This review has been ‘repurposed’ from my other site, theOneliner.com
Well, I guess the rapid evaporation of this film when exposed to audiences puts paid to any lingering idea that Nic Cage is a big enough draw to open a film. With some luck this will see him return to more enjoyable indie fayre rather than increasingly uninspiring action outings, however first there is the small matter of his latest uninspiring action outing to deal with.
You’d be forgiven for assuming, what with it having the same title and directorial team as Danny and Oxide Pang’s 1999 film Bangkok Dangerous, that it’s a remake although in truth there’s little similarity between the two, apart from it having the same title and directorial team. Cage plays Joe, an assassin taking the cliched one last job, which is actually composed of four last jobs based in Bangkok. One assumes that the jobs are also Dangerous.
Taking on the help of local petty criminal Kong (Shahkrit Yamnarm) as a general dogsbody and translator, with the intention of bumping him off after the job is complete to maintain his previously dependable ‘no witnesses’ policy, he embarks upon a series of hitmannery although as has come to be something of a cliche for films such as this, the film must take pains to show us that he is a human man after all, with human man needs and human man wants.
With all the innate believability of David Cameron, our previously emotionless killing machine falls awkwardly in love with a deaf / mute drug store assistant, and softens to his dogsbody enough to take him on as an apprentice hitman rather than a loose end to be tied up. These somewhat strained sideplots co-exist for a while with some reasonably interesting action scenes for the hits, before the inevitable double cross / revenge finale caused in part by Joe’s new found morality.
If there’s a problem with Bangkok Dangerous it’s that it doesn’t seem to know exactly what audience it’s aiming at. The original very much has its roots in the HK cum Asian Action, John Woo-y school and while this shows some attempt at giving a more Hollywood style gloss to proceedings, it winds up falling somewhere between the two and failing to satisfy either audience.
Mainstream audiences have rather ignored this film, despite a fairly vigourous ad campaign, and for the most part that’s the right decision. It never really hangs together properly as a film, with the romance elements feeling belaboured, unbelievable and completely out of character and keeping with the rest of the film. For genre fans, there’s some interesting action sequences that in this comic book oriented age that give it some notability but not enough to add it to the top of your viewing list.
It pains me to be critical of a film where someone gets bisected by a close range grenade blast, but there’s not a vast amount to recommend in Bangkok Dangerous. Or, at least, this iteration of it. I’d still heartily recommend the original, and even if you’ve already seen it rewatching it will provide a more pleasurable experience than this so-so outing.