Nicolas Cage has become the Babe Ruth of Hollywood. When he’s at the plate, you can expect one of two things: a spectacular homerun (Raising Arizona, Leaving Las Vegas) or a groan-inducing strikeout (The Wicker Man, Trapped in Paradise). With Bangkok Dangerous, a remake of a 1999 Thai film, I regret to report that Mr. Cage’s batting average has dipped once again.
Cage plays a hitman named Joe who takes an assignment in Bangkok to kill four people over the course of a month. He hires a local criminal named Kong (Chakrit Yeung) to be his go-between, and his usual strategy is to kill the assistant when all jobs have been completed. Of course, he takes pity on Kong and begins to train him in the ways of a hitman. To further “humanize” Joe, the film also has him fall in love with a deaf-mute girl who works in a pharmacy.
When the last mission doesn’t go as planned, Joe must choose between loyalty and personal safety; since this is a product of Hollywood, Joe’s ultimate decision is never really in doubt. Brothers Danny and Oxide Pang direct the film, and they were the same team who brought moviegoers the 1999 Thai version. In the original, however, it was the hitman who was a deaf-mute. Sadly, we might have been better off if Cage didn’t have any speaking lines. For that matter, setting the film on an alternate Earth populated entirely by deaf-mutes would have really pepped up the production.
The dialogue is listless, the action scenes are mostly paint-by-number, and the behavior of the central character routinely defies logic. Here’s a man who lives by a strict set of rules, but he’s breaking those rules almost from the beginning of the film. While he’s been nothing but a cold-blooded assassin up until the movie begins, he’s suddenly getting all sentimental and falling in love. Maybe there’s some sort of magic in the air in Thailand.
Bangkok Dangerous isn’t really offensive; it’s just mind-numbingly dull. Nothing really stands out, and you may not even remember seeing it the next day. Mowing the yard is more exciting.
I don’t really blame the Pang Brothers, as I’m certain they were willing to make whatever concessions were necessary in order to get more work out of Los Angeles (like any of us wouldn’t do the same). No, Bangkok Dangerous has been given the full-on Hollywood treatment, and the ultimate fault is that of a system which breaks down even the most promising of films into pablum for the masses.
Nicolas Cage will recover. The Pangs will recover. But you’ll never recover the 100 minutes of your life that it takes to watch this movie.
This movie review of Bangkok Dangerous expresses the opinion of the author only. Other Bangkok Dangerous movie reviews are available online, and some of those might or might not express different opinions on the movie. Like those other Bangkok Dangerous movie reivews, this Bangkok Dangerous review is intended for the entertainment and education of the reader. This Bangkok Dangerous movie review is provided as is with no warranty or guarantee implied.