In 1986 the first of Thomas Harris` Hannibal Lector novels, Red Dragon, was filmed by Michael Mann as Manhunter. Since The Silence of the Lambs and Hannibal Anthony Hopkins has become indelibly imprinted on our minds as the most popular cinematic bogeyman of the contemporary era. No wonder they decided to remake the original and call it Red Dragon. Ex- FBI agent Will Graham, Edward Norton, is living happily in retirement with wife Molly, Mary Louise Parker, after his near-fatal confrontation with Hannibal some time ago. Hannibal - Anthony Hopkins - is now in the gaol familiar from The Silence of the Lambs. Enter Jack Crawford, Harvey Keitel, who wants Will to lend his expertise to profiling a serial killer responsible for the slaughter of two families. The killings seem to coincide with the full moon and Crawford wants some answers before the next one. We`re not kept in the dark about the murderer, he`s Francis Dolarhyde, Ralph Fiennes, a lab technician who`s had an abusive childhood and who`s now obsessed by William Blake`s Red Dragon and his own sense of power. His recent friendship with blind fellow worker Reba McClane, Emily Watson, seems to be tapping into the man behind the monster. The tension lingers on in this version mainly because it`s such a good story and director Brett Ratner has done an ok job, except that he can`t resist returning to his star monster to the detriment of the main game. Hopkins knows his role well by now and delivers mainly for laughs. Ralph Fiennes is able to bring out both the tragic and manic elements of his character convincingly, Edward Norton displays a twitchy ennui as Will. It`s an effectively taut thriller, maybe not quite as thrilling the second time around.Comments from David StrattonBetter than I expected, but nowhere near as good as Michael Mann`s 1986 version of this same story, Manhunter. There`s a good opening scene which shows the initial capture of Hannibal Lecter, but this really isn`t Lecter`s story, and attempts to force him into it are a bit awkward. Still, the basic material is strong, and creepy, and there are some excellent performances from Edward Norton, Emily Watson and Ralph Fiennes (even though Tom Noonan was scarier in the original).

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