In 1999, Hong Kong director Oxide Pang Chun created a Thai film named Bangkok Dangerous, about a deaf-mute assassin who realizes the consequences of his actions during a big hit. Ten years later, Chun decided to remake his own picture, albeit with a watered-down plot and a rather undeserving big-name Hollywood story. Face it: you know you're in trouble when a director proves he is so unoriginal that he is willing to remake his own movie.
Then again, one can hardly blame him. Hollywood has a knack for taking perfectly good foreign films, stripping them down to their core, removing their soul and throwing a few bucks at them in efforts to trick audiences into seeing what they think is a fresh creation. Bangkok Dangerous was his puppy, so why leave it to some other director to mess it up when Chun can do it so effectively himself. Mess it up, that is.
In this new 2008 version, which flopped with a total of $15 million in box office receipts against a reported $40 budget, Nicolas Cage stars as a friendless assassin who is drawn to Bangkok to knock off a variety of people. He hires a rather naive young man to assist him, falls in love with a deaf-mute woman and goes around killing some people. The actual plot is unimportant and way too dull to mention here, and in fact that statement trends throughout all realms of the picture.
Cage is once again bland, showing that he prefers to play the same old character (this time with a bad wig) rather than do something innovative. He's proved that he can act when truly forced to, but in the other 90% of his films in the 21st century, he opts for money over quality. Then again, his performance may just be a reaction to the picture itself, which he had to know was going to be a crapfest from the beginning. The story - if you can call it that - is uninteresting, the characters underdeveloped and pathetically dull. Encompassed by weak direction, Bangkok Dangerous spends most of its time firing blanks.
I haven't seen the 1999 original, but I have to imagine it was better than this snoozer. There are some action scenes, but Bangkok Dangerous is a pretty boring action movie.
Review by Robert Bell (C)
With a dash of unnecessarily gratuitous violence, a sprinkle of overt misogyny and a veritable cornucopia of unintentionally amusing character traits, Bangkok Dangerous is in no danger of garnering any Oscar nominations, which for the most part appears to suit it just fine. Despite playing it straight - which makes it that much more amusing - the film seems to be at least a little bit aware of its own ineptitude and desire to cater to the lowest common denominator, which includes guns, tits and severed limbs.
While on a routine assassination mission in Thailand, Joe (Nicolas Cage) reflects on the isolationist nature of contractual killing and whines a bit about how hard it is to make friends while brutally murdering various baddies. To help him out with his somewhat convoluted assignment, Joe enlists the help of a street criminal named Kong (Shahkrit Yamnarm), who picks up suitcases from high-class hooker Aom (Panward Hemmanee).
In between routine slaughters and heroin injections, Joe makes a visit to the local pharmacy to get some Bactine for a miscellaneous gash and meets the demure, sexless and conveniently mute Fon (Charlie Yeung), an inhuman male fantasy who giggles a lot. Inevitable he starts up a flirtation with the young woman that hits a wall when he blows someone’s brains out all over her cream coloured jacket.
Teenage boys will surely find a great deal of pleasure in the many profane utterances and bullet-ridden chase sequences throughout, as will a certain selection of grown men (business in the front; party in the back). This movie was made for that demographic and they will likely complain only about the first lethargically directed hour before the titties flop out and the blood starts flowing.Regardless of maturity or let’s face it - competence, Bangkok Dangerous treads along at a decent clip and can be perceived as entertaining by a variety of different kinds of people for a variety of different reasons.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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