The film’s one saving grace—a nice performance by the always compelling Gong Li—can’t salvage the movie. As usual, Gong holds the viewer’s attention with her physical beauty, but we’re never sure what she sees in Ulliel’s Lecter, other than a chance to continue the Lecter line. (Gong’s English has improved much since last year’s Miami Vice and the previous, thoroughly embarrassing, Memoirs of a Geisha.) Ulliel does his best as Lecter, but what is he given to work with? This ghoulish tale couldn’t be saved by even the best actors, as was the case with the Silence of the Lambs sequel, “Hannibal,” which wasted the amazing talents of Hopkins, Julianne Moore, Ray Liotta, and director Ridley Scott.

Why is the public fascinated by Hannibal Lecter and with these tales of visceral revenge? God tells us, “A fool finds pleasure in evil conduct, but a man of understanding delights in wisdom”(Proverbs 10), and, “Evil men do not understand justice, but those who seek the Lord understand it fully” (Proverbs 28). There’s not much wisdom on view in Hannibal Rising, nor true justice, but there’s an abundance of evil.

Who could find pleasure in that?

AUDIENCE:  Adults only

CAUTIONS:

  • Language:  Lord’s name taken in vain; several profanities
  • Violence:  Warfare gunfire and air attacks; point-blank shootings; cannibalism, including implied eating of a child and discussion of which parts of the body are the most tasty; a man’s burned face; a man slices his thumb, then has it stitched; a decapitation and the display of decapitated heads; death by sword; a long needle is injected into an arm; a man is bound to a tree and choked by a rope; blood splatters Lecter’s face and he licks it off; a man is trapped in a filling water tank; a cadaver’s chest is open; a letter is carved into a man’s chest
  • Sex/Nudity:  Some kissing
  • Smoking/Drinking:  Some of both