cranky home
Reviews since 1993:   A-E     F-N      O-Z    Posters       Who We Are and Why We Do What We Do         Search the Site

Your Donations support the Site

Top Selling DVD     Books

50 Shades of Grey
Exodus Gods and Kings
Grand Budapest Hotel
Imitation Game, The
Into the Woods

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit
Theory of Everything
Ride Along
We're the Millers
The Great Gatsby
The Avengers
Amazing Spider-Man
Girl w/ Dragon Tattoo
Dark Knight Trilogy
World War Z
Happy Feet 2
Iton Man 3 combo
Batman Begins
Dark Knight
Fifth Element
The Hangover
Hunger Games
James Bond 11 disc coll.
Lord of the Rings trilogy
Mission Impossible GP
Sherlock Holmes AGOS
Singing in the Rain
Snow White Huntsman
Star Trek Into Darkness combo
Star Wars Saga
21 Jump Street
Ultimate Matrix coll
X-Men First Class
X-Men Trilogy
X-Men Wolverine

 BLU-Ray for Family DVDs 
Alice in Wonderland (2010)
A Bug's Life
Chronicles of Narnia set
Harry Potter 1-8 collection
Iron Man 2 combo
Kung Fu Panda
Lord of the Rings Trilogy Pinocchio
Pirates of Caribbean trilogy
Pixar short films
Shrek the Whole Story
Sleeping Beauty
The Smurfs
Snow White & 7 Dwarfs
Star Trek motion pictures set
Star Trek TNG Season One
Star Wars Saga (1-6)
Toy Story combo
Toy Story 2 combo
Toy Story 3 combo
Wall-E SE


Search engine by FreeFind
Click to add search to YOUR web site!
click to search site

Alice in Wonderland
Beauty and the Beast
Kung Fu Panda
The Lion King
Mary Poppins 45th LE
Princess Mononoke
Shrek the Whole Story
Simpsons Movie
Spider-Man Trilogy
Spirited Away
Star Trek movies set
Star Trek TOS (TV)
ST:TNG complete tv set
Star Wars Trilogy (1-3)
Star Wars Trilogy (4-6)
Toy Story DVD combo
Toy Story 2 DVD combo
Toy Story 3 DVD combo
Wallace and Gromit
Wall-E SE

Buy Movie collectibles
TV/Movie Collectibles

movie review query engine

NY film critics online

Privacy Policy

Click for full sized poster

Buy the Poster

Red Dragon

Starring Anthony Hopkins, Edward Norton, Ralph Fiennes, Emily Watson
Screenplay by Ted Tally
Based on the novel by Thomas Harris
Directed by Brett Ratner

IN SHORT: "Completing" (so to speak) the trilogy in grand style. [Rated R for violence, grisly images, language, some nudity and sexuality. 120 minutes]

We will not get into arguments about whether Michael Mann's Manhunter, the first film adaptation of Thomas Harris' novel, with Brian Cox as Lecter, was a "good" film or not. The rules of the site stand: you shouldn't have to read the book to understand the film. Likewise you shouldn't have to see any of the other movies featuring Hannibal the Cannibal, The Silence of the Lambs or its sequel, Hannibal. There's one in-joke that may need explaining and one wink at the audience that you'll figure out all by yourself if you walk in unawares. The rest of Red Dragon, chronologically the first film in the trilogy, is so bloody damned good it won't matter.

So now that you know that forensic psychologist Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins, click for StarTalk) has an interesting nickname we can begin Red Dragon, in whose opening scenes we learn that the good Doctor is a four star gourmet who residence screams luxury, wealth and taste. Dr. Lecter is also a Patron of the Arts, endowing his local symphony and fete-ing their Board of Directors with elegant fare. The Board and the Doctor are concerned that one of their musicians has gone missing but that search is the concern of FBI Agent Will Graham (Edward Norton, click for StarTalk) who will eventually be struck by a bolt of lightning, among other things, and solve the case.

OK, we suck at being coy. The pre-title sequence pushes all the right buttons, more than remarkable considering that director Brett Ratner is best known for the two Rush Hour comedies, and had our packed theater squirming and giggling and bouncing in their seats (think in an SNL Hans & Franz accent) like little girls.

Post titles, Agent Graham is seen retired to a life of rebuilding boat engines in Florida. He's got his wife Molly (Mary Louise Parker) and young son Graham (Tyler Patrick Jones) to keep him busy and he really isn't all that pleased to see former FBI compatriot Jack Crawford (Harvey Keitel) at his door. Another serial killer is on the loose. He's killed two families in two different states, one lunar month apart. The pattern is obvious and the calendar gives them only three weeks to figure out who the bad guy, who leaves a Chinese character meaning "red dragon" alongside his work. One use is obvious. One is hidden in dialog. Either way, what is left behind are clues indicating that this homicidal maniac takes after the methods of good ol' Hannibal. Graham wants nothing to do with the case of the so-called "Tooth Fairy" -- the man leaves bite marks and various bodily fluids behind -- but is convinced to aid the Department in trying to get Lecter to analyze the mind of the maniacal man.

Lecter, of course, tries to play Graham for all it is worth. Hopkins' performance ranges from seductive to shrewd to flat out criminally insane and has, if anything, improved upon the performance which won him an Academy Award for Silence of the Lambs. Norton matches him step for step which leaves the never hidden from view bad guy, Francis Dolarhyde (Ralph Fiennes) to keep the audience sitting on the edge of their seats, waiting for the next victim to fall. Will it be the annoying, egotistical tabloid reporter Freddy Lounds (Philip Seymour Hoffman) whose paper, The National Tattler, has tried to publish stolen autopsy photos of the victims? Will it be meek, mild and blind Reba McClane (Emily Watson), who works with "Mr. Dee" at a photo lab. Or will it be someone else? Some poor sod who accidentally crosses paths with a man who feels he has been possessed by a 200 year old painting, currently in the possession of the Brooklyn Museum in New York.

If anything, that Red Dragon whips around the country with as much ferocity as one of the various kills depicted in the film, is the only handicap we encountered. New York to Atlanta to Chicago to Birmingham to Baltimore all in the blink of an eye. We don't advise buying the Godzilla sized drink to go with your popcorn, though if you do, you won't be leaving your seat. Red Dragon is, start to finish, a terrific, suspenseful and sometimes terrifying, edge of the seat ride.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Ten Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Red Dragon, he would have paid . . .


Wait on line if you need to. Do not miss it on the big screen.

amazon com link Click to buy films by Brett Ratner
Click to buy films starring Anthony Hopkins
Click to buy films starring Edward Norton
Click to buy films starring Ralph Fiennes
Click Here!

The Cranky Critic website is Copyright © 1995  -  2017  by Chuck Schwartz. Articles by Paul Fischer are Copyright © 1999 - 2006 Paul Fischer. All images, unless otherwise noted, are property of,©, ®, their respective studios and are used by permission. All Rights Reserved. Not to be used or copied for any commercial purpose. Academy Award(s) and Oscar®(s) are registered trademarks and service marks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.