Reviews of ''Seven Years in Tibet,'' ''Red Corner'': Brad Pitt and Richard Gere go to Asia, and neither of their films travels well to video

By Mike D'Angelo
April 10, 1998 at 04:00 AM EDT

Reviews of ”Seven Years in Tibet,” ”Red Corner”

Yes, it’s time once again for Exotic Cultures as Seen Through the Eyes of Really Good-Looking White Males, with Brad Pitt (technically playing Austrian explorer Heinrich Harrer, but let’s get real) finding inner peace in Seven Years in Tibet and Richard Gere battling a corrupt justice system in China in Red Corner. Which one to rent depends on whether you like your xenophobia faintly dull or didactic. Tibet amounts to a choppy travelogue as Harrer bounces from mountain peak to prison camp to the forbidden city of Lhasa. We’ve seen it all before — the teacher-pupil/father-son bond between Harrer and the young Dalai Lama is right out of The Last Emperor. Sadly, Tibet‘s primary virtue — stunning location shots — is compromised by the usual pan-and-scan butchery.

Corner, meanwhile, in which smug attorney Gere is falsely accused of murder while closing a TV deal in China, suffers by comparison to Perry Mason — who knew that the Chinese, too, leap to their feet from the peanut gallery in mid-trial to offer unsworn testimony? It’s all too laughable to be offensive, whereas Tibet is too conventional to be more than mildly enticing. Tibet: C+; Corner: D+