Red Corner

The Boston Phoenix

DIRECTED BY: Jon Avnet

REVIEWED: 11-03-97

Now that Brad Pitt has lent his good looks to the mounting Tibetan craze with Seven Years in Tibet, one can only imagine that Richard Gere -- the Dalai Lama's biggest spiritual fan in Hollywood -- saw this thriller trashing China's legal system as an oblique propaganda tool to buoy Tinseltown's call for the release of Tibet from the Eastern Tiger's oppressive grip.

Gere unleashes his usual cocky smugness as Jack Moor, a media maverick trying to cut a blockbuster telecasting deal with the powers that be in the Chinese government. Trouble finds Jack in the form of a beautiful model who sets his loins on fire. After a night of steamy passion, which he can barely remember, he winds up in jail for murder.

From there the film rambles along as a weary courtroom drama, with Jack trying to prove his innocence against a totalitarian process. But the biggest injustice in Red Corner stems from the script, which infuses the bureaucratic proceedings with preposterous action sequences. Bai Ling is a delightful new face as Gere's court-appointed attorney, but even her effervescence is dissipated by the wooden, ill-placed, almost risible dialogue.

--Tom Meek

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