For all the classic adoration and achievements it achieved, The Silence of the Lambs was the tip of a nasty iceberg. Beyond its creation and before its heightened relevancy in culture, adaptations of other Thomas Harris work swirled the drainpipe of culture. Red Dragon is an inevitability. It is not as engaging as the first adaptation of Hannibal Lecter in Manhunter, but it is a tumble down from the quality found in The Silence of the Lambs. To consider Red Dragon as anything more than a clumsy encounter with the Brian Cox, near-perfect original, would be shameful. For that is what it is. A tense and unorganised ensemble coming together to capitalise on the on-screen presence of Anthony Hopkins’ rendition of the iconic cannibal character.
Mob flicks may have dominated a portion of culture for some time, but their influence has ebbed away. Not entirely, and considering how many are still made, we should take note of their style and their impact. But the glory days are over. These are not the days of Scarface and Goodfellas. No Sudden Move, the latest feature from Steven Soderbergh, does not wish to be like those former examples, nor does it wish to cultivate a new direction for the genre. By setting itself and its impressive ensemble long before the days of mainstream crime, Soderbergh enjoys the ability to come clean with engaging realisations of trope-worthy characters.
Hollywood tried time and time again to understand the Vietnam War and its impact, and it is Predator that understands it best. It is not just the thick jungle populated by tall trees and clustered villages that set the scene, but what Arnold Schwarzenegger and the titular alien creature embody. The gun-toting action hero representing the banner of freedom faces off against an enemy that adapts to its surroundings immediately. It uses nature and instinct to its advantage. Dutch (Schwarzenegger) and company have the blunt, American gusto. Their confidence is misplaced, but initially, it is a conceivable notion to hold onto. They are prepared for the dangers of the jungle, or so they think. The parallels are rather obvious.