Some things never change in Hollywood. Alan Alda is still sensitive. Ellen is still gay. And Richard Gere is still the prettiest man in show business.
Gere’s most recent movie, Red Corner (MGM), tries to meld his two most obvious passions, namely showing Chinese human rights violations and showing off his butt.
Gere plays Jack Moore, a sleazy Hollywood entertainment lawyer, in Bejing to sell a “Baywatch”-like product to Chinese television. After a successful day of business, Moore goes into the Chinese nightlife to have a rewarding night with business associates.
He succeeds and takes a supposedly nameless fashion model back to his hotel for a night of drunken passion. This is, of course, gratuitously shown with multiple nude shots.
Moore wakes up covered in blood with Chinese men in uniforms with guns surrounding his bed. The woman is dead, and Moore is taken into custody. He, of course, does not speak Chinese and is marooned in China.
The U.S. embassy is unable to retrieve Moore from detention, claiming they can do nothing for him.
Moore is put on trial for murdering the daughter of the minister of defense. (And of course, he’d like to see Moore dead.) All of the evidence is against him. He is certainly doomed.
Gere does what he does best in Red Corner – he looks pretty and yells when he should be acting. He obviously has much influence in the film, as the plot deteriorates into a cross of Rising Sun and Pretty Woman.
Red Corner plummets from a suspense-laden thriller to a poorly contrived love story. Moore and his lawyer change the patriarchal Chinese judicial system into a sappy “Perry Mason” trial. During the Casablanca-like ending, the audience will start looking for Debra Winger to enter so that Gere can carry her away.
Red Corner is saved by Bai Ling, who plays Moore’s lawyer. She carries the film in an Oscar-caliber performance. Unfortunately, the filmakers are more concerned with revealing Gere’s backside than showing Bai’s acting prowess.
Red Corner opens in theaters Friday.1 HATCHET