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Overall Rating

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 Erik Childress

"Brett Ratner's Gus Van Sant's Manhunter Redux"
1 stars

In the continuing effort of Hollywood taking great films and mucking them up with a modern version comes perhaps the quickest turnaround for an American title. We take smelly foreign films all the time and clean Ďem up by removing subtitles with English speakers, but us crude Americans also take genuine classics and add color and modern players making an inferior product using name recognition to make a lot of cash. Yes, Dino de Laurentiis, Iím looking at you.

In 1986, he produced Michael Mannís Manhunter, an adaptation of Thomas Harrisí novel Red Dragon. Critically acclaimed, but not much of a success at the time, it would go on to become known as the original Hannibal Lecter movie before Anthony Hopkins popularized and won an Oscar for the role in 1991ís The Silence of the Lambs. Olí Dino dumped Lecter after the red ink of the í86 production. Realizing he lost a cash cow he could sink his teeth into, Dino got the rights back for 2001ís Hannibal, which lost Jodie Foster in favor of Julianne Moore. $150 million later, Dino convinces Hopkins to reprise the role one last time to complete the trilogy. Poor Brian Cox. I wonder how he feels after seeing this because I wanted to find director Brett Ratner and kick the shit out of him.

What is the point? Thatís the question I ask. What is the point of making this film other than money? Whatís the point of me writing a review when other than the cast list, I might as well be describing the plot of Manhunter? Itís not exactly shot-for-shot nor beat-for-beat, but this is Manhunter Redux made as a convenience for those who never saw or heard of the original. Thatís all it is.

Since all this already happened, Iíll remind rather than inform. Once again, Will Graham (Edward Norton/originally CSIís William Petersen), is called out of retirement to hunt down serial killer, Francis ďTooth FairyĒ Dolarhyde (Ralph Fiennes/originally Tom Noonan). Graham went a little mad sometime after capturing Lecter, a trait explored through conversation and Petersenís intense performance in the original but reduced to a newspaper clipping here. Nortonís stoic performance in the film, especially in the scenes between him and Lecter canít hold a candle to watching Petersen attempt to keep Lecter out of his head

Donít call him Francis, call him psycho-Dolarhyde takes an interest in fellow vidlab employee, the blind Reba (Emily Watson/originally Joan Allen) not as a victim but as someone he can love; someone who canít see his ugliness. This storyline has been beefed up a bit and itís the only part everyone gets right, thanks in no small part to the best performances in the film from Watson and Fiennes. Since the investigation is no different than the original film and frankly puts us to sleep, why not be daring and tell this story from Dolarhydeís point of view? Because that would mean that Ratner was actually trying to do something.

Other than the giant tattoo and a different opening and ending, all the big money shots of Manhunter are in Red Dragon, yet Ratner and screenwriter Ted Tally (who also adapted and won the Oscar for 91ís Lambs) by solely concentrating on the investigation and discarding much of Grahamís homelife have managed to whittle the suspense down to absolute zero. This is more like Brett Ratnerís Gus Van Santís Manhunter. Scenes are the same, even dialogue is word for word (right down to a ďyouíre so sly, but so am IĒ in the same scene with practically the same shot.) By adding Lecterís capture, the dialogue in the first prison interview between Lecter and Graham now makes no sense. Lecter wonders how Graham caught him and Graham tells him he had disadvantages because heís insane. Well, not according to what we see which consists of Graham literally stumbling onto Lecterís crimes and at the moment of discovery is immediately stabbed for his efforts. Where does Lecterís question come from and how can Graham sit there and act like he single-handedly uncovered the crime of the century? This is a stunningly inept accomplishment.

Ratnerís use of suspense consists of cheap scares like an introspective moment interrupted by a squealing flashframe flashback, cliched crashing thunder and a helicopter appearing out of nowhere. You know, those pesky choppers that pop-in from other dimensions. If Ratner thinks using Hopkinsí Lecter will produce instanteneous willies, think again, Brett. Itís too late. His time has come and gone. He may have been recently voted the second greatest villain of all time by the Online Film Critics Society, but in Hannibal and now this, heís a party joke; a dermatologistís Freddy Krueger of the franchiseís tailend when quips took the place of quivers. Where once a look or a speech pattern could stand our hairs on end, his ďbecomingĒ is now that of Donald Sutherland in Backdraft.

Despite all the hype to bring the Hannibal Lecter trilogy full circle, one must be readily knowledgeable that his role in this story is of a mere supporting player. With the exception of starting the film with Lecterís capture, his three other scenes had to be supplemented with an inexplicable cell dining sequence intercut with the action we should be following, just to give the character more screen time.

How come the ads donít read (cue scary trailer voice) ďFrom the director of The Family Man and Money Talks comes the first chapter in terror?Ē If its not about money and purely a desire to connect all the dots in the Lecter trilogy, than why not get Scott Glenn back as Jack Crawford instead of Harvey Keitel? You got your prize in Hopkins and even snagged Anthony Heald (Dr. Chilton) and Frankie Faison (Barney)? Poor Scott Glenn and poor Frankie Faison and more importantly, poor you if you waste your money on Red Dragon. Take $3.00 instead and rent Manhunter.

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originally posted: 10/11/02 16:16:00
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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
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 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
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  04-Oct-2002 (R)



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