‘Red Right Hand’ Review: Orlando Bloom Tries and Fails

Ordinarily, I wouldn’t bother with a waste of time like Red Right Hand, but this is the stuff they’re making now. If you wait for something worthwhile, you might end up writing about only two or three movies a year.

Orlando Bloom hasn’t been around for a while; now I know why. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures

Red Right Hand, another routine crime-thriller with a title that makes no sense, is a violent and nauseating excuse to entertain the portion of what is left of that dwindling movie audience that lives for nothing more than a lot of posing, crunching and muscle-flexing, not always in the same order. I’ve managed to assign it one star for the risky surprises offered by Orlando Bloom and Andie Macdowell to observe the lengths they go to in hopelessly miscast roles tackled for only one reason: to prove they can act. They fail, but at least they try.

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RED RIGHT HAND (1/4 stars)
Directed by: Eshom Nelms, Ian Nelms
Written by:Jonathan Easley
Starring: Orlando Bloom, Andie MacDowell, Scott Haze, Chapel Oaks
Running time: 111 mins.


Mr. Bloom was never much of an actor anyone would applaud or praise. He plays a hard, scarred, working farmer in the backwoods of Appalachia named Cash. The farm was once a prosperous property owned by his late little sister, but now it’s facing bankruptcy because of neglect and poor management by his alcoholic brother-in-law Finney (Scott Haze). Cash has come on board to try and save what’s left of his sister’s land, improving the life of her bright teenage daughter Savannah (newcomer Chapel Oaks), supervising her education, and encouraging her Sunday morning regularity in church. Things progress slowly but positively until the fatal interference of a vicious, ruthless and consummately evil crime boss called Big Cat (Andie MacDowell), who controls everything and everyone in town. Big Cat runs the county and everyone in it and will stop at nothing to nail them to her will. Example: She gives a dinner party, and for after-dinner entertainment, her gang attacks the deputy sheriff, breaks his legs with sledgehammers, and for an encore, she slashes his throat and feeds his remains to a pack of man-eating dogs.  

Best not to scrutinize Big Cat’s motivations too closely. They defy credulity. For reasons unexplained, it seems that Cash once worked as one of her thugs, and now she wants him back, but his newly martyred dedication to his niece’s welfare leaves her unhinged. One hour into the movie, things begin to gain momentum—or at least the profane violence, which remains horrible and pointless throughout, gets more interesting. Big Cat has one son she adores.  After his murder, all hell breaks loose and she turns to the preacher for resolution, demanding a clean swap—the life of Savannah’s beloved Uncle Cash for her own. This drives the innocent Savannah to the family arsenal to begin some gunfire of her own. Apparently, she’s learned more about life and death than reading Elsie Dinsmore.

Ordinarily, I wouldn’t bother with a waste of time like Red Right Hand, but this is the stuff they’re making now. If you wait for something worthwhile, you might end up writing about only two or three movies a year. This one teases with the rancid subplots featuring Orlando Bloom and Andie McDowell. He hasn’t been around for a while; now I know why. He has obviously been living in a gym. Gone are the smooth good looks, replaced by a body like a highway of corpuscles. When he speaks the numbing dialogue by Jonathan Easley, he mumbles incoherently, talking to his feet. Ms. McDowell is a bland performer with no range of any importance who has devoted her career to roles that resemble cosmetics commercials. It’s easy to see why playing against type as a cold-blooded villain would add dimensions to her resume. The risk fails on every level. In the end credits, the names of 32 executive producers are listed. Even in a cataclysmic time like this, it’s next door to impossible to believe it takes 32 producers to make a movie as bad as Red Right Hand. 

‘Red Right Hand’ Review: Orlando Bloom Tries and Fails