Ty Burr
October 15, 1997 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Red Corner

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
R
performer
Richard Gere, Bai Ling, Bradley Whitford
director
Jon Avnet
author
Robert King
genre
Mystery and Thriller, ActionAdventure, Drama

We gave it an C+

The story opens and closes in a Beijing park where the bamboo, we?re told, is ?waiting for the wind to touch it.? That?s meant to be a metaphor for the 1.2 billion people of China who live under Communist rule, but the wind that blows through Red Corner is mostly from Hollywood. Richard Gere, always least interesting when cast as a good guy, is an entertainment lawyer on business in the Chinese capital who goes to bed with a model and wakes up next to a corpse; what follows plays like Midnight Express as scripted by Ally McBeal. This is Hitchcock?s old wrong-man plot in a novel setting, but it?s helped immeasurably by Bai Ling?s quietly rich portrayal of Gere?s court-appointed attorney. Inevitably, Red Corner insists these two fall in love; that and the increasingly cluttered plot bind the film?s feet, ironically, to outdated Western notions.

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