards the end. 4 stars
11/24/04 Steve Newman The Dragon tattoo is fantastic. Great film, well acted, very enjoyable, go watch. 4 stars
11/15/04 zsuzsanna Exciting, wonderfully played. 5 stars
10/01/04 Cannabinoid fallopian tube WICKED!!! (in the best way) 5 stars
4/07/04 Sig This redeems itself from "Hannibal" 5 stars
2/25/04 Dr.Lecter Better than the shallow, lifeless Manhunter in every way 5 stars
2/04/04 LIAM JACKSON ratner's biggest wank-fest to date. manhunter was a classic 1 stars
2/02/04 Samuel norton and hopkins give great performances, but the killer is a skinny guy who isnt scary 4 stars
12/07/03 john an abysmal attempt at a thriller - Michael Mann shot the same story better 20 years ago 1 stars
11/17/03 KING EDWARD bill rooney- i sincerely hope your whole family dies. i hope i can be the one to kill them. 5 stars
9/14/03 the dragon hey daniel p holla- what's with the faggot name? R.D. IS THE BEST. may you die soon, queer. 5 stars
8/28/03 Mr. Hat Great: the movie and the fact that the director of Money Talks & Rush Hour did this. 4 stars
8/19/03 snowconehead I tad bit obligatory, but decent enough to sit through 3 stars
8/14/03 Jeannie Karlsen RALPH FIENNES is my GOD! He is a brilliant actor in an o.k movie. Still bought it though. 4 stars
6/22/03 Daniel P Holla Anyone who thought this movie was watchable should be strung up by their toes 1 stars
6/19/03 gray Fails to affect on any level. Cast, direction, script... all mundane. 2 stars
6/06/03 Charles Tatum Competent direction and cast, but nothing new; better than Hannibal 4 stars
4/04/03 othree equals to Silence, great casting, through, 1st rate Hopkins' Hannibal 4 stars
3/17/03 Paul Coleman Suprisingly boring. See Michael Mann's MANHUNTER instead. 2 stars
2/24/03 the pilgrim my all time favorite- fiennes IS dolorhyde- 'manhunter' be damned!! 5 stars
1/02/03 Elizaveta Gotta love Edward Norton - not as great as "silence" though. 5 stars
12/15/02 David A. Great movie, but Dolarhyde could have grown a mustache! (Dr. Evil would tell me to ZIP IT!) 4 stars
12/12/02 Monster W. Kung Jesus Christ, what's the all-time idiot Sommersby doing in here? Fuck off! 3 stars
11/26/02 malcolm read the book, see Manhunter 3 stars
11/12/02 Phoenix A really good movie with solid performances, although I think Manhunter is better. 5 stars
11/03/02 Obi Wan Don't see why this was such a big deal . .it was slow moving and dull 3 stars
11/02/02 Monster W. Kung Well, I don't find any of the movies with Lecter very impressive. Average (like Silence). 3 stars
11/02/02 Angelo Defanti BEtter than "Manhunter" 5 stars
11/01/02 Shaun I love this movie, so much better then Manhunter 5 stars
10/26/02 j. c. really great and creepy, your attacks were too harsh 5 stars
10/25/02 Jim The Movie Freak Responds Actually you cried when you saw the size of my cock, Choadushouse 1 stars
10/21/02 marzio arigoni@rtsi.ch It's well done, but we did not need it! Mann's Manhunter was better 3 stars
10/18/02 Matthew Smith far superior than Hannibal and Manhunter, one of the year's most enjoyable thrillers 5 stars
10/16/02 .Choadushouse. Jim the Freak sucks my cock. This was good. I cried for love and intensity. 4 stars
10/15/02 Mike This guy is actually a movie reviewer? hes pretty narrow minded... 5 stars
10/14/02 KMG That's ONE FIENNES DICK you have there, Ralph! 5 stars
10/13/02 "Yes the shit." This director should be fucking killed. All the talent involved was raped by this fuck. 1 stars
10/12/02 Xxtreme Really good, way better than hannibal. Almost as good as silence of the lambs 4 stars
10/11/02 Butterbean I agree with Jim that Dolarhyde's character was underdeveloped. But its a great movie! 4 stars
10/10/02 Hawaiiantomboy07 Loved It! It was better than "Manhunter". 5 stars
10/10/02 Melina Great acting and suspense. 5 stars
10/10/02 TimmyTomorrow I thought this was a comedy! 2 stars
10/08/02 Anarchy Azmi jim...please fuck off 4 stars
10/08/02 wintermute Most of the film has thankfully started to fade from my mind. 3 stars
10/07/02 Frankie Ran circles around "Hannibal". Perfect casting! 5 stars
10/06/02 Uncle Salty Well it was better than Hannibal. Then again, the stuff in the waffle on my shoe was too. 3 stars
10/06/02 Topplebot Surprisingly not a hack piece of shit. Norton's great, story's good, Fiennes delivers again 5 stars
10/06/02 ajay very nice. 5 stars
10/06/02 Mike One of the best films so far this year. 5 stars
10/06/02 Roy Smith A great movie with a fantastic opening and a great ending! 4 stars
10/06/02 Nicole So much better than Hannibal. Everything a GOOD psychological thriller should be. 4 stars
10/05/02 jarrod_101 True to the awesome book. a bit slow moving but still very very good. 5 stars
10/05/02 Buddha Are you nuts? Hannibal sucked like a Hoover. Thankfully, this didn't. 5 stars
10/05/02 ryan phillippe gets hit by a car and it rules Hannibal didn't suck, and I hope when you say the origional you don't mean Manhunter. 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  04-Oct-2002 (R)

UK
  N/A

Australia
  24-Oct-2002




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