Red Dragon

Voted the most popular villain in movie history (Entertainment Weekly), Hannibal Lecter rules again in Thomas Harris' first novel of the Lecter trilogy, The Red Dragon. For the uninitiated, the previously adapted and critically acclaimed cult film classic, Manhunter (directed by Michael Mann), did it better, but sadly o­nly a minute number of contemporary audiences can attest to that. Notwithstanding, the current Red Dragon is the forerunner of the Hannibal franchise, following the multiple Oscar-winning Silence of the Lambs, and Ridley Scott's gore-a-ramic Hannibal.

The Red Dragon director's torch has now been passed to Brett Ratner, known more for his kung-fu Rush Hour series and music videos, than for a big-budget  Dino de Laurentiis production. Though with an A-list cast of luminaries such as Anthony Hopkins, Edward Norton, Ralph Fiennes, Harvey Keitel, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Emily Watson gracing the screen, plus Silence of the Lambs screenwriter Ted Tally o­n board, this particular cannibal run should be topnotch. Instead, we get predictability. Hopkins retains that supercilious stance as America's favourite flesh-eater, and Fiennes is respectably delusional as the psycho Tooth Fairy. The rest of the cast steer their way through a rather unsuspenseful plot that pits FBI agent Will Graham (Edward Norton) head-to-head against captured serial killer/psychiatrist Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins), in a struggle to snare the Tooth Fairy (Ralph Fiennes) o­n the loose in a murderous rampage. Despite Red Dragon's competent casting and major studio backing, file this o­ne under Hannibal Lecter–Generic.

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