Red Corner

  • 1997
  • Movie
  • R
  • Drama, Thriller

The more things change, the more they stay the same: Even as a middle-age hot shot getting wrung through the legal system of the People's Republic of China, Richard Gere can still be counted upon to bare his behind. A petty observation, to be sure, but there's so little to say about this utterly predictable thriller that such trivialities loom large. Jack...read more

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Reviewed by Maitland McDonagh
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The more things change, the more they stay the same: Even as a middle-age hot shot getting wrung through the legal system of the People's Republic of China, Richard Gere can still be counted upon to bare his behind. A petty observation, to be sure, but

there's so little to say about this utterly predictable thriller that such trivialities loom large. Jack Moore (Gere) is a corporate lawyer, in China to peddle American TV to the world's single-biggest untapped market. But Moore makes the mistake of scoring some exotic bootie in the form of Hong

Ling (Jessey Meng); the next morning she's dead, he's covered with blood and the obvious conclusions are drawn. Moore's court-appointed advocate, Shen Yuelin (Bai Ling), favors a guilty plea: The courts favor the repentant and deal harshly with those who won't play ball. Moore insists he's

innocent, and misses no opportunity to point out that his position would be a whole lot better if they'd just do things the American way. Which it would, since an arrogant rich fellow like himself would just hire a small army of legal mercenaries to discredit the victim, obfuscate the issue and

insure that he'd walk. Instead, Moore is forced to disabuse the lovely Shen of her patriotic loyalty so that they can uncover a web of intrigue, share painful memories and come to respect and, yes, even like one another. If its script were half as meticulously detailed as the production design,

this might be an interesting movie. But it's not: The characters that don't smack of screenwriting-seminar templates are watered-down versions of the stereotypes that made Sax Rohmer rich, and the dark conspiracy behind it all involves controlling the flow of The Brady Bunch and

Baywatch (oh, sorry, "Beachside") into China -- a predicament that's taken far too seriously by all concerned. Perhaps democracy does waltz in on the heels of Pamela Lee, but I doubt it.

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  • Released: 1997
  • Rating: R
  • Review: The more things change, the more they stay the same: Even as a middle-age hot shot getting wrung through the legal system of the People's Republic of China, Richard Gere can still be counted upon to bare his behind. A petty observation, to be sure, but th… (more)

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