Starring William Petersen, Kim Greist, Joan Allen, Brian Cox, Dennis Farina
Written By: Michael Mann
Directed By: Michael Mann
Buy on Amazon.com link
Manhunter, the first film version of Thomas Harris’s “Red Dragon”, is one of those movies that everyone else seems to love, but I just don’t like. I first watched it a few years back, I think around the time Hannibal came out, and I was all like “WTF? People think this is better than the Hopkins movies?”
Okay, let me just be clear about two prejudices I have against this movie: First, it stars William Peterson. I can’t stand William Peterson. The guy just annoys me. Maybe he’s a good actor, I don’t know. All I know is that last time I was at my friend’s house and she was watching CSI, I wanted to throw things at the TV. The dude just bothers me. I don’t know why, but there you are. Second, Anthony Hopkins IS Hannibal Lecter. I always hear a lot of people babbling about how Brian Cox’s Lecter (or “Lecktor”, as it’s spelled here) is so much more subdued and classy or some stupid nonsense. You know what? It’s a load of hooey! Cox is awesome and all, but he’s just not Lecter.
There’s also a lot of other stupid little things that bother me about the casting. Like the main killer is played by the dude from RoboCop 2. And I think that’s the only thing I can ever possibly associate him with. And there’s also Dennis Farina, who, for some reason (probably the bitchin’ mustache), has always kind of made me think of him as a second-rate Barney Miller. But don’t even try to figure that one out.
Plus, this movie is just way too… I dunno, 80s? Michael Mann was apparently still in Miami Vice mode when he made it. And hey, Mann, if you want people to take your serial-killer movie seriously, it’s not a good idea to end it with a ridiculous psychedelic fight scene set to In-a-gadda-da-vida. I mean, really, why on earth did you think that was a good idea?
Okay, I’m feeling a little ornery, so I’m probably making this sound a lot worse than it is. If you aren’t randomly annoyed by William Peterson and you don’t mind movies with an extreme 80s vibe that hasn’t aged well at all, then this is a pretty decent movie. Doesn’t stand up to any of the Hopkins Lecter movies, but compared to a lot of crap out there, I guess it’s pretty good.
Oh yeah, and the review DVD I got was fullscreen. WTF? Between the increasing prevalence of widescreen TVs and computer monitors, and the wider knowledge of the differences between pan&scan or widescreen, why the hell does fullscreen even exist? I don’t care if some cranky middle-aged old woman wants the picture to fill up her whole screen. You should get the entire picture and suffer with that. Ahahahahahahaha!!
Dolby Digital 5.1 english
1.33:1 horribly mutilated pan&scan, color
English, Spanish, French
Favorite Scenes: The tiger. Hehe.
Running Time: 120 minutes