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(Review originally written at 12 February 2006)

"Red Dragon" certainly is no bad movie but it most certainly isn't great either. On every level, the movie is nothing more than an above average one.

Main problem with "Red Dragon" is that the movie is too formulaic made. It's has all the typical Hollywood aspects in it. Nothing in the movie comes as a real surprise and everything is build up too simple. It's a average thriller that certainly satisfies but never really impresses. It feels as the movie comes one step too short with everything. It comes really close at times to a level of greatness but it never fully reaches it, the movie is too averagely constructed for that. I think man to blame for this is director Brett Ratner. He made the movie casually but without much style or flair.

Yes, it's still a worthy addition to the series of Hannibal Lecter movies and like I said before the movie is certainly an above average one. One reason for this is thanks to the good cast of the movie. Anthony Hopkins returns as Dr. Hannibal Lecter, although his role isn't as big as in the other movies. Ralph Fiennes plays the real 'psycho' in this one and he does this very well. Other fine roles are being played by Edward Norton, Harvey Keitel, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Bill Duke and Frank Whaley.

The movie never really becomes truly scary or tense, the style and atmosphere is too lacking for that but still the story fascinates enough. The movie begins well but after that it loses some of it's realism and credibility due to the way of storytelling. Still so, the presence of Hannibal Lecter in this movie certainly is reason enough on its own to make this movie a recommendable one. Yes, I still could recommend this movie to you simply because it's still a better movie than 75% of the thrillers released present day.

Fans of the thriller genre will not be disappointed by the movie and its story but it's too formulaic and forced to make this movie a truly memorable one.

7/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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